Afro-Dominican women have contributed an innumerable amount to Dominican history and yet are often ignored and/or forgotten. We’re breaking the cycle of erasure by sharing 5 Black Dominican women we admire and that you should absolutely know and celebrate.
Mamá Tingó (Florinda Muñoz Soriano)
Activist for rural farm workers’ rights
Born: 8 November, 1921
Assassinated: 3 November, 1974
No list of Black Dominican women to celebrate is complete without Mamá Tingó. Mamá Tingó was an activist and leader in the Dominican Republic’s movement for farmworkers’ rights. Her bravery helped hundreds of families keep their lands despite the best efforts of landowners to displace them after decades of working and occupying the land. She was assassinated, machete-in-hand still fighting, at the age of 52.
To learn more about this incredible woman click here.
Activist and Female Combatant
Born: 8 July, 1943
Assassinated: 2 May, 1965
While the Mirabal sisters are often the faces of activism in the Dominican Republic, they were certainly not the only women to fight injustice in the country. Yolanda Guzmán was a vibrant young Afro-Dominican woman, a female combatant and a martyr of the April Revolution—the war fought against the US invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965. She was executed within a month of the start of the war at the incredibly young age of 21. Yolanda joins the rank of the many Black women who engaged in armed struggle for independence and sovereignty, many who like her, are often forgotten.
Aida Cartagena Portalatín
Writer & Feminist Icon
Born: 18 June 1918
Died: 3 June, 1994
When you think Dominican women in literature it’s not strange for most people to think Salomé Ureña, famed Dominican poet. Less known is Aida Cartagena Portalatín, a Black Dominican poet, professor, and writer. Aida is a feminist icon who’s works were included themes around racism, nation, imperialism, racism, and feminism. She wrote prolifically and and audaciously during Trujillo’s reign, where the arts and free thought could lead to your disappearance.
Sonia Pierre (Solange Pierre)
Born: 4 July, 1963
Died: 4 December, 2011
Solange Pierre was a Dominico-Haitian activist who fought against anti-Haitian discrimination and for the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent. She began this work at the age of 13 through direct actions, legal battles and her work as the founder and director of MUDHA (Movement for Dominican Women of Haitian Descent). She would later go on to win the RFK Human Rights Award for her activism including her fight to get birth certificates for Dominicans of Haitian descent on the 17th of November, 2006.
You can learn more about this incredible woman here.
Yudelkis Contreras (Yuderqui Maridalia Contreras)
Born: 27 March 1986
We wanted to include someone who was still alive and keeping the legacy of fierce Dominican Black womanhood going which is where Yudelkis Contreras comes in. Yudelkis is a professional weightlifter who has represented the Dominican Republic in the Olympics, World Weightlifting Championships, and Pan American and Central American and Caribbean Games in the snatch and clean and jerk divisons. In fact, in 2013, the National Olympic Committee named her athlete of the year!
Watch her in action here.
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