Pedagogue of the Revolution: José Martí’s On Education

“… and I became a teacher, in other words a creator” – José Martí[1]

After first touching down at the José Martí International Airport, Martí’s image is ubiquitous across Havana, adorning murals, posters, buildings, and statues. In a 2003 speech marking the 150th anniversary of Martí’s birth, Fidel Castro gave some sense of how Martí is perceived in Cuba, proclaiming him:

A fervent lover of peace, unity and harmony among men, he did not waver in organizing and initiating the just and necessary war against colonialism, slavery and injustice. His blood was the first to be spilled and his life was the first to be offered up as an indelible symbol of altruism and self-sacrifice.

Commonly referred to by Cubans as ‘The Apostle’, Martí’s standing is more than that of a former statesman confined to a bygone era of past glories and forgotten dreams. He is, instead, a living spirit, embodied in the Cuban people, breathing through them in their relentless efforts towards socialist construction and in the defence of their revolutionary state.

As a poet, writer, and revolutionary intellectual, Martí’s works span a wide range of topics from racism, imperialism, and anti-colonial resistance to art and literary criticism. The impressive depth of Martí’s academic endeavours is captured by Carlos Márquez Sterling:

He went to bed with a book by Wendell Phillips and got up with another by Waldo Emerson… In his room there was nothing but books, piled on chairs and on his night-table. He was reading at the time (1882) the pantheistic poetry of Bryant, the verses of Josiah Holland, and a large volume of Henry Ward Beecher.[2]

Such pursuits express an incipient potential for any great teacher, for “the true teacher”, as Vasily Sukhomlinsky tells us, “is a book lover.”[3] Indeed, as the term ‘Apostle’ indicates, Martí transcended the individual categories of poet, writer or revolutionary and he was instead elevated to an altogether different status. “For us,” writes Cuban poet Cintio Vittier, “Martí is our teacher, or Maestro, with a capital letter. In schools he is presented as a model to children and young people… It is unforgivable to try to confine knowledge about him to any group of specialists.”[4]

While Martí’s impact on the 1959 Cuban revolution is hard to overstate, his studies on education have by comparison been underappreciated, particularly in Western radicalism. Highlighting the importance of his project, Argentine pedagogue, Ricardo Nassif, suggests that Martí’s work encompassed “the most advanced ideas of his time” but also “in the context of Latin American history his thought anticipates the future.” From the historic literacy campaign (1960-61) to the integration of mental and manual labour, the pedagogical works contained in On Education (1979) carry the seeds of what would become revolutionary education in Marxist-Leninist Cuba.

The book’s editor, Philip Foner, deserves some mention. Described in his FBI file as “quiet but eccentric with a slightly gruff manner”,[5] Foner, much like Martí, was no stranger to the machinations of American state surveillance. After being removed from his university job in 1941 during the Rapp-Coudert purge of communist influences in American education, Foner proceeded to become a prolific Marxist historian, editing and writing over 100 books.[6]

Foner divided On Education over two distinct but related chapters. The first presents Martí’s reflections, criticisms, and proscriptions on education, with the second containing a selection of his writings for children from the magazine La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age)[7]. This review follows a similar model by first addressing Martí’s work on education across the two main phases of his life (Cuba to Guatemala (1853 -1878) and New York (1879-1895)) followed by a consideration of The Golden Age both in the context of the late nineteenth century and its legacy through the 1959 Cuban revolution.

It is important to note that the book’s editorial focus on pedagogy does not circumscribe Martí’s broader philosophical vision. To be sure, in his preface Foner notes that On Education was the third volume in a four-volume series dedicated to a “truly remarkable figure in world history”.[8][9] On Education must therefore be considered as one component of Martí’s extensive corpus. As such, this review will not confine Martí to the contents of the book solely, but rather seeks to comprehend his thoughts on education as “a linchpin… of a project for the Republic.”[10] Such a perspective necessitates a reflection on the patterns of Martí’s extraordinary life, one that would not be out of place in the Homeric epics he so admired.

A Latin American Odyssey

José Julián Martí Pérez was born in Havana on the 28th of January 1853. After leaving the Spanish military as a Sergeant, his father, Mariano Martí y Navarro, remained in Cuba with his wife, Leonor Pérez y Cabera. Together, they had their son José and seven daughters.

Martí became aware of injustice from a young age. On a sojourn with his father aged 9, Martí saw “the unloading of a cargo of degraded human beings and a dead African hanging from a Seibo tree.”[11] This experience left an indelible mark on the young boy, who documented it three decades later in his poem XXX:[12]

A child saw it: he trembled
With passion for those who groan;
And, at the foot of the dead, he swore
to wash away the crime with his blood!

Following the American Civil War, Martí started to discuss abolition with his eventual lifelong friend and future Cuban revolutionary, Fermín Valdés Domínguez.[13] Although the intellectual capacities of the young Martí were clear to all around him, his father thought education a pointless luxury[14] and that his son should work with him instead.[15] José was consequently forced to quit primary school to work in a food shop to supplement the family income.[16] This all changed in 1865, however, when Martí was enrolled in Havana’s Municipal School for Boys after his mother sought financial assistance from his godfather. [17] A decision that would prove fateful.

On Education contains Martí’s 1891 biographical sketch of the school’s principal, the revolutionary poet and journalist Rafael María de Mendive, who first encountered the young Martí while he was translating ‘A Mystery’ by Lord Byron.[18] Under Mendive,[19] Martí won numerous academic prizes and began to devour books on liberation philosophy, a great source of despair for his parents who “more or less approved of the colonial government”.[20] Perhaps sensing these growing familial ruptures, Martí discovered in Mendive (and his wife Micaela) not only a like-minded rebel, but, more importantly, a spiritual family that inspired, cultivated, and supported his burgeoning revolutionary tendencies.[21] His 1891 sketch attests as such, as he outlines Mendive’s unyielding kindness while passionately recalling how he would tremble with rage “talking of those who died upon the Cuban scaffold.”[22]

1869 was a major flashpoint. Mendive was imprisoned for conspiracy against Spain and his school was closed down. Galvanised by daily visits to his mentor’s cell, Martí promised Mendive’s wife that “he would take revenge on their enemies”[23] and published his first revolutionary poem 10 de octubre.[24] The poem’s opening line, “It is not a dream, it is real: A cry of war”, foreshadowed the coming months, for in October that year Martí and Valdés Domínguez were accused of treason after a letter was found at Martí’s home denouncing Spanish rule in Cuba. Martí took sole responsibility, thus incurring the more severe punishment and was sentenced to six years hard labour in the stone quarries of San Lázaro, Havana. A sentence that “determined not only his imprisonment, but also, in a sense, his whole life.”[25]

While Martí’s sentence was commuted to exile in Spain after six months,[26] the short experience had left Martí “physically disabled, half blind and suffering a hernia caused by a blow from a chain”.[27] Shortly upon arriving in Spain he was further diagnosed with sarcoidosis and suffered with a sarcocele in his testicle caused by friction from his prison chains.[28] Despite these circumstances, and somewhat anticipating the lessons of Huey Newton’s revolutionary suicide, a letter to his mother from prison reveals a defiant, if tragic, optimism: “I am sorry to be behind bars,” Martí writes, “but my imprisonment is very useful to me. It has given me plenty of lessons for life, which I foresee will be short.”[29] Prophesising the island’s future transformation, Martí tasked his friend, Agustín de Zéndegui, to have his prison chain forged into a ring engraved with one word: Cuba.[30]

During his Spanish exile (1871-1874), Martí remained active in promoting Cuban independence, penning his first major work Political Prison in Cuba (1871), and even being the first to fly a Cuban flag in Madrid.[31] In 1874, Martí left Spain for a brief stay in France (where he met Victor Hugo), then England, New York, before eventually reaching Mexico in 1875 where he reunited with his family and their new neighbour, Manuel Mercado.[32]

Martí then moved to Guatemala in 1877 to teach history and literature at the Normal School,[33] directed by fellow Cuban, Don José María Izaguirre.[34] Taken from his 1878 memoir Guatemala, On Education includes two articles that display Martí’s first comprehensive thoughts on education. Outlining a broad philosophy for a transformative education, his six-point treatise in Popular Education and his short essay Education for the Masses signalled his first assault on the scholasticism and formalism that he saw dominating Latin American education and alienating its students. “Education is like a tree,” he concludes, “a seed is sown and it bursts into many branches… whoever plants schools will harvest men.”[35]

After resigning from his teaching position in solidarity with Izaguirre,[36] Martí returned to Cuba to participate in La Guerra Chiquita (The Little War, 1879-1880). During this unsuccessful uprising, Martí was arrested and once again exiled to Spain. This time, however, taking advantage of the “relaxed vigilance during celebrations surrounding King Alfonso XII’s wedding to María Christina of Austria”, Martí escaped to New York where he was welcomed by his former Cuban rebel inmate, Miguel Fernández Ledesma.[37]

New York: The Great Work

Martí’s revolutionary activity was primarily conducted from New York and, as such, is accurately characterised by biographer Alfred J. Lopez[38] as ‘the great work’. With the majority of On Education being written or published there, his educational writings warrant the same label. Spanning themes such as manual work, schools of science, agriculture, and the education of women, Marti had moved beyond the opening remarks found in Guatemala (1878) and articulated a more advanced set of proscriptions based on his observations in the United States.

Denouncing school programs as “stale and musty”, Martí argues in his 1883 article The New School that “the new world requires the new school.”[39] Though this was just a short composition, Martí subjected US schooling to a more thorough critique in 1886 in A False Concept of Public Education. Here, Martí asks, “What radical structural defects of the system are discovered by observing it?” Although US schools outwardly appeared beautiful and elegant, Martí argues that they had in fact “become workshops for memorizing where children languish year after year in sterile spelling lessons, maps, and calculations”.

“By heart!” he admonishes, “That is how they shave intellects like heads. That is how they suffocate children from childhood” and “turn out dull and indifferent children”.[40]

Martí’s critiques transcended academic diagnoses, however, and he began establishing pedagogical principles that were, for him, more consistent with the natural rhythms of life. “The remedy,” he suggests, “lies in courageously changing primary instruction from verbal to experimental, from rhetorical to scientific; in teaching the child the ABC of words at the same time as the ABC of Nature.” [41] Perhaps counterintuitively, Martí found much inspiration for this radical view from the US itself.

Due to a nascent movement for agricultural education, the late nineteenth century saw the establishment of agricultural schools[42] across the US.[43] Martí took a keen interest in the proliferation of these institutions, and, paying close attention to how they operated, they provided fertile ground for the evolution of his pedagogical outlook. Although On Education contains several pieces on the subject, the 1883 article Manual Work in the Schools offers the most succinct appraisal of agricultural education. Martí was impressed with the reports from the agricultural schools which, instead of prioritising the “theoretical laws of farming”, emphasised acquiring a deeper and more practical knowledge of the land in order to manage it. For, “[i]t is clearly the land which, at first hand and with inimitable geniality, teaches lessons that are always learned in a confused form from books and professors.”[44]

One school in North Carolina stood out for Martí as a model for agricultural education. There, studies were directed towards applying different methods for planting and preparing soil, comparing fertilizers, and caring for animals, plants, and local forests. The students further learnt mechanical skills in practical and systematic ways, a practice he also saw in Honduras,[45] where parts of the plow were never described except when students could see it operating. “This application of an inquiring intelligence to a responsive nature,” he writes, “is something we should want for all the new countries of America.”[46] While agricultural education was only available to young adults, Martí extended its application, believing that behind every school there should be “an agricultural laboratory, open to rain and sun, where each student could plant his own tree… The fruits of life do not spring from dry and merely lineal tests, no, indeed.”[47]

Martí’s view that education should integrate socially productive work with manual labour is consistent with that of Marx and Lenin, whose brief statements on education demonstrate their understanding of it as a vehicle for resolving the contradiction between mental and manual labour. “We consider the tendency of modern industry to make children and juvenile persons of both sexes co-operate in the great work of social production,” wrote Marx in 1866, “as a progressive, sound and legitimate tendency, although under capital it was distorted into an abomination.” Lenin similarly noted that education should be tackled “in such a way that every day, in every village and city, the young people shall engage in the practical solution of some problem of labour in common, even though the smallest or the simplest.” The task of formulating a comprehensive theory of Marxist-Leninist education fell to the Soviet pedagogue Nadezhda Krupskaya, who attempted to prefigure communist education by analysing European and American schooling in her book Public Education and Democracy (1915). But whereas Krupskaya tended to stress manual work, Martí took a more holistic approach.

For Martí, although agricultural work laid the basis for education, it could not be reduced to it. The school also had to engender a rich cultural life. Farmers’ children learning about Horace and Virgil, hotel employees studying Goethe and Ibsen, spontaneous poetry recitations and choral singing, casual discussions on Grecian architecture, and women carrying their notebooks, novels, and watercolours. These are just a handful of Martí’s observations from the free school of Chautauqua,[48] which he alternatively labels Chautauqua: The University of the Poor in the title of his 1890 article.[49] Combining the agricultural and cultural, the new school he envisioned would be more in tune with life itself: “Since man’s destiny is life, education must prepare him for living… the pen should be used in schools during the afternoon; but during the morning the hoe.”[50]

Martí’s extensive and productive dialogue with American education should not, however, be mistaken for support. Far from being even a radical reformist, Martí’s vision instead posed a direct challenge to mainstream pedagogical thinking. His purpose was not to transpose American education onto the Latin American context, but rather, as Foner notes, “to borrow the best in the educational systems of the “Other America,” and develop a system of education for Latin America suited to its own national character.”[51]

Martí’s time in New York wasn’t confined to writing. His part in establishing the “school for revolutionaries” was one example of his wider political organising that subjected him to increased surveillance from the Pinkerton Detective Agency. In the late nineteenth century, racism from white Cuban exiles was widespread across the Cuban diaspora, and it was in this context that the Afro-Cuban exile, Rafael Serra, enlisted the help of Martí to organise and teach at La Liga de Instrucción (The League).[52] Located at 74 West Third Street near Washington Square[53], The League was the product of a well-established “collective of black Cuban and Puerto Rican thinkers, writers, and activists,” whose purpose was to “elevate the character of men of color born in Cuba and Puerto Rico.”[54] Two articles from On Education (Mondays at “The League” and A Beautiful Night at “The League”) illustrate the enchanting atmosphere created at the club. On the one hand there was the teaching of “lively arithmetic”, a grammarian and handwriting station, a “question table” where a teacher would answer unsigned queries, and all set against the backdrop of a large community library. On the other there was music, poetry, and “ice cream and Creole sweets”, for “friendship is a certain cure for every sorrow.”[55]

While the League’s membership was predominantly male, it was open to everyone, and Mondays were set aside for families. Amongst the vibrant activities there, it is clear that Martí was struck by the presence of children, who could be seen studying, singing, and “like a bird having its wings sharpened”, reciting stories in rhymes.[56] Children were important to him, and nowhere is this more apparent than his publication of the magazine for children, La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age).

Children are the Hope of the World

We are working for the children because they are the ones who know how to love, because they are the hope of the world. And we want them to love us and look upon us as close to their hearts.[57]

Incorporating fairy tales, stories, poems, and historical sketches, the second part of On Education comprises twelve excerpts from Martí’s children’s magazine entitled The Golden Age. First published in 1889 and written exclusively by Martí, The Golden Age only produced four monthly issues before it was discontinued after a dispute between Martí and his financial backer, A. De Costa Gomez.[58] Even though short-lived, the magazine left behind a powerful legacy. Spanish educator Herminio Almendros argues that:

The writings of Marti for The Golden Age are the most truthful ever published in Spanish for children and young people. In the general climate of untruth and bias in which children’s books have flourished, The Golden Age, so frank and human, is like a miracle.[59]

The stated purpose of the magazine was “so [Latin] American boys and girls can know how people lived before and how they live now, in both America and other lands.”[60] But it was far more than that. Recognising their intellectual and spiritual autonomy, The Golden Age should be considered as Martí’s invitation to the youth to join the circle of revolutionary actors, as equals in the struggle for Cuban independence. In doing so, Martí joins a unique set of revolutionaries-cum-children’s authors that includes figures such as Walter Rodney and Ghassan Kanafani. The following illuminates a selection of Martí’s works for children found in On Education.

From one of the most well know children’s poems in Cuba, Los Zapaticos de Rosa (The Rose-Coloured Slippers), to a detailed account of the Industrial Exposition in Paris in The Paris Exposition, the writings for children were as wide-ranging as Martí’s work for adults. His historical sketch of Homer’s Iliad presents not only a simple (though not simplified) summary of the epic poem, but also historical context to the author(s) and the cultural roots from which the piece evolved. Martí also advises his readers which English, German, Greek, French, or Castilian translations were the best to read, implying both his own linguistic range but also a commitment to the accessibility of a broad readership.

Many of the stories were also infused with anti-imperialist messages. In An Excursion in the Land of the Annamese, Martí details the plight of the people of Annam (modern day Vietnam) and their exploitation by the French. “But the French come from another world,” he writes, “and know more about wars and ways of killing. Town by town, and waist-deep in blood, she has been robbing the Annamese of their country.” Somewhat prophetically, Martí quotes an Annamese as saying of the French colonisers: “Now they are our masters; but tomorrow, who knows!”[61] And he finishes his account of the Three Heroes (about the Latin American liberators Bolívar, San Martín, and Hidalgo), with these prescient words: “If men fight for their own ambitions, or to enslave other peoples… or to rob another nation of its lands – those men are not heroes, they are criminals.”[62]

The Argentine author and educator, Fryda Schultz de Mantovani, described these works in 1953 as “a soliloquy to sons and daughters: a voice which must not be lost in the wilderness.”[63] Serendipitously, that same year Fidel Castro referenced The Golden Age in his seminal speech History Will Absolve Me, in which he stated:

… the Apostle wrote in his book The Golden Age: ‘The man who abides by unjust laws and permits any man to trample and mistreat the country in which he was born is not an honorable man … In the world there must be a certain degree of honor just as there must be a certain amount of light.’

Only a couple of generations removed from Martí, Castro and the 26th of July Movement were almost very literally the children to whom The Golden Age is addressed. And instead of allowing Martí’s voice to get “lost in the wilderness”, he was reborn as the “intellectual author” of the Cuban revolution, for “he is alive; he has not died. His people are rebellious. His people are worthy. His people are faithful to his memory.”[64]

Cuban Apostle

“Martí’s words of today do not belong in a museum but in our struggle; they are our emblem, our battle flag.”, Che Guevara[65]

After seizing power in 1959, the revolutionary government’s top priority was the eradication of basic illiteracy, which concluded by 1961. The key to completing such an enormous task was the participation of 300,000 Cubans who travelled across the country to teach over 700,000 of their compatriots to read and write.[66] On Education reveals that such a vision was outlined by Martí as early as 1884 in his article Itinerant Teachers, in which he wrote: “In short, it is necessary to engage in a campaign of gentleness and knowledge, and give the farmers a body – not yet in existence – of missionary teachers.”[67] But this was not his only pedagogical prophesy.

In the wake of the literacy campaign, Cuban author and revolutionary, Juan Marinello, wrote of the new rural schools that, “there has evolved a coordination between intellectual work and manual labor, a permanent attention to the works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, and a tireless attention to the teachings of our José Martí.”[68] This consideration of the contradiction between mental and manual labour is a major theme throughout On Education, and while not an avowed Marxist (though he paid considerable deference to Marx), his pedagogical tenets were demonstrably compatible with the aims of the Marxist-Leninist government.

His elaboration of the mental/manual labour dichotomy is arguably one of the most rigorous of his time, and its extension into the cultural life of students in some ways even surpassed the pioneering work of early Soviet pedagogy. Killed aged 42 during the revolutionary uprising at Dos Ríos in 1895,[69] two decades before the Bolshevik revolution, the fact that Martí’s work finds such resonance with the most advanced pedagogical ideas of the 20th century is all the more impressive. Indeed, seventy years after his death, Che Guevara confirmed the realisation of Marti’s educational dream, when he wrote in 1965 that students had started to “do physical work during their vacations or along with their studies.”

The Educational Front

Paulo Freire made a distinction between ‘pedagogues of the revolution’ (those who lead by example) and ‘revolutionary pedagogues’ (educationists). For the extraordinary example they set, Guevara and Castro were, for him, the pedagogues of the Cuban revolution, but they were not revolutionary pedagogues. Resurrected under the 26th of July Movement, there is no doubt that Martí was a pedagogue of the revolution but was he a revolutionary pedagogue too? What makes On Education so remarkable is not only the clarity with which Martí articulates and prefigures a transformative education, but that he does so as a revolutionary, organiser, and perpetual exile. On Education illustrates that Martí could bridge Freire’s dichotomy, and it is this combination that makes him such a rare figure in revolutionary history and the book so valuable for organisers and educators alike.

In her preface to Public Education and Democracy (1915), Krupskaya wrote that “It was necessary to prepare for the moment when power would pass into the hands of the working class, it was necessary to prepare the educational front”.[70] On Education must be considered in this context, as a book oriented towards the future and laying the foundations for establishing such a front.

Alex Turrall is an independent researcher and primary school teacher.

The author wants to thank Brian for his assistance with translations and reviewing this piece so thoughtfully. And to Louis and Mahmoud, who continue to guide them with patience and integrity.

[1] José Martí, On Education: Articles on Educational Theory and Pedagogy and Writings for Children from The Age of Gold, ed. Philip Foner, trans. Elinor Randall (Monthly Review Press, 1979), 33.

[2] Ibid., 31.

[3] Vasily Sukhomlinsky, V. Sukhomlinsky On Education, trans. Katherine Judelson (Progress Publishers, 1977), 181.

[4] Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda, José Martí Cuban Apostle: Dialogue, ed. and trans. Richard L. Gage (I.B. Tauris, 2013), 20.

[5] This quote can be found on page 9 of the file.

[6] Foner’s written work includes the 10-volume study entitled History of the Labor Movement in the United States (1947-1994); Frederick Douglass: A Biography (1964); and 2 Volumes of A History of Cuba and its Relations with the United States (1962-1963). His edited works include The Black Panthers Speak (1970); Paul Robeson Speaks: Writings, Speeches, Interviews, 1918–1974 (1978); Clara Zetkin: Selected Writings (1984); and 8 volumes of The Black Worker: A Documentary History from Colonial Times to the Present (1978-1984).

[7] This is translated as ‘The Age of Gold’ in the book.

[8] Martí, On Education, 9.

[9]  This series included Inside the Monster (1975), Our America (1977), On Education (1979), and On Art and Literature (1982). Philip Foner also edited the bilingual volume of Martí’s poetry, José Martí: Major Poems, in 1982.

[10] Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda, José Martí Cuban Apostle, 96.

[11] Pamela Barnett, The Moral and Ethical Formation of José Martí, 2012.

[12] A poem from Versos Sencillos (1891).

[13] Rafael Lecuona, “José Martí and Fidel Castro”, International Journal on World Peace, Vol. 8, No. 1 (March 1991), 48.

[14] José Martí, Major Poems: A Bilingual Edition, ed. Philip Foner, trans. Elinor Randall (Holmes and Meier, 1982), 1.

[15] Rafael Lecuona, “José Martí and Fidel Castro”, 48.

[16] Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda, José Martí Cuban Apostle, 14.

[17] José Martí, Major Poems, 1.

[18] Alfred J. López, José Martí: A Revolutionary Life (University of Texas Press, 2014), 32.

[19] Martí moved to the Colegio de San Pablo in 1867 which was also under the leadership of Mendive.

[20] Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda, José Martí Cuban Apostle, 14.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Martí, On Education, 46.

[23] Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda, José Martí Cuban Apostle, 19.

[24] Alfred J. López, A Revolutionary Life, 46.

[25] Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda, José Martí Cuban Apostle, 22.

[26] Details of this sentence are provided here as many accounts either lack detail or skip over what was a highly unusual procedure. After an early visit facilitated by a network of Spanish officials from his military days, his father Mariano was left devastated at the physical condition in which he found his son and asked his old friend and owner of the quarry, José María Sardá y Ginorella, to commute the sentence. Upon discovering that Martí was becoming blind from the sun and limestone dust and had suffered a hernia from a chain blow, Sardá appealed to Antonio Caballero de Rodas (then captain-general), for a transfer to a less harsh work environment. Due to this intervention and alongside a series of desperate letters from his mother Leonor, the transfer was eventually accepted and Martí moved to the cigar factory within the prison. 6 weeks after this transfer, he was then exiled to Sardá’s ‘Al Abra’ timber plantation on the Isla de Pinos where he was placed under house arrest for 2 months with Sardá’s family. Concurrently, Leonor wrote a letter to the Spanish authorities on the 6th December 1870 asking that Martí be exiled to Spain “where he may overcome earlier difficulties.” This exile to Isla de Pinos allowed him to recover before his exile to Spain and no doubt saved his life. For details of Martí’s trial, incarceration, and exile see Alfred J. López, José Martí: A Revolutionary Life, 50-65.

[27] Geoff Simons, Cuba: From Conquistador to Castro (Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), 144.

[28] Alfred J. López, A Revolutionary Life, 75.

[29] Jon Sterngrass, José Martí (Chelsea House Publishers, 2006).

[30] Cintio Vitier and Daisaku Ikeda, José Martí Cuban Apostle, 38.

[31] Elizabeth Horan. (2010). “Whose José Martí?”, American Quarterly, March 2010, Vol. 62, No. 1 (March 2010), 182.

[32] Alfred J. López, A Revolutionary Life, 102; Manuel Mercado (1838-1909) was a close friend of Martí and was the recipient of his unfinished final letter written from Dos Ríos camp a day before Martí’s death.

[33] The Normal School was a teacher-training institute in Guatemala City.

[34] Martí, On Education, 11-12.

[35] Ibid., 69.

[36] Izaguirre was forced to resign during a period of political instability. See: Alfred J. López, A Revolutionary Life, 174.

[37] Alfred J. López, José Martí: A Revolutionary Life (2014), 187-195.

[38] While an anti-Castro and anti-communist liberal, López offers the most thoroughly researched biography available in the English language.

[39] Martí, On Education, 99.

[40] Ibid., 77.

[41] Ibid., 78-79.

[42] School here refers to a college or university for adolescents and young adults rather than a school for young children.

[43] Cathy McNeely Sutphin. (1999). ‘History of Virginia Congressional District Agricultural High Schools’, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, 28.

[44] Martí, On Education, 132.

[45] This observation can be found in the article Man and the Land in Martí, On Education, 89-90.

[46] Martí, On Education, 135.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Growing out of the earlier lyceum movement, the Chautauqua movement started in 1874 as Sunday-school teachers’ assembly and was organised by bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, John Heyl Vincent (1832-1920). In 1878, it started to establish Chautauqua Literacy, Scientific, and local circles. Eminent scholars were invited to its summer classes which were, in turn, attended by large audiences.

[49] Martí, On Education, 151-159.

[50] Martí, On Education, 24.

[51] Ibid., 23.

[52] For a critical analysis of the League and Martí’s participation in it see Nancy Raquel Mirabal. Suspect Freedoms: The racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1823-1957, (New York University Press, 2017), 97-138.

[53] There is some confusion about the exact location. Martí locates The League at 72 East Third Street, but an invite from 1899 locates it at 74 West Third Street. See Nancy Raquel Mirabal. Suspect Freedoms, 113.

[54] Nancy Raquel Mirabal, Suspect Freedoms, 112-115.

[55] Martí, On Education, 189-190.

[56] Ibid., 190.

[57] Ibid., 198.

[58] Ibid., 27.

[59] Ibid., 30.

[60] Ibid., 197.

[61] Ibid., 220-226.

[62] Ibid., 206.

[63] Ibid., 30-31.

[64] Fidel Castro. (1953). History Will Absolve Me.

[65] Lidia Turner Martí, Notes on Ernesto Che Guevara’s Ideas on Pedagogy (Fernwood Publishing 2014), 36.

[66] Helen Yaffe, Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 77.

[67] Martí, On Education, 40.

[68] Martí, On Education, 33.

[69] After ignoring the instructions of General Máximo Gómez to return to the rear-guard, Martí advanced with a small contingent of men and was shot 3 times in a skirmish with Spanish soldiers.

[70] Authors translation; This quote is in the preface to the fourth edition.

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