José Martí in the United States

See how José Martí inspired the Cuban community in the U.S.

Google Arts & Culture

José Julian Martí Monument

The Jose Julian Marti Monument is located at an entrance to Central Park on 59th Street and the head of Avenue of the Americas in New York City. This area of the park hosts three monuments to Latin American Heros including Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin. 

José Martí (1943) by Jorge ArcheThe Bronx Museum of the Arts

Jose Julian Marti

Jose Marti was a Cuban poet, philosopher, and revolutionist who fought for Cuba’s independence from Spain.  Marti was exiled and began a latin american pilgrimage before settling in New York City in 1880 where he spent 15 years of his life.  


The Jose Marti monument is a bronze sculpture by Anna Vaughn Hyatt Hunnington that sits in Central Park South in New York.  The statue was dedicated in 1965 as a gift to the Cuban government to honor the Cuban revolutionist who fought for the independence of Cuba from Spain. 

Marti’s Dying for Cuban Independence

The Jose Marti Monument depicts the moment when Marti was mortally wounded in battle against Spanish troops in Dos Rios, Cuba on May 19 1895.  He is honored and remembered around the world as the Apostle of Cuban Independence. 

Political Ideology

Marti believed that Cuba should be a democratic republic that governed itself. He moved for the abolition of slavery and to unite Cubans of all social classes and colours in harmony. 

Castle Clinton History

Castle Clinton, also known as Castle Garden, is a circular structure that sits on the southernmost tip of Manhattan.  Built in 1811, it was first used as a military fort but was actually never used in battle.  The army vacated Castle Clinton in 1821 and then it became an entertainment center, an exhibition call, a theater, a beer garden, and an aquarium.

Castle Clinton National Monument

Castle Clinton is best known as one of America’s first and principal immigration landing station before Ellis Island from 1855- 1890. More than 8 Million people arrived to the US through this port including Jose Marti in 1880.

Marti Arrives to NYC

Many of Marti’s frequented sites are located in lower Manhattan including his office in 120 Front Street. This office is the location where Marti founded the revolutionary newspaper Patria, wrote his essays on New York City Life, and served as consul for Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Brooklyn Bridge

Now a famous and iconic structure of the New York skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed between 1869 and 1883. It was dedicated in the year of its completion, just three years after José Marti arrived in his adopted homeland of New York City.

Marti wrote powerful words about the bridge and its symbolism.

Brooklyn Bridge- the Structure

The Brooklyn Bridge is a cable-suspension bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn and was inaugurated in 1883. The bridge was built between 1869 and 1883, it was considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century.

La America

In 1883, Marti was working several magazines, one of which was La America where he wrote about the inauguration of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Where he wrote: “The blood throbs more generously in the veins of the joyfully astonished people of New York these days.

A crown seems to have descended upon the city, and each of its inhabitants can feel it on his brow.” 

Symbolism of “El Puente De Brooklyn”

As a passionate revolutionist, Marti carried the theme of liberty throughout his observations of North American life.  For the Inauguration of the Brooklyn Bridge, Marti wrote, “Better to bring cities together than to cleave human chests,” to express the power of connecting the people of New York to those in Brooklyn. 

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is recognized worldwide as an American icon that stands on Liberty Island in New York City. The statue was a gift from the people of France to the US and is considered a symbol of liberty and freedom.

Liberty Island

Liberty Island is about 14 acres of land owned by the federal government and is surrounded by the waters of New Jersey. In 1800, the island was intended to hold an 11-point star defensive fort, this structure would become the base for the Statue of Liberty. 

Lady Liberty

Construction of the Statue of Liberty was completed in 1884 in France by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. The sculpture depicts the Roman Goddess Libertas, raising a torch and holding tablet inscribed with the American Declaration of Independence. 

Statue of Liberty in New York bay (1887) by J.S. JohnstonMusée des arts et métiers

“Fiestas de La Estatua de la Libertad”

In October 1886, Jose Marti was present for the inauguration of the gift from France. He wrote about the celebration and described the festivities of the occasion and the described the joy of those who are granted freedom,  and expresses the sadness of those who do not, “It is a terrible thing for one deprived of you to speak of you, O Liberty.” 
Published in La Nacion in January 1887.

El Liceo Cubano of Ybor City and La Union Martí-Maceo

El Liceo and Martí-Maceo were two centers of Cuban culture where Cubans would gather during and after the years of Jose Marti for recreation and political gatherings. 

La Union Martí-Maceo

The Marti-Maceo Union was organized in 1904 by the Afro-Cuban community after Florida laws prohibited integrated social clubs. It is named after the white Jose Marti and the Afro-Cuban Antonio Maceo, leaders of Cuba’s war for independence. 

El Liceo Cubano of Ybor City

The Liceo Cubano was founded in 1886 and known as the “Cradle of Cuban Liberty”  but originally used as Vicente Martinez-Ybor’s first cigar factory. The center served as a Social and political club where Jose Marti gave two of his most famous speeches (“Con Todos Y Para Todos” and “Los Pinos Nuevos”) and planned resolutions that eventually became the United Cuban Revolutionary Party.

Cradle of Cuban Independence

Marti first arrived in Tampa in November 1891 where he was famous for his poetry and work as a journalist.  Within four years and 20 visits to Tampa, Marti ignited the independence movement within the Cuban community in Ybor City.

Jose Marti speeches

Marti called for unification of Cubans throughout the country to  bind together for Cuba’s Independence with his speech known as “The Liceo Speech,” where he started, “For suffering Cuba, the first word.”

The next day on November 27th, Marti returned to  give the manifesto titled “Resolutions,” that would become the preamble to the principles of the Cuban revolutionary party and ended with another famous speech known as “The New Pines.” 

Cigar FactoryVicente Martinez Ybor Cigar Factory

Is one of Tampa’s most significant structures, neighbored by the VM-Ybor Inn, and “El Pasaje” which served as additional office spaces, a restaurant and a military recruiting station. The VM Factory is the oldest brick structure in Ybor City, and possibly in all of Tampa.

Cigar Factory

Factory was opened in 1886 and took over the entire city block and was the largest cigar manufacturing center in the world at that time. The grand brick building symbolized the growing significance of the cigar industry in Tampa. Today the building takes on a new identity as a church of scientology. 

Vicente Martinez-Ybor

V. Martinez Ybor founded Ybor City in 1886, the VM factory was the second factory he built in Tampa, the first being the wooden building that became the Liceo Club. Beyond cigar factories, VM-Ybor also had several other businesses including a street line car, brewery, gas stations, and an insurance company. Ybor built and sold affordable homes for his workers and provided for his community by bringing centers for social congregation, medical care, and a theater. 

Jose Marti Steps

The Jose Marti steps are where Marti posed for a famous photograph with the Ybor City cigar workers who supported the cause for independence in 1883. 

Women at work in a cigar factory (1934) by Burgert Brothers and University of South Florida LibraryNational Women’s History Museum


In the early days of the cigar industry, the cigar makers- known as tabaqueros, held a very respected status as laborers as they required an apprenticeship of at least 6 months, and were not easily replaced once they learned the craft.

Tabaqueros controlled “La Lectura,” which was the educational practice of being read to while they worked. The tabaqueros would audition and hire a reader who would spend the day reading out loud: daily newspapers, novels, political pieces, and of course- works of Jose Marti. 

Home of Paulina and Ruperto Pedroso

Paulina and Ruperto were afro-cubans forced to leave Cuba during the 10 years war and settled in Ybor city where he worked as a tabaquero and Paulina ran a boarding house on this land.  Paulina and Ruperto returned to Cuba in 1910 where they were welcomed like heroes for their aid to Marti during his assassination attempt. 

Jose Marti Assassination Attempt

On December 1982 Marti came to Ybor city for the 8th time when two Spanish agents attempted to poison him. Marti was taken to the boarding house of Paulina and Ruperto Pedroso to recover and he returned to stay there for his following visits to Ybor City. 

Cuban Territory

After the Pedroso’s moved back to Cuba, the house was sold to a Cuban businessman in the 1950s. The house was donated to the Cuban government and when the old structure was demolished, the plot of land became Jose Marti Park.

Marti Park is the only plot of land in the United States owned by Cuba and therefore is a small piece of Cuban land in Tampa. 

Jose Marti Park

The Jose Marti Park is built on soil imported from each province of Cuba and is about .14 acres.  A statue of Marti with his arm outstretched is the prominent figure in the park. 

Circulo Cubano de Tampa (Cuban Club)

This structure was designed by Leo Elliot in 1917 with $60,000. At this time about half of the community was Cuban and were heavily investing to support the Cuban independence. This club was meant to bring together and assist the Cuban immigrants in the community. 

Bust of Jose Marti

Dedicated in aug 1948 by a cuban Society in tampa- Caballeros de la Luz (Gentlemen of the Light). This bust was made to commemorate that Marti is the inspiration for the Circulo Cubano de Tampa as he gathered Cubans together.

Original Circulo Cubano

The original red brick Cuban Club house included a theater, library, classrooms, a cantina but was destroyed by a fire in April of 1916.  

Purpose of Cuban Club 1918

This structure was meant to house the Cuban Club which functioned as a mutual aid institution to bring together the Cubans residents of Tampa, provide benefits to members and their families such as recreational spaces, educational resources, medical care, and to keep good relations with other clubs without involving political issues. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Google apps