A new historical marker and mural honor Latina labor activists who marched in Ybor City against fascism

Almost 90 years ago, the Latina community of Hillsborough County came together to protest the growing fascism movement taking root abroad. The 1937 Antifascist Women's March was recently commemorated through a new historical marker and mural, both located on Ybor City's most historic avenue.

On May 6, 1937, thousands of protesters were led by women as they marched through the streets of Ybor. For three hours the group protested fascism and labor inequality. The demonstration was inspired by the growing international threat of fascism spreading during the '30s. The pro-democracy march was also a public protest against racial and gender disparities faced by minority women in the South, particularly in the workplace. For this reason, many Cuban women who worked in local cigar factories joined the rally.

No pasarán

A mural honoring the march compliments the historical marker and provides more context for this celebrated event. The mural depicts three women from left to right: Dolores Ibárruri, Luisa Moreno, and Margot Falcón Blanco. Ibárruri was a Spanish anti-fascist activist. Though she was not in Tampa for the march, she was included to represent the global movement. Moreno and Blanco, both Tampa-based labor and anti-fascist activists, participated in the demonstration.

Antifascist Women's March mural
The mural includes portraits of three Latina labor and anti-fascist activists with the Spanish phrase "No pasarán," which means "they shall not pass."

The mural includes the Spanish phrase "No pasarán," which means "they shall not pass." This was a popular slogan during World War I, used by the Spanish Republican Party during Spain's Civil War. The phrase expresses the will to defend a position against opposition. The colorful mural was created by local artist Michelle Sawyer.

Historical Marker inscription

The 1937 Antifascist Women's March

Antifascist Women's March historical marker
The 1937 Antifascist Women's March historical marker features text on one side and on the other side, a black-and-white photo of women marching down the middle of 7th Avenue during the 1937 protest.

On May 6, 1937, 5,000 Latinas from Ybor City assembled here on 7th Avenue to protest the rise of fascism in Spain and around the world. They marched from Ybor City to downtown Tampa to address Mayor R.E.L. Chancey at City Hall. Once there, a marcher presented the mayor with a petition on behalf of the Ybor community and said:

"As citizens and residents of a peaceful and democratic nation, we feel morally obliged to give all possible aid to Spanish cities that defend their democratic government against fascist aggression, thus maintaining the standard of peace and democracy in the world."

Ybor Latinas, as well as their neighbors, waged an antifascist campaign during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), literally sending tons of food and clothing, plus 20,000 cigars, 4 ambulances, 1 x-ray machine, and $7,000 of medication to Spanish Republican forces. Also, 24 men from Ybor City joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the volunteer unit that fought the fascist regime. While Franco's fascist supporters won the war, the people of Ybor remained dedicated to the antifascist cause - particularly as the community rallied to support the Allied forces against the fascist Axis Powers during WWII.

The other side of the marker features a black-and-white photo of women marching down the middle of 7th Avenue during the 1937 protest.

Marker and mural location

The marker and mural are at 2015 E. 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605. The mural is on the western wall of the Ybor City Development Corporation building. The marker is in front of the building.

The historical marker was erected in 2023 by the Carlos H. Cantu Hispanic Education and Opportunity Endowment, and the Hillsborough County Historical Advisory Council.

Last Modified: 1/29/2024, 1:48:51 PM

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