Jose Marti, the United States, and Race

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A national hero in Cuba and a champion of independence across Latin America, Jose Marti produced a body of writing that has been theorized, criticized, and politicized. However, one of the most understudied aspects of his work is how his time in the United States affected what he wrote about race and his attitudes toward racial politics. In the United States Marti encountered European immigrants and the labor politics that accompanied them and became aware of the hardships experienced by Chinese workers. He read in newspapers and magazines about the oppression of Native Americans and the adversity faced by newly freed black citizens. Although he'd first witnessed the mistreatment of slaves in Cuba, it was in New York City, near the close of the century, where he penned his famous essay My Race, declaring that there was only one race, the human race. Anne Fountain argues that it was in the United States that Marti - confronted by the forces of manifest destiny, the influence of race in politics, the legacy of slavery, and the plight and promise of the black Cuban diaspora - fully engaged with the specter of racism. Examining Marti's complete works with a focus on key portions, Fountain reveals the evolution of his thinking on the topic, indicating the significance of his sources, providing a context for his writing, and offering a structure for his works on race.