In a time when being black was synonymous with slavery, Juan Gualberto Gómez was born on July 12th, 1854, at the Vellocino mill, in Sabanilla del Encomendador, in Matanzas, liberated from the cruelest scourge that Spain imposed on his colonies, as his father bought his freedom even in the mother’s womb.
Although free, his status as a freedman did not prevent him from recognizing the horrible meaning of slavery, because his parents did not manage to be free until a while later, being still very young. He was sent to the best private school for blacks that existed then in the capital. Very young he traveled to Paris to study a trade and increase his cultural heritage with learning the French language.
The concern of Juan Gualberto to study led him to discern his way and forge his true and definitive profession: journalism. He also developed knowledge of mathematics, physics, history, geography, literature and philosophy, although to a lesser degree.
In 1880 he experienced a first exile that interrupted his work in the newspaper The Fraternity. From a distance it was still widely read by Cubans of color. He returned in 1890 and in 1895 he was banished again when the independence uprising of February 24th failed. Before concluding the Spanish domination it passes to France and then to the United States, where it cooperates with the Cuban Revolutionary Party.
In 1898 he returned to his homeland definitively and thereafter had an active participation against the Platt Amendment and the governments of the day, until his death. The long career of Juan Gualberto Gómez was imbued with a high dose of dignity and tenacity. He was respected and listened to as a journalist and Cuban convinced of his ideals.
His intransigent judgment, his incalculable work and his independence always accompanied him. When he received from the hands of one of the most corrupt governors (Gerardo Machado) the Grand Cross, of the National Order of Merit Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, considered then the highest decoration of Cuba, they say that on this occasion he responded to those present: “I am Juan Gualberto Gómez, with Cross and without Cross «.