The Majestic of Ybor City: The Cuban Revolution

CW: Discussion of race, chattel slavery, Jim Crow, and other forms of domination & isms.

Let’s talk about the Cuban revolution!

While the Italian Club and the Cuban Club buildings remain, they serve only as a vestige to Tampa’s mutual aid past. West Tampa, in particular, was known to be the home of the marginalized in Tampa. West Tampa itself was annexed as its own City at one point in time and it was Fortune Taylor, a Black woman who became wealthy after having been liberated from the horrifically violent chains of chattel slavery on this land, who was so fundamental to building a bridge between West Tampa and main Tampa, which helped save the cigar industry.

Via Wikipedia, an image of Circulo Cubano de Tampa, once a mutual aid and revolution hub in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida.

On January 1, 1891, Marti published an essay, “Nuestra America”.

The words sent a shockwave of inspiration across Cuban exiles throughout the Americas. Through his passages came connection and on November 26, 1891, the Cuban immigrants of Ybor City hosted Marti at Club Ignacio Agramonte to celebrate and fundraise for Cuban independence. [4]

Americans, Cubans, Italians all together, cheering for unity, and crying for the dream of liberty. [5]

The Cuban Revolutionary Party developed, for the first time, Cuban exiles of all sects organizing for one common cause. A march across town was declared as a march for:

a white statue of revolutionary Cuban organizer Jose Marti’ on top of a white block. Behind him is a painting of Cuba and the words Isla Cuba. The statue stands between an American flag and a Cuban flag.
Statue of Jose Marti’, in Jose Marti Park in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida. Via Bay News 9.

Marti had a passion for humanity.

He knew the Cuban identity was of its own and that it did not belong to Spanish colonialism. He abhorred slavery and knew racial harmony could only come with solidarity. His death in 1895 did not end the fight and the Cuban Revolutionary Party continued to build. Marti is largely credited with many fundamental roles in making the fight for Cuban independence a success.

While he may have been fundamental in this role in unifying, the takeaway from this story is not the words of one man but the actions of a unified community, fighting for a shared goal of freedom.

A fight for everyone instead of a battle for wealth, greed, and imperialism. Interdependence, and not independence, builds power. When we connect with one another, and when we build, a government is accountable to us, not the other way around. [5]

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Angel D’Angelo

Angel D’Angelo

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I’m not an expert or scholar on anything. I mainly write for me. If others see it, and love it, great :)