Jose Marti and Paulina Pedroso

Anthony Ramos's picture
(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.