José Julián Martí Pérez (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895) was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. Through his writings and political activity, he became a symbol for Cuba’s bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century, and is referred to as the “Apostle of Cuban Independence.”
Born in Havana, Martí would travel extensively in Spain, Latin America, and the United States (particularly in Florida) raising awareness and support for the cause of Cuban independence. Martí is considered one of the great turn-of-the-century Latin American intellectuals.
Martí loved Key West as seen in the photo above that reads upon the monument “The Cuban Liberty Apostle wished to offer to the people of Key West what was left of his heart”. You can find the José Martí monument in Bayview Park here in Key West on José Martí Drive on the corner closest to the Horace O’Bryant Middle School.