Puerto Rican Afro-descendant Woman Ruth Fernández Cortada
Ruth Fernández Cortada
Ruth Fernandez Cortada (Ponce, May 23, 1919 - Santurce, January 9, 2012) was the first Afro-Puerto Rican woman to have a successful career as a singer, achieving success in eliminating barriers and stereotypes that existed toward the black race. She was a true glory. She was recognized as "The Soul of Puerto Rico Turned Song."
On one occasion, Mingo's band was hired by the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. For this concert, the director of the orchestra told Ruth she had to enter through the kitchen door like all other black musicians (a de facto integration rule, illegal at the time in Puerto Rico but still in place at the time out of concern for American patrons of the hotel).
Ruth, however, did not follow the instructions and entered through the main entrance, driven by a chauffeur on a Pachard automobile. She then went up on stage, where he sang to the delighted audience.
During World War II and the Korean War, she traveled to other countries to provide entertainment for troops of Latino descent.
She was then elected into the Senate of PR, representing the city of Ponce PR. She died in 2012 of Alzheimer's and Pneumonia.