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Title of Course: Profiles In Black Mba Mbulu, Instructor

Textbook: None. Selected writings found online will constitute the textbook.

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Read the following information on Antonio Maceo. Relate the information to the following questions to the best of your ability.

(1) Antonio Maceo has the Revolutionary Plaza in Santiago, Cuba dedicated to him. What is Revolutionary Plaza and what does it mean to be so honored?
(2) Because of his battle field heroics, Maceo was called the Bronze Titan. What did Maceo do on the battle field that distinguished him from nearly everybody else?
(3) Was Maceo's contribution to the freedom of Cuba restricted to his battle field activities?
(4) Was Maceo just concerned about the plight of the slaves in Cuba?
(5) Maceo realized that Cubans should not be concerned about establishing a Cuban government until after the war had been won on the battlefield. Is that perspective relevant to the struggle of Black People in the United States?

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Class #16: ANTONIO MACEO

Soldier, Freedom Fighter, Theoretician, Publisher, Apostle of Cuban Independence

Every city in Cuba has a Revolutionary Plaza, an important area that honors Cuba's greatest freedom fighters. The one in Santiago is dedicated to Antonio Maceo, one of the two most important figures in Cuba's War of Independence against Spain (1868-1898).


Antonio Maceo was born in 1845. He grew up in Santiago de Cuba which, in 1850, was at least 70% Black. In addition to importing slaves from Africa, many Frenchmen from Haiti fled to Santiago with their slaves after the San Domingo Revolution (Haiti) exploded. The whites brought the coffee industry and riches for themselves and additional poverty for slaves and other Blacks. It is not surprising then that Santiago was one of the poorest places in Cuba, and only natural that it would be a hotbed of discontent. In fact, some say that Santiago de Cuba made the Cuban Revolution.


Antonio Maceo, all 6 ft. tall and 200 pounds of him, joined the War for Independence when he was 23 years old and quickly distinguished himself. After ten years of fighting, some Cubans signed a peace agreement (El Pacto de Zanjon) with Spain without consulting with Antonio Maceo and other independence leaders beforehand. Of them all, Maceo refused to accept the terms of the peace treaty because it did not recognize Cuba as independent and did not guarantee the end of slavery. Other Cuban leaders did not want to renege on the agreement because they were not as dedicated to those issues as Maceo was, but Maceo stood his ground, even after the Spaniards offered to pay him off. Maceo recognized that a true freedom fighter does not trade in principles for money. The Cuban War for Independence continued.


Maceo was called the Bronze Titan. The machete, which his father taught him to use as a weapon of war, was his favorite. He actually fought for 11 years and three months in more than 800 battles, was wounded 24 times and escaped at least four assassination attempts by white Cubans who feared he wanted to establish a Black nation in Cuba with himself as President. But Maceo had his priorities together; he realized that Cubans should not be concerned about establishing a Cuban government until after the war had been won on the battlefield.

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Maceo's bravery is the stuff legends are made of, and his name put fear in the hearts of the Spanish generals and soldiers who opposed him. He was known to continue fighting even after having been wounded, and eventually died on the battlefield.


Maceo was not only a soldier, he was also an intellectual with an international perspective. During the period when the rebels were too divided to continue the fight effectively, he re-published "El Cuban Libre" ("Free Cuba"), a daily newspaper that the original founder had stopped publishing. He also traveled trhoughout the Caribbean and parts of the United States in search of arms and finances in support of the Revolution. Even though his mother was the only teacher he had, Maceo spoke English and French in addition to his native Spanish.


In 1878 Maceo went to Jamaica and New York. His interest was an anti-slavery one, and he met with Henry Highland Garnet (Anti-Colonization Society), who organized a reception for him. Antonio Maceo was quite popular with Black People in the southern section of the United States. Southern Blacks, encouraged by Maceo, were naming their children after him and considering emigrating to Cuba to escape discrimination rather than going back to Africa, which was so far away.


In order to gain freedom, in order to liberate yourself and become self-governing, you must use the mind and spirit to engage in ideological warfare against your enemies, and you must use your mind, spirit and body to engage in physical warfare against your enemies. Both ideological and physical warfare are absolutely essential. Antonio Maceo realized that. For that reason, he thought as he did, felt as he did and fought as he did. For that reason, Antonio Maceo is a Profile In Black.

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