This article focuses on the political life and imprisonment of the author’s great-aunt, Monserrate del Valle del Toro, a Puerto Rican nationalist and onetime political prisoner. Monserrate was arrested in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on October 30, 1950, for participating in an attempt to overthrow the US government. In telling Monserrate’s story, the article attempts to upend certain established narratives of the history of Puerto Rican nationalism, of who fought in the struggle for independence and how they fought. That fight took place in the political and legal arena and in the streets of towns all over the archipelago, but it also took place within the walls of the Arecibo District Jail, where a group of nationalist women, including Monserrate, sheltered, cared for, and fed each other.

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