An award-winning scholar at the University of California, Irvine, Vicki Ruiz is the author, editor, or coeditor of several books, including From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America (1998); with Ellen Carol DuBois, Unequal Sisters: An Inclusive Reader in U.S. Women's History (4th edition, 2008); and, with Virginia Sanchez Korrol, Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia (2006). A past president of the OAH, the American Historical Association, the American Studies Association, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, she is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of American Historians as well as a recipient of the 2014 National Humanities Medal for pioneering the history of twentieth-century Latinas.
“ . . . women are capable of everything and anything,” declared Puerto Rican labor radical Luisa Capetillo, in Mi opinión sobre las libertades, derechos y deberes de la mujer. Published in 1911, this manifesto articulated a radical vision that promoted republican motherhood alongside free love and proletarian revolution. Less bold, a teenage Guatemalan feminist, Rosa Rodríguez López (aka Luisa Moreno) stressed the importance of education across class: “Feminism will make her become Conscious. . ., and. . .by obtaining an adequate education, she will be prepared [for].. . a much more ambitious future.” At the turn of the twentieth-century, Luisa Capetillo emerged as a passionate leader in Puerto Rico’s labor movement and later extended her reach into the Caribbean and the United States. During the 1930s and 40s, Luisa Moreno, the first Latina to hold national office in a major CIO union, organized food processing workers, as well as the first U.S. Latino civil rights conference. Though they never met, their legacies as labor leaders and feminist intellectuals intersect in multiple ways, especially in terms of their unwavering commitment to a radical labor politics. Their feminist writings reveal women’s transnational circuits of knowledge that extended across generations.