Radical Women (Montseny, González Rodríguez de Fleischman, Meana, Palencia, Ferrer
The patriarchal context they lived in limited women’s radical public persona and the coverage of their work. Also, their radical and progressive affiliations were not always disclosed to protect the family in Spain and the USA and protect the publication of worker periodicals. The USA government and the pro-Franco diplomacy in the USA were watching these publications.
Some intellectual figures were featured in US worker's periodicals. Since the 1920s, the original texts and reprints of Frederica Montseny (1905-1994) were often published; for instance, in Cultura Proletaria, Inquietudes, Vía Libre (New York), and Boletín del Torcedor (Tampa). Republican Minister of Health and Social Policy at the time, Montseny’s call for ambulances and condensed milk was published in Frente Popular on May 1, 1937. The SHC fundraised and sent hundreds of cans of milk, among other goods, to Spain, along with a total of eight ambulances to the Red Cross in Spain in less than a year. The SHC invited Montseny to talk via radio o phone in the rally in Madison Square Garden on July 10, 1937. She talked along with Dolores de Ibarruri, and other notable personalities (“Monumental Acto” July 19, 1937). La Voz (New York) published her call to action addressed American women on Jan. 1, 1938.
Prominent Spanish women politicians were also invited as speakers to the SHC rallies. For example, Socialist politician, feminist, and writer Margarita Nelken (1878-1974) was invited to speak at a rally in Centro Galicia, New York on Sept. 19, 1938. Nelken remembered the Spanish people, who fought to stop fascism and continued to do so. The SHC printed 3,000 flyers and paid radio announcements to promote the event. Nelken was invited again in April 1939. She spoke to the audience gathered in the Manhattan Center.
Ernestina González Rodríguez de Fleischman (1899-1976) and Carmen Meana (1907-unknown) were organizers and speakers of this event, and many others. In late 1939, González de Fleischman left the SHC, served as secretary of the anti-fascist periodical Liberación (New York), and became an executive member of the Refugee Relief Committee. With Helen R. Bryan, she was imprisoned for three months. She paid a $500 fine because they refused to provide the records of the Joint Antifascist Refugee Committee to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in November 1950 (“Ingresaron en prisión” España Libre Nov. 17, 1950). When asked if she would permit the HCUA to see the records, González de Fleischman answered that the question was not pertinent since she did not personally possess the records of the JARC (United States v. Fleischman, 339 US 349 (1950).
In 1936, Meana also spoke in several rallies and events representing the Communist Party in Madrid. She arrived in the USA with Ramón Sender on an antifascist tour in April 1938 (“Piden auxilio para España” April 8, 1938). On June 10, Meana said next to Ramón Sender in front of 22,000 attendees (“Congreso Nacional de SHC” Nov. 25, 1938). She was also a writer and business manager for Liberación in the 1940s. Meana became a familiar speaker in SHC rallies and congresses and those organized by the periodical Liberación, often next to Puerto Rican leader Jesús Colón. She left for Cuba in 1953.
Diplomat, journalist, and feminist Isabel de Palencia also gave a talk in the SHC fundraiser in the Palm Garden of New York City, May 14, 1944. She remembered the refugees and thanked Mexico for welcoming them. The event included other renowned speakers, an antifascist play, and performers. The event collected $1,229.10.
In September 1952, the SHC invited Ferrer i Guàrdia’s daughter, Sol Ferrer de Vilar, to lecture to the mutual aid society La Nacional, NewYork, which often offered its headquarters to the SHC. A graduate of the Sorbonne, Ferrer de Vilar was at the University of Buffalo, NewYork, writing her dissertation on her father’s work when she visited the SHC. In her speech, she noted that the antifascist work of the SHC and España Libre were well known, and that she was grateful for their regular remembrance of her father’s legacy in the periodical.