(image sourced from: floridamemory.com/items/show/30571)
Pictured above is José Martí on the iron steps of the 'V. Martinez Ybor & Co. Cigar Factory (#)6'. He is standing front and center among a group of Cuban exiles and immigrants who made the fine quality cigars for which Cuba is still known for. The factory is located in Ybor city, a factory town created by the business entrepreneur V. Martinez Ybor who was able to persuade Cuban and New York manufacturers to invest in the tract of land he acquired. Ybor has since been incorporated into greater Tampa Bay, but back in 1893 it was the site of one of Martí's famous speeches against U.S. hegemony. The factory (which is not depicted) still stands today in testament of Martí's incisive critique of U.S. foreign policy and his fervent insistence for Cuban's to revolt and fight for the liberation of their *patria*, or homeland. This picture is not only a depiction of José Martí, but brings into question what counts as part of the American narrative. What aspects of the American assemblage is left out of the predominate story. And why haven't we considered the waters between Cuba and Florida as a shared borderland? Where the meaning of Cuban and U.S. American nationhood emerged in an interrelated and contentious history of hegemony, liberation, and struggle.
(image sourced from: floridamemory.com/items/show/151635) Paulina Pedroso was a Afro-Cuban woman vitally important to the labor and Cuba Libre (or Free Cuba) movements which took hold of Ybor city, at the turn of the 20th century. It was at her home that she shared with her husband, Ruperto, where José Martí would stay when he visited. Her home was also the site of many gatherings which supported the movement. She is famously known for walking down the streets of the city arm-in-arm with Jose Marti, a white-hispanic man, at time of deep U.S. *and* Cuban racial division.