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"Our America" (Excerpt)

Nuestra America/Our America, one of Martí's most important writings, first appeared in La Revista Ilustrada de Nueva York on Janurary 1, 1891, and on January 30 of that same year in El Partido Liberal of Mexico. Written as the Cuban Revolutionary Party was forming, Martí's article presents the ethical and political principles of the future Cuban Rebublic.

The scorn of our formidable neighbor, who does not know us, is Our America's greatest danger.  And since the day of the visit is near it is imperative that our neighbor knows us, and soon, so that it will not scorn us.  Through ignorance it might even come to lay hands on us.  Once it does know us, it will remove its hands out of respect.  One must have faith in the best in men and distrust the worst.  One must allow the best to be shown so that it reveals and prevails over the worst.  Nations should have a pillory for whoever stirs up useless hatred, and another for whoever fails to tell them the truth in time.

There can be no racial hatred, because there are no races.  Sickly, lamp-lit minds string together and rewarm the library-shelf races that the honest traveler and the cordial observer seek in vain in the justice of nature, where the universal identity of man leaps forth in victorious love and turbulent appetite.  The soul, equal and eternal, emanates from bodies that are diverse in form and color.  Anyone who promotes and disseminates opposition or hatred among races is committing a sin against humanity. 

Source | José Martí, "Our America," in José Martí: Selected Writings (New York: Penguin Classics, 2002).
Creator | José Martí
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | José Martí, “"Our America" (Excerpt),” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed July 21, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/515.

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