The People's Pulpit (2022) is a sound sculpture made from a vintage pulpit from the First Spanish Methodist Church in East Harlem, also known as "The People's Church". The Young Lords, a revolutionary group of Puerto Rican activists famously took over the church in 1969-1970 and renamed it "The People's Church" where they hosted free breakfast programs, clothing drives, health services and other community programs.

A custom speaker box was built into the repurposed pulpit to amplify the voices of this history. In it's inaugural presentation we hear a vintage recording of Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri (1944-2004) reciting his famed poem “Puerto Rican Obituary” during The Young Lords’ takeover of the church in 1970. Pietri, also known as “El Reverendo” became one of the greatest poets of his generation, and was a central pillar of the Nuyorican Arts movement.
Audio: Puerto Rican Obituary by Pedro Pietri (1970) courtesy of The Pedro Pietri Estate and Third World Newsreel, All rights reserved.

The People's Pulpit was featured in “Poor People’s Art: A (Short) Visual History of Poverty in the U.S.” (Jan 4, 2022 - March 4, 2023) at the USF Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, FL, curated by Christian Viveros Faune, inspired by the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968 organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the SCLC, and it’s 2018 revival led by Rev. William J. Barber II and Liz Theoharis.

The People's Pulpit
Miguel Luciano The People's Pulpit Vintage pulpit from the Frist Spanish Methodist Church (aka The Peoeple's Church), speakers.
The People's Pulpit, 2022
Vintage pulpit from the Frist Spanish Methodist Church (aka The Peoeple's Church), speakers.
47" x 37" x 24"
Pedro Pietri reciting "Puerto Rican Obituary" during The Young Lords' takeover of The People's Church (1970).
From the documentary film "El Pueblo Se Levanta" by Newsreel, 1971.
Miguel Luciano The People's Pulpit Silver gelatin print
Hiram Maristany
Young Lords' Takeover of the People's Church, 1970.
Silver gelatin print
16" x 20"