Who was Pedro Albizu Campos before he became the name practically synonymous with the powerful words, “Puerto Rico Libre” and “Puerto Rico no se Vende”. A man that literally gave up his freedom and his life for the island that he loved and only dreamt of seeing it free one day.
Don Pedro Albizu Campos was born on 29 June 1893 and not on 12 September 1891 as many believe in Tenerias Village in Ponce, Puerto Rico. His mother Juliana Campos and believed to be a former slave had held on to spiritual beliefs from her African roots. The child named Pedro that was born in 1891 was thought to have passed. When Don Pedro was born, she believed he carried the soul of the child she had lost, which is why he was also called Pedro and she did not register him when he was born.
Already at the beginning of his life, he was born into a situation that showed the contrasts and the many layers of what makes up the Puerto Rican story. Don Pedro was born to Juliana Campos as mentioned she may have been a former slave who was born in Juana Diaz to Ana Maria Campos. She was a slave in the Hacienda owned by Adolfo Campos. When he passed Juliana and her sister relocated to Ponce to Tenerias Village, where many “morenos libertos” lived. In Ponce iswhere she met Don Alejandro Albizu Romero who was known as “El Vizcaino”, because of his Basque origin. Don Alejandro was the son of Antonio Albizu and Rita Romero originally from Venezuela, they lived in Ponce, where Don Antonio owned Hacienda Rita. According to the 1872 “Registros de Esclavos” also owned 22 slaves. Doña Juliana and Don Alejandro never married, because he was already married to Justina Antonsanti Romero with whom he had three other children. When Don Pedro was born, he was registered as “Pedro Campos”, he started to use “Albizu” after being legally recognized by his father in 1914. Don Pedro was the youngest of four siblings from his mother’s side and was very young when Doña Juliana tragically drowned on 7 October 1895, leaving behind Ysabel (16 years old), Francisco Fundador (9 years old), Maria (6 years old) and Pedro (3 years old). Already at such a young age, Don Pedro had many things going against him, he was poor, was orphaned by his mother, and was “illegitimate” not yet recognized by his father. Despite all the socioeconomic barriers he had in front of him. Don Pedro did not let it stop him, he went ahead and attended school and by the time he graduated from Ponce High, he was at the top of his class and graduated with a full scholarship to the University of Vermont where he went on to study Chemical Engineering.