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date: 06 June 2020

Barbosa, José Celso locked

1857–1921 Afro–Puerto Rican doctor, politician, and legislator who struggled for the island's autonomy from Spain and defended the annexation to the United States after the Spanish-American War (1895–1898).
  • Mayda Grano de Oro

Extract

José Celso Barbosa played a key role in the politics of the Spanish-American War, denouncing the Creoles' political aspirations. At the same time, his involvement reflected the complexities and contradictions in race issues confronted by black Puerto Ricans at the time. Barbosa's achievements were not typical of blacks in Puerto Rico at the turn of the century. He represented the “self-made man” that came from humble origins. He had the opportunity to study at the only institution of secondary education on the island, thanks to the determination of his aunt. He completed his studies in the Jesuit seminary before going to the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, where he graduated in 1880. His experience in the United States made him an admirer of republican ideals for social equality and justice.

When Barbosa returned to Puerto Rico he started his medical practice and became a member ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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