Ulmer Park

In the disappeared Ulmer Park (New York City), Castelao gave a famous speech in favor of the Republic to the Spanish and Galician community on August 14, 1938, as part of a festival organized by the Galician Popular Antifascist Front. The festival also included other activities, for example musical performances by the Club Madrid orchestra, the Coro del Frente Popular Español de Philadelphia and artists such as Consuelo Moreno and Vicente Cordellat, as well as football matches with teams such as Sada F.C. and the Galicia F.C. According to the Spanish press in New York (Frente Popular and La Voz), the festival was a great success, and Castelao’s speech was especially exciting for the Galician community.

Press clipping of La Voz announcing the festival and Castelao’s speech (gathered by Emilio González López and Amado Rincón)

On August 16, La Voz published the article “The Galician Festival Had a Great Success”, which mentions the enthusiastic reaction triggered by Castelao’s words: “In the last minutes of his speech, when he spoke to his countrymen in their vernacular language, enthusiasm overflowed, as the Galicians heard for the first time the magical words of a man who was able to narrate the tragedy of their charming land in their mother tongue, in such an honest and sublime way…” (En los últimos minutos de su oración habló a sus paisanos, en la lengua vernácula y el entusiasmo se desbordó en ese momento, cuando los gallegos oían por primera vez, la palabra mágica de un hombre que en la lengua materna, sabía narrar la tragedia de la tierra ‘Meiga’, con un decir tan llano y tan sublime…). The newspaper Frente Popular, published by the Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas also referred to the visit of the Galician intellectual in the article “Castelao in Ulmer Park” (19/8/1938), and included an extract from his passionate speech: “Your flesh is the Galician land. Your blood is the rivers that run through the Galician countryside. The fascists do not control Galicia: you carry Galicia in yourselves”(“Vuestros huesos son las rovas [sic] vírgenes de Galicia. Vuestra carne es la tierra gallega. Vuestra sangre son los ríos que corren por la campiña galaica. Los fascistas no dominan a Galicia: Galicia la tenéis con vosotros mismos”). (Source: Emilio González López and Amado Rincón, Castelao, propagandista da República en Norteamérica (2000)).