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Puerto Rican Congress of Mutual Aid

Division and Mozart St.

The Puerto Rican Congress of Mutual Aid was established to reinforce a sense of community among migrants from the island who are living in Chicago. Carlos Ruiz established the organization in the early 1950s and, especially being a former dancer, wanted to make music key to this mission. In the 1960s, it sponsored such local salsa bands as La Justicia and La Union. Ruiz formed the Ebirac Records company to release their work. These groups performed Cuban rhythms like the son montuno but also emphasized Puerto Rican folkloric influences, such as plena and bomba. That same spirit informs the nearby Paseo Boricua, which is also a main part of the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Between the two metal Puerto Rican flags that arose on Division Street in 1995, Latin music of all kinds can be heard throughout the area’s shops and restaurants and on the street itself, especially during the summertime. Latin music festivals are also staged in the park itself near the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.

– A.C. 

Caption: Pureto Rican Congress of Mutual Aid. 

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