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Dolores "Lolita" LebrÃ³n Sotomayor (November 19, 1919 â€“ August 1, 2010) was an active advocate for Puerto Rican independence. She was born and raised in Lares, Puerto Rico, where she joined the Liberal Party. In her youth she met Francisco Matos Paoli, a renowned Puerto Rican poet, with whom she had a relationship. In 1941, LebrÃ³n migrated to New York City, where she joined the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, gaining influence within the party's leadership. Within the organization she promoted ideals based on socialist and feminist principles.
In 1952, after Puerto Rico's official status was changed to "Commonwealth", the Nationalist Party began a series of revolutionary actions, including the Jayuya Uprising. As part of this initiative, Pedro Albizu Campos ordered her to organize attacks in the United States, focusing on locations that were "the most strategic to the enemy". She became the leader of a group of nationalists, who proceeded to attack the United States House of Representatives in 1954. She was incarcerated as a result. LebrÃ³n remained imprisoned 25 years, when Jimmy Carter issued pardons to the group involved. After their release in 1981, the nationalists returned to Puerto Rico, where independence movements received them with a celebration. During the following years she continued her involvement in pro-independence activities, including the Navy-Vieques protests. Her life would be subsequently detailed in books and a documentary. On August 1, 2010, LebrÃ³n died from complications of a cardiorespiratory infection.
The Puerto Rican Athenaeum â€”or Ateneo PuertorriqueÃ±o in Spanishâ€” is one of Puerto Rico's chief cultural institutions. It was founded in 1876.
The Athenaeum serves as a museum, school, library, and performance hall for the greater Puerto Rico. It hosts a number of contests, conferences, and exhibits each year, presenting the best art, literature, and music that Puerto Rico has to offer. Some[who?] say it was the first institution of higher learning in Puerto Rico in which the islands' top minds gave free classes in their areas of expertise.
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