Maria Sanchez

Detail from a photograph of Maria Sanchez, November 6, 1973 – Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library

Maria Colón Sánchez (1926-1989)

A Hartford-based community activist, Maria Colón Sánchez fought tirelessly for bilingual education in Connecticut public schools. A native of Puerto Rico, she came to Hartford in 1954 at the age of 28 and established a storefront on Albany Avenue that eventually became the center of Puerto Rican activism in the city. She founded the Puerto Rican Parade Committee in 1964 and, in 1973, began serving a 16-year term on the Hartford Board of Education. Recognized for her effectiveness in promoting bilingual education reform, she became, in 1988, the first Hispanic woman elected to the Connecticut General Assembly. The city of Hartford dedicated Maria C. Sánchez Elementary School in her honor in September of 1991.


Maria Sanchez and Alejandro La Luz, Puerto Rican spokesmen, Hartford

Maria Sánchez, State Representative and Community Advocate

The first Latina elected to the Connecticut General Assembly started as a grassroots activist for Hartford's Puerto Rican community.  …[more]

Learn More


Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. “Maria C. Sanchez,” 2017. Link.


Connecticut Digital Archive. “Maria Sanchez Collection,” n.d. Link.


Glasser, Ruth, and Connecticut Humanities Council. Aquí Me Quedo: Puerto Ricans in Connecticut. Middletown, CT: Connecticut Humanities Council, 1997.
Cruz, José E. Identity and Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1998.
Pawlowski, Robert E. La Gente, La Casa: The Development of Hartford’s Puerto Rican Community. Hartford, CT: La Casa de Puerto Rico, 1990.