View Other Entries

  • Title: Sylvia del Villard - Santurce, Puerto Rico
  • Location: Santurce, PR
  • View Full Size

For over 30 years Sylvia del Villard (1927-1990) gave global lectures and performances on the African influence in Puerto Rico as an activist, actress, artist, ballerina, choreographer, coloratura, dancer, declamadora, folklorist, lecturer, orator, painter, teacher, singer, and writer. Born in Santurce, PR, Villard graduated from Escuela Superior Central, won a gov’t scholarship, briefly attended Fisk University & completed University of Puerto Rico B.A. & M.A. degrees. Villard founded Teatro Afro-Boricua El Coquí (1968), Luis Palés Matos Theater (1977) & headed Ensemble Soninke. An independista, Villard’s unapologetic Blackness inspired many Afro-Puerto Ricans and protested the use of blackface by white Puerto Rican actors. Queen Mother Sylvia del Villard, Puerto Rican journalist Wilda Rodríguez declared, “lived her life protecting our African heritage and she did it with extraordinary passion. She was a Black Queen to those of us who had the privilege of paying her tribute.”