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Born in Havana, María Luisa Guerrero received a doctoral degree from the University of Havana. Guerrero taught at several schools in the Havana area, including Ceiba del Agua in Rancho Boyeros and Jose Marti in Maríanao. In the 1930s, she served on the Board of Directors of the Lyceum and Lawn Tennis Club, a women’s organization dedicated to the promotion of Cuban culture and the role of women in the intellectual development of Cuba. During this time she also met Elena Mederos with whom she undertook many projects focusing on social welfare issues.
Guerrero was active in several political groups. She served on the Executive Committee of the Movimiento de Resistencia Civica (Civic Resistance Movement) and joined the Movimiento Revolucionario del Pueblo (People’s Revolutionary Movement) upon its foundation in 1959 and was a member of its National Executive Committee through 1961, when she left Cuba as an exile. In the United States, María Luisa worked in UNICEF with Elena Mederos, and in 1967, she returned to teaching as a Spanish professor and head of the Language Department in Paul VI Regional High School, Clifton, New Jersey.
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Elena Mederos (1900-1981) was a human rights and women’s rights activist born in Havana, Cuba.
Mederos was born on January 13, 1900, in Havana and married Hilario González Arrieta on July 2, 1924. She founded the School of Social Services of the University of Havana and the Foundation for Social Services, a private organization devoted to develop standards and programs for children’s institutions in Cuba.
When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959, Mederos became minister of social welfare but resigned five months later. Mederos fled to the United States in 1961 and immediately joined UNICEF. After trips to Africa and Latin America, she returned to New York and founded Of Human Rights, an organization devoted to informing U.S. politicians and scholars of the plight of Cuban political prisoners. She also founded a successful Cuban exile lobby that was instrumental in the release of thousands of political prisoners. Elena Mederos died in Washington, DC, on September 25, 1981.
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The María Luisa Guerrero Collection is organized into two series.
Please see the Finding Aid/Inventory section of this guide for more detailed information.
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