Category: Lucía Sánchez Saornil

DECEMBER 13: Lucía Sánchez Saornil (1895-1970)

The Spanish poet and anarchist, Lucía Sánchez Saornil, was born on this day in 1895.
She is most well-known for her lesbian themed poetry and for being one of the
founders of the feminist group Mujeres Libres.

An older Lucía photographed some time in the 1940s (x).

Lucía was
born on December 13, 1895 in Valencia, Spain. Her mother passed away not long
after her birth and she was raised by an impoverished single father. Lucía’s experiences
growing up poor would eventually become a defining factor in her political
identity. She began writing poetry at an early age and was able to receive a
scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. By 1919,
she had been published in premier literary journals such as Los Quijotes,
Tableros, Plural, Manantial and La Gaceta Literaria under a male pen name. By
using a false name, Lucía was able to publish her love poems about women
without fear of being caught by censors and imprisoned.

Despite her literary success, Lucía
still found herself having to work as a telephone operator in order to make a
living. In 1931, she participated in a strike along with the
anarcho-syndicalist labor union, Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT),
against Telefónica. After that inciting incident, she would dedicate her life
to labor activism and fighting for anarchist social revolution. By 1933, she
had been appointed as the Writing Secretary for CNT’s branch in Madrid.

Towards the end of her life, Lucía
began publishing her writing in anarchist-based journals as well as criticizing
the anarchist movement for being so male-centered. Along with Mercedes
Comaposada and Amparo Poch y Gascón, she founded the anarchist feminist organization
Mujeres Libres in 1936. After the break out of the Spanish Civil War, the
organization’s roster grew to 30,000 members. It was while working for Mujeres
that Lucía met the love of her life, América Barroso.

Due to the defeat of the Second
Republic in the Spanish Civil War, Lucía and América were
forced to relocate to Paris. However, they would return to live in Madrid in
1941 due to the carnage of World War II. The true nature of their relationship
remained a secret, but they lived together for the rest of their lives – América
working as an official at the Argentine consul and Lucía continuing her work as
a anarchist activism and a literary editor. Lucía would pass away on June 2, 1970.