Before moving to New York, Figueroa’s first job as a writer in Puerto Rico was in Ramon Marín’s print shop, Establicimiento Tipográphico; there he wrote pieces for La Crónica and El Pueblo and acted as editor of these in Marín’s absence. Figueroa began a print shop, after moving to New York in 1889; Imprenta America would serve as the publishing house for revolutionary newspapers such as Jose Martí’s La Patria and El Porvernir. After the Cuban War of Independence, Figueroa moved to Cuba and often published articles in Cuban newspapers such as El Fígaro, La Discusíon, and La Gaceta. He died in 1923 and in 1977 his book, La Verdad De La Historia was published in Puerto Rico posthumously.
Ensayo Biográfico (Biographical Essay)
Months before he left Puerto Rico for the United States, Sotero began writing Ensayo Biográfico (Biographical Essay) in which there were biographical sketches of those “…who had most contributed to the progress of Puerto Rico.” This work offers a set of laudatory biographies that acknowledge the heroism of several Puerto Rican Creoles. In the Biographical Essays, there are also passages about race, castes, and slavery in Puerto Rico citing laws that make poor black men inferior. As a black man living in Puerto Rico, he often wrote about how unfairly he and his fellow men were treated. This Essay is the best known work of Figueroa.
Figueroa also wrote the zarzuela, “Don Mamerto” in 1886, which was presented at the Teatro La Perla in Ponce, Puerto Rico with music by the Ponce composer, Juan Morel Campos. This work was a scathing satire of those who betray their ideals because of political opportunism, or by being blinded by materialism or social aspirations.Emigration and Politics
Sotero Figueroa (3rd standing, L-to-R) shown with the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee in New York in 1895
Sotero Figueroa’s writings were also tied to his political beliefs. Figueroa, Ramón Marín, and Francisco Gonzalo (Pachín) Marín together worked to reform politics in Puerto Rico in the late 1800s. Their mission was make equality a reality by expelling the ideals of rank and class and promoting instead a focus on “individual merit”. They believed that castes that existed were put on the public by Spanish colonial control and limited the Puerto Rican population’s growth economically, politically, and physically. At age 22, Figueroa was chosen as an assembly leader under Rafael Primo de Rivera, the new liberal Governor of Puerto Rico.
^ Hoffnung-Garskof, Jesse (August 2011). “To abolish the law of castes: merit, manhood and the problem of colour in the Puerto Rican liberal movement, 1873–92”. Social History. 36 (3): 312–342. doi:10.1080/03071022.2011.601150. ISSN0307-1022.
^ Jump up to:ab Hoffnung-Garskov, Jesse (3 August 2011). “To abolish the law of castes: merit, manhood and the problem of color in Puerto Rican liberal movement, 1873-92”. Social History. 36: 312–342. doi:10.1080/03071022.2011.601150.
Fay Fowlie de Flores. Ponce, Perla del Sur: Una Bibliografía Anotada. Second Edition. 1997. Ponce, Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico en Ponce. p. 115. Item 582. LCCN92-75480
Sotero Figueroa. Ensayo biografico sobre los que mas han contribuido al progreso de Puerto Rico. Ponce, Puerto Rico: Establecimiento tipografico El Vapor. 1888. (Colegio Universitario Tecnológico de Ponce, CUTPO; Universidade de Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras, UPR-RP)
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