Life Story: Antonia Pantoja (1921–2002)

Grassroots Organizer and Activist

The story of a grassroots organizer and activist for Puerto Rican rights.

Antonia Pantoja

Antonia Pantoja Papers, 1923-2002. Antonia Pantoja. Center for Puerto Rican Studies Library & Archives, Hunter College, CUNY.

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This video was created by the New-York Historical Society Teen Leaders in collaboration with the Untold project.

Suggested Activities

  • Compare Antonia’s life story to that of Jovita Idar, a woman who advocated for bilingual education in Latinx communities.
  • Connect Antonia’s life story to that of Iris Morales. Both women were Puerto Rican activists in New York City, yet they took very different approaches to making change. 
  • Antonia is part of a long legacy of women activists who used teaching and education to bring about change. Combine her life story with those of Jovita Idar, Zitkala-Sa, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ida B. Wells, Maggie Walker, Mary Kawena Pukui, and Chien-Shiung Wu.
  • Compare Antonia’s life to that of Pauli Murray, who, while maintaining a relationship with another woman, sought to keep her personal life private. Encourage students to think about the challenges LGBTQ women faced while being activists. 



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