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Patria: Puerto Rican Revolutionary Exiles in Late Nineteenth Century New York


Puerto Rican Revolutionary Exiles in Late Nineteenth Century New York

by Edgardo Meléndez

Published 2020

309 pages; map, notes, references, index; 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-945662-28-7 (paperback)

LCCN: 2018052581

Price: $25.00 paperback


About this book

Patria: Puerto Rican Revolutionary Exiles in Late Nineteenth Century New York examines the activities and ideals of Puerto Rican revolutionary exiles in New York City at the end of the nineteenth century. The study is centered in the writings, news reports, and announcements by and about Puerto Ricans in Patria, the official newspaper of the Cuban Revolutionary Party. Both were founded and led by the Cuban patriot José Martí. The book looks at the political, organizational and ideological ties between Cuban and Puerto Rican revolutionaries in exile, as well as the events surrounding the war of 1898. It argues that what became major underpinnings of twentieth century Puerto Rico’s nationalist thought were already present in the writings of Puerto Ricans found in Patria. The newspaper also offers a glimpse into the daily life and community of Puerto Rican exiles in late nineteenth century New York City. All of the writings in Patria about Puerto Rico are presented in their full English translation. Finally, the book presents a historical overview of how the Puerto Rican exile community living in the city developed at that time.


Table of Contents



Part I

Chapter 1: “Cuba and Puerto Rico are like the two wings of a bird…”: The Cuban Revolutionary Party and Puerto Rico

Chapter 2: The Presence of Puerto Rico in Patria

Chapter 3: En Nueva York: Cuban and Puerto Rican  Economic and Political Links to New York City During the Nineteenth Century

Chapter 4: The Cuban and Puerto Rican Late Nineteenth Century Exile Community in New York City as Represented in Patria

Part II: Documents

Section 1:  El Partido Revolucionario Cubano

“Platform of the Partido Revolucionario Cubano,” #1, March 14, 1892

José Martí, “Club Borinquen Session,” #1, March 14, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “At the Ratification” #2, March 19, 1892

José Martí, “Borinquen to Patria,” #4, April 3, 1892

“Patriotic Club Borinquen,” #5, April 10, 1892

José Martí, “Benevolent Words,” #6, April 16, 1892

José Martí, “The Proclamation,” #6, April 16, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “Speeches at the Confirmation of the Proclamation of the Partido Revolucionario Cubano,” #7, April 23, 1892

José Martí, “Club Borinquen and Betances,” #13, June 4, 1892

José Martí, “Our Newspapers,” #14, June 11, 1892

“Borinquen: Antillean Political Club,” #30, October 1, 1892

José Martí, “Club Mercedes Varona,” #34, November 1, 1892

“Sotero Figueroa” (Speech), #48, February 4, 1893

“Communication from Sotero Figueroa to José Martí,” #57, April 16, 1893

“Sotero Figueroa” (Speech), #60, April 29, 1893

“The Honorable Sotero Figueroa” (Speech), #82, October 14, 1893

José Martí, “Patriotic Banquet of Club Las Dos Antillas,” #87, November 21, 1893

José Martí, “Club Borinquen,” #108, April 17, 1894

Sotero Figueroa, “Declarations,” #118, June 30, 1894

“Club Borinquen,” #141, December 15, 1894

“Meeting Announcement from Club Borinquen,” #151, March 4, 1895

“Puerto Rico,” #153, March 18, 1895

“Notes from the Clubs of Puerto Rico,” #166, June 17, 1895

“Hermanas de Betances,” #189, October 23, 1895

Gumersindo Rivas, “Speech by Mr. Rivas,” #191, October 30, 1895

“In Paris,” #215, January 22, 1896

“Club Mercedes Varona,” #216, January 25, 1896

“Hermanas de Rius Rivera,” #326, February 13, 1897

“New Newspaper,” #428, February 5, 1898

Section 2: The Independence of Puerto Rico

Club Borinquen, “To the People of Puerto Rico” #1, March 14 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “The Truth about History, I,” #2, March 19, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “The Truth about History, II,” #4, April 3, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “The Truth about History, III,” #6, April 16, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “The Truth about History, IV,” #11, May 21, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “The Truth about History, V,” #14, June 11, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, “The Truth about History, VI,” #17, July 2, 1892

Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “A Slap in the Face,” #3, March 26, 1892

José Martí, “Facts and Ideas” #4, April 3, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, Antonio Vélez Alvarado, Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “Let Us Have a Discussion (To the Puerto Rican Press),” #9, May 7, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, Antonio Vélez Alvarado, Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “Domination and Independence, I,” #19, July 16, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, Antonio Vélez Alvarado, Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “Domination and Independence, II,” #22, August 6, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, Antonio Vélez Alvarado, Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “Domination and Independence, III,” #24, August 20, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, Antonio Vélez Alvarado, Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “Domination and Independence, IV,” #28, September 17, 1892

Sotero Figueroa, Antonio Vélez Alvarado, Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “Domination and Independence, V,” #29, September 24, 1892

Antonio Vélez Alvarado, “The Puerto Rican Anthem,” #26, September 3, 1892

“For Puerto Rico,” #117, June 23, 1894  

“For Puerto Rico,” #122, July 28, 1894  

“Agitation in Puerto Rico,” #140, December 8, 1894

“For Puerto Rico” #160, May 4, 1895

Section 3: Martí and Puerto Rico

José Martí, “The Antilles and Baldorioty Castro,” #10, May 14, 1892

José Martí, “‘¡Vengo a darte patria!’: Puerto Rico and Cuba,” #53, March 14, 1893

José Martí, “March 22, 1873: The Abolition of Slavery in Puerto Rico,” #55, April 1, 1893

José Martí, “Poverty and Patria,” #75, August 19, 1893

José Martí, “The Revolution in Puerto Rico,” #93, January 6, 1894

José Martí, “The Third Year of the Partido Revolucionario Cubano: The Soul of the Revolution and Cuba´s Duty in the Americas,” #108, April 17, 1894

José Martí, “Old and New History: Salvador Brau’s Historia de Puerto Rico.” #75, January 26, 1895

Section 4: Martí’s Legacy

Sotero Figueroa, “Immortal!,” #167, June 25, 1895

J.M. Terreforte, “Our Brother,” #167, June 25, 1895

“The Clubs: Club Borinquen,” #167, June 25, 1895

Sotero Figueroa, “Inaugural Meeting,” #171, July 20, 1895

Sotero Figueroa, “Club Los Independientes to José Martí,” #171, July 20, 1895

Section 5: Puerto Ricans

José Martí, “The Poet Marín,” #7, April 23, 1892

José Martí, “Ana Otero” #24, August 20, 1892

Betances, “The Voice of a Patriot,” #31, October 8, 1892

José Martí, “Ana Otero, February 3,” #46, January 21, 1893

José Martí, “Ana Otero’s Concert,” #47, January 28, 1893

Betances, “With the Revolution,” #79, September 23, 1893

“José de Celis Aguilera,” #94, January 16, 1894

José Martí, “Farewell to a Sister,” #101, March 2, 1894

“Puerto Rican Revolutionaries,” #126, August 25, 1894

José Martí, “The Figueroa Press,” #128, September 8, 1894

Betances, “To Puerto Ricans,” #160, May 4, 1895

“The Forrest Incident,” #173, August 3, 1895

“Cuba in Paris,” #232, March 21, 1896

Francisco Gonzalo Marín, “Wenceslao Tomás Marín,” #256, June 13, 1896

“Rius Rivera,” #340, April 3, 1897

Eusebio Blasco, “Betances,” #495, September 28, 1898

Lola Rodríguez de Tió, “October 10!” #499, October 12, 1898

“In Honor of General Rius Rivera,” #522, December 31, 1898

Section 6: The War

“Puerto Rico,” #342, April 10, 1897

“The Yauco Rebellion,” #343, April 14, 1897

“In Puerto Rico,” #388, September 18, 1897

“The Only Solution,” #395, October 13, 1897

Betances, “From Paris,” #420, January 8, 1898

“The Situation in Puerto Rico,” #469, June 29, 1898

“The News,” #476, July 23, 1898

”The News,” #478, July 30, 1898

”The News,” #479, August 3, 1898

“Lesson from Puerto Rico,” #480, August 6, 1898

“A Little Bit of Everything,” (Dissolution of the SPR), #480, August 6, 1898

Eugenio María de Hostos, “Liga de Patriotas Puertorriqueños,” #490, September 10, 1898



Appendix: Documents listed in chronological order according to publication date


About the Author

Edgardo Meléndez is Professor in the Department of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College. He also taught for many years in the Department of Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. Among his publications are: Sponsored Migration: The State and Postwar Puerto Rican Migration to the United States (The Ohio State University Press, 2017); Puerto Rican Government and Politics: A Comprehensive Bibliography (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000), awarded the 2000 Outstanding Academic Title by Choice; Partidos, política pública y status en Puerto Rico (Ediciones Nueva Aurora, 1998); Puerto Rico en "Patria" (Editorial Edil, 1996); Movimiento anexionista en Puerto Rico (University of Puerto Rico Press, 1993); and Puerto Rico's Statehood Movement (Greenwood Press, 1988). More...

He is coeditor with Edwin Meléndez of Colonial Dilemma: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Puerto Rico (South End Press, 1993); and coeditor with Charles Venator-Santiago of the Special issue of Centro Journal “U.S. Citizenship in Puerto Rico: One Hundred Years After the Jones Act” (Spring 2017). He has also published in several academic journals, including CENTRO Journal, Revista de ftlineCiencias Sociales (Puerto Rico), Homines (Puerto Rico), Revista de Administración Pública (Puerto Rico), and Radical America, among others. He is currently working on issues related to Puerto Rican migration, political incorporation, and citizenship. His forthcoming book is tentatively titled “The Puerto Rican Problem in New York City, 1945-1960: Migration and Incorporation from the Periphery of the American Empire.”




…la labor de Meléndez es rigurosa y nos ayuda grandemente a entender mejor la historia de los antillanos en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX en Nueva York.… Uno de los rasgos más destacados de ese retrato de esta comunidad en el siglo XIX es la división de clases: obreros y profesionales. Meléndez hasta marca la presencia física –viviendas y negocios – de esos puertorriqueños en la ciudad y esto le sirve para ilustrar mejor esta división. No me cabe la menor duda de que tenemos en nuestras manos un excelente libro que hace un aporte importante a la construcción de la historia de los puertorriqueños en Nueva York. Hay que felicitar a Meléndez por su trabajo y la mejor forma de hacerlo es leyendo su libro. Efráin Barradas, 80grados More...

Este libro presenta un campo de estudio imprescindible para conocer los procesos políticos libertarios de nuestro país y su vinculación con los de Cuba. También hace accesibles a los angloparlantes los artículos de “Patria”, que constituyen una documentación importante. Carmen Dolores Hernández, El Nuevo Día

Slightly over two decades after unveiling and publishing the Spanish writings of late nineteenth century Puerto Rican separatist émigrés in New York City, Edgardo Meléndez builds upon his laudable original endeavor by introducing this invaluable collection to English-language readers. He substantially expands the scope of his analysis and contextualization of these documents and points to a rich legacy that illustrates the collective vision, fighting spirit, and courageous deeds of these patriots from diverse class, racial, and gender backgrounds, fighting for the liberation of Cuba and Puerto Rico. But most of all, he underscores the importance of the émigré separatist movement in the bourgeoning of a distinctive Puerto Rican national consciousness, and in the building of a historical memory of anticolonial struggle and resistance for subsequent generations. Edna Acosta-Belén, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University at Albany, SUNY

Patria: Puerto Rican Revolutionary Exiles in Nineteenth Century New York, explodes the myth that Puerto Ricans were bit players in the Cuban liberation movement. In discourse and documentation, Meléndez probes the pages of pages of the newspaper to validate the New York Puerto Rican presence in the movement. The evidence multiplies as Patria reveals a saga of exiled visionaries united across class, color and gender lines in struggles to free their homeland. Accentuating the writings and deeds of expatriate thinkers, the author delves into the inner thoughts of luminaries, like Marín, Betances, Figueroa, and Martí. In so doing, Meléndez recovers an illustrious history unknown to current generations who themselves are searching for lost ancestries. Virginia Sánchez Korrol, Professor Emerita, Brooklyn College, CUNY