A unique opportunity to visit a historic 19th century house on Governor’s Island and experience the lives and times of the people who touched and impacted José Martí during his many years of exile in New York City. Flanked by views of the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge, landmarks that would feature prominently in Martí’s writings, the 1855 home serves as the perfect setting to revisit his life and gain new insight into and appreciation for his lifelong struggle for Cuba’s freedom.
Today Governor’s Island is managed by the Trust For Governor’s Island and the National Park Service. And the house, occupied by military families until 1996, is kept open under the aegis of The Empire State Center for the Book, committed to the book in all formats, including the promotion of the culture of reading, literature, literacy, book arts, and book history throughout New York State. This weekend’s program aims to further widespread interest in José Martí, one of the greatest writers in the Spanish language and someone whose legacy to the City of New York cannot be underestimated.
Joining the roster of weekend presenters at the house will be NYU professor Ada Ferrer, who will place Martí in a historical context, referencing key events of his life in the city, such as the publication of Patria; Martí scholar and translator Esther Allen will shed light on the background of the iconic José Martí statue in Central Park, at the very end of the Avenue of the Americas; artist Geandy Pavón will share his vision of a wrinkled and hidden Martí; historian Jorge Domínguez will provide irrefutable evidence of where Martí spent his last months in Manhattan, before leaving for his fateful voyage to join the armed struggle for Cuba’s independence; fellow historian Raquel Vinat will introduce us to three exemplary Cuban women, all abolitionists and also exiles in New York City, whose lives intersected Martí’s and informed his mission; and Emma Otheguy, author of a children’s book, Martí’s Song for Freedom, who will help us share his legacy with new generations of New Yorkers.