Ana Livia Cordero

Ana Livia Cordero poses with her two children, 1958–1966_courtesy of the Papers of Ana Livia Cordero, Schlesinger Library

A physician and political activist, Ana Livia Cordero helped bring medical services to rural Puerto Rico. She graduated from Columbia University Medical School in 1953 and returned to Puerto Rico to work with rural communities. In 1961 she and her husband, civil rights activist Julian Mayfield, moved to Ghana where Cordero served as the personal physician for W.E.B. Du Bois and ran a women’s health clinic. When President Nkrumah fell from power, Cordero was expelled from Ghana. She and Mayfield divorced, and Cordero returned to Puerto Rico where she became involved with Movimiento Pro Independencia. In 1967, she organized Proyecto Piloto de Trabajo con el Pueblo, which sought to address the decolonization struggle of Puerto Rico through education. Cordero was arrested by Puerto Rican police in 1968 and accused of fomenting revolution. As a result, she curtailed her public activism during most of the 1970s, preferring to work informally "underground" with friends and fellow activists to try to advance the issue of Puerto Rican independence. She was also involved in several intra-Caribbean and international efforts to support Central African revolution during the 1980s.