Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos
1891 – 1965
He is the FIRST Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard Law School
He fought for independence movement for Puerto Rico
He spent some 26 years in prison for organizing against U.S. colonial rule.
Dr. Campos was born on September 12, 1891 in Tenerias Village, Ponce. The son of Alejandro Albizu and Juana Campos. He was the nephew of Juan Morel Campos. Terrorist to his enemies and critics, hero to the most fervent Puerto Rican nationalist.
After service in an African-American unit during World War I he developed a lasting enmity for the United States and became the fiery champion of Puerto Rican independence. Educated at Harvard (BS 1916, LL B 1923), he joined the Nationalist Party in 1924 and was the most prominent “independentista” of his time.
In 1930, he was elected president of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico. Convicted of seeking to overthrow the U.S. government, he was imprisoned (1937-43) before returning to Puerto Rico in 1947.
MASSACRE On Palm Sunday, March 21, 1937
The police shot and killed 21 Puerto Ricans and wounded over 200 others taking part in a peaceful march to protest Pedro imprisonment. The event became known as the Ponce massacre.
He masterminded a nationalist attack to the governor’s mansion in Puerto Rico and was accused of being behind the October 31, 1950, assassination attempt on President Truman at Blair House in Washington. he was sentenced to prison for 53 years, Governor Luis Muñoz Marín offered him a conditional pardon in 1953, but withdrew it after the nationalist attack on the U.S. House of Representatives the next year. Campos spent his final years in prison. While in prison, he claimed that he was the subject of human radiation experiments.
He was released from being incarcerated and was arrested again in 1950, just days after a Nationalist revolt began on October 30. Pedro Albizu spent the majority of his life in prison without parole, where he repeatedly charged that he was the subject of human radiation experiments as stated by him on Washington Merry Go Round.
He suffered a stroke in 1956 and was again pardoned in 1964. Died in Hato Rey, on April 21, 1965.
Dr. Orlando Daumy, a renowned radiologist and president of the Cuban Cancer Association, examined Albizu and reached three findings:
1. the sores on Albizu Campos were produced by radiation burns
2. every symptom indicated a person who had undergone intense radiation
3. wrapping himself in wet towels, was the best way for Albizu to diminish the intensity of the radiation
4. Warden Bravo tried to keep the entire matter quiet, but he failed. In 1952, the story exploded all over Latin America. In Puerto Rico, El Mundo reported that Albizu’s blood pressure had skyrocketed to 220/120, that he could scarcely walk, and that he suffered from “atomic torture.”
5. El Imparcial reported that Albizu’s feet, chest and stomach were severely inflamed, and the muscles in his neck were infected.