The topic for this book emerged from my relationship with
two individuals. The first, Jose Dolores Poyo, I knew only
through historical documents. Although I knew of him, "a
friend of Jose Marti," as family legend described him, only
research into my family history revealed to me the scope of his
thirty-year commitment to Cuban independence from Spain.
His life fascinated me, but he was not unique, and this caught
my attention even more. Indeed, during the late nineteenth
century entire communities of exiled Cubans in the United
States dedicated their resources to achieving Cuban indepen-
dence. The enduring quality and dynamics of this nationalist
fervor among Cubans piqued my curiosity and resulted in this
The second individual responsible for sending me on this
particular research adventure was my grandmother, Sergia Al-
varez y Rodriguez. Although she knew little about the content
of this book, her cubanidad, which she always expressed in innu-
merable ways, gave me a clue to what motivated Jose Dolores
Poyo for thirty years. Nana, as we affectionately called her, was
proud of being Cuban and she feared that those of us bornin the
United States would forget, would not care about her homeland.
She did not live to see the completion of this volume, but she
knew of its development and understood that it was her doing.
She would have been proud, and that is my greatest satisfaction.
Since this book began as a dissertation at the University of
Florida, its appearance owes a great deal to Professors Andres
Suarez, David Bushnell, and George Pozzetta who guided me
through that initial process. Rosa Mesa, at the University of
Florida's Latin American Collection, contributed more than she
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