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Galeana, Benita (1904–1995)

Galeana, Benita (1904–1995)

Mexican political activist. Born Sept 10, 1904, in San Jerónimo de Juarez, Guerrero, Mexico; died April 17, 1995; dau. of Genaro Galeana Lacunza; m. Mario Gil; children: 1 daughter.

Political and labor activist who supported worker's rights, 8-hour day, women's rights and redistribution of land; joined Mexican Communist Party (1929) and was arrested and incarcerated more than 50 times for political activities; despite limited literacy skills (self-taught), published autobiographical narrative Benita (1940) and collection of short narratives El peso mocho (The Damaged Coin, 1979); with husband, raised daughter from another marriage and other girls in need of home; worked on behalf of railroad workers' strike (1958) and supported 1968 students' movement; was outspoken critic of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) government and of Mexico's relationship with US; demonstrated solidarity with Chiapas uprising (1994); remained on cutting edge of Mexican feminism, speaking in support of abortion rights and acceptance of lesbianism. Her Mexico City home was converted by Federal District government into Casa de la Mujer Benita Galeana (Benita Galeana Women's House), a museum, meeting house, archive and women's center (2000).

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