Elizabeth Martínez, called a “voice of the Chicana movement” by the New York Times, passed away on June 29th at the age of 95. Her comrade in the Peace & Freedom Party, C.T. Weber, wrote the following in remembrance.

I first met Elizabeth Martínez through Peace and Freedom Party. We worked on a booklet called Peace and Freedom Party: A Program for the 80s. In 1982, she became the Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Governor of California. She really enjoyed that experience.

But Elizabeth, also known as Betita, was active before she moved to San Francisco.

Elizabeth Martínez was born on Dec. 12, 1925, in Washington, DC. She started her career with the U.N. Secretariat in New York; next she worked at the Museum of Modern Art where she assisted the museum’s director of photography; at Simon & Schuster, later she was a book editor; and she was books and arts editor at The Nation magazine. She wrote film reviews; translated a French novel; traveled to Cuba, where she declared herself a socialist; and in Moscow interviewed leading Russian poets.

Elizabeth became an editor and writer for social justice writing that her mission was to “destroy hatred and prejudice.”

In 1964, she joined the Freedom Summer in Mississippi where she registered Black voters. She edited “Letters from Mississippi,” The following year. By the mid-1960s, she felt the pull of revolutionary politics.

In 1968, Ms. Martínez co-founded a bilingual newspaper, El Grito del Norte (The Cry of the North) where she helped define an emergent Chicana movement. She explored how issues of race, class, poverty, gender and sexuality were all connected under overlapping systems of oppression.

–written by C.T. Weber

 


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