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Published: March 08, 2016

UT-USF Conference on Jose Marti to Open with Ceremony and Keynote Address By E.J. Salcines

Cuban patriot, intellectual, poet and writer José Martí, who has a deep and indelible connection to the city of Tampa and Ybor City, will be celebrated at a ceremony and presentation on Thursday, April 14, at 6 p.m. at the Cuban Club in Ybor City.

The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will feature a keynote address by the Honorable E.J. Salcines, a retired judge in the Florida Second District Court of Appeals, an authority on Florida history and one of Tampa’s most revered community leaders. Salcines will speak on “The Pueblo Fiel: José Martí’s 20 Visits to Tampa, 1891-1894.”

Martí is the namesake of José Martí Park on Eighth Avenue in Ybor City, which is a 0.14-acre plot of land that has been owned by the Cuban government since 1956. Martí did much of his planning and fundraising for his movement for Cuban independence in the late 19th century in Ybor City, which he called his "faithful little town." Martí died in the Cuban War of Independence in 1895.

The ceremony will also include remarks from local dignitaries. More information can be found at

In addition to celebrating Martí and Tampa, the ceremony will also kick off the first UT-USF International Conference on José Martí. The conference includes scholars from around the country and Cuba, presenting topics as diverse as Martí in literature, art and criticism, Tampa’s role in the Cuban movement for independence and the decontinentalization of Latin America.

The conference runs Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16, at the USF campus on Friday and the UT campus on Saturday. More information about the conference, including free registration, can also be found at

Saturday’s conference at The University of Tampa will also serve to inaugurate UT as the first U.S. affiliate of the Center for José Martí Studies (Centro de Estudios Martianos) in Havana. The Center for José Martí Studies (CEM) is an accredited research institution under the Ministry of Culture in Cuba whose mission is to promote the life, work and thought of Cuba’s greatest hero, José Martí. Since 1977 CEM has sponsored graduate research, academic conferences, published scholarly work through its academic journal Anuario and publishing house, and overseen the editing and printing of Martí’s collected works. There are currently 36 CEM affiliates worldwide, but none in the U.S. This affiliation will allow academic exchange opportunities that will be beneficial to UT and USF students and faculty as well as the larger Tampa Bay community. For more information, visit the CEM website

The ceremony and conference are sponsored by The University of Tampa and the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean at the University of South Florida (ISLAC).

The Martí ceremony and conference is preceded at UT’s Scarfone/Hartley Gallery with an art exhibit — currently running though March 18 — featuring seven of the most renowned and provocative contemporary Cuban artists. The exhibit is designed to reflect the everyday concerns that weigh upon the Cuban community, especially focusing on the problems Cuban society faces as it moves toward the future. More about the exhibit can be found at

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