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date: 06 April 2020

Fernández Cortada, Ruth Noemí locked

(1919–2012),
  • María Soledad Romero

Extract

also known as “el alma de Puerto Rico hecha canción” (the soul of Puerto Rico made song), a Puerto Rican singer and senator of Afro-Hispanic descent, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on 23 May 1919 to Santiago Fernández (of Spanish descent) and Rosa María Cortada, daughter of Rafael Cortada, an immigrant from Asturias, Spain, and Adela Quiñones, an artisan of African descent. Her mother died when she was just 6 years old. She was the youngest of five sisters raised by her maternal grandmother, doña Adela.

According to Fernández Cortada, doña Adela had the greatest influence during the sisters’ formative years. She has described her grandmother as an intelligent woman who was a respected traditional spiritual healer in their community. Adela took great interest in Ruth’s education as she was a well-bred economically emancipated skilled dressmaker or modista catering to upper class clients The moment Ruth showed a ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.

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