Luisa Capetillo’s revolutionary power was recognized in her time by allies and detractors alike, both in Puerto Rico and abroad. The scarcely examined archive of Puerto Rican and US-based newspaper coverage between 1911 and 1913 shows the significance of Capetillo’s gesta (heroic feat) and gestos (gestures, movements), offering a powerful trace of her subversive walks and an instance of her own argument. Through her deliberately clothed and performed walks—as part of worker-led and anarchist manifestations and, on her own, as a de facto feminist statement—Luisa Capetillo became/was becoming an other woman. Not a single acera (sidewalk) or calle (street), nor any protest in the archipelago taking the form of a walk against power, has ever been the same after Luisa and her faldapantalón (skirt-pant). Attempting to reflect this premise, this essay traverses, on dreamy foot and bilingually, the author’s past-and-present walking duermevelas with Luisa alongside the newspaper archive.
Walking Duermevelas with Luisa
Beatriz Llenín-Figueroa is a companion, comrade, friend, writer, editor, translator, and animal and live arts apprentice. After almost a decade of adjunct teaching at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and at Río Piedras, she is now an independent writer and scholar standing for Puerto Rican and Caribbean emancipations and associate editor at Editora Educación Emergente. Her books include Puerto Islas: Crónicas, crisis, amor (2018) and Affect, Archive, Archipelago: Puerto Rico’s Sovereign Caribbean Lives (2022).
Beatriz Llenín-Figueroa; Walking Duermevelas with Luisa. Small Axe 1 November 2022; 26 (3 (69)): 98–111. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-10211695
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