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  • Writer's pictureMilton Davis

When History Lends A Hand

When I was writing From Here to Timbuktu, I knew Pauline Rose was going to have a mysterious past. To Zeke, she was a pretty lady that lived with her brother on the farm nearby. The two kept to themselves; the only contact with other people was when they attended church. Pauline's brother passed away due to illness, and she was left alone to tend to her farm, which she did very well. It was at that small church where she and Zeke met, and the rest is history.

What Zeke didn't know was that Pauline came to Freedonia to escape her past. Pauline's true name was Paulina de Rosa, a prominent leader in Cuba's revolution against Espana Nueva. She fled the country as the revolution faltered, vowing to return one day to fight once again for freedom. Her 'brother' was actually a friend and compatriot who accompanied her to act as a bodyguard.

When I decided Paulina would be a Cuban revolutionary, I was thinking about the Cuban revolution of the late fifties. Little did I know that there had actually been an earlier revolution, a 30 year conflict between Cubans and the Spanish, a war in which the most admired revolutionary was an Afro-Cuban man named Antonio Maceo, known to Cubans and his enemies as 'The Bronze Titan."

Antonio Maceo (June 14, 1845-December 7, 1896) was a Cuban general considered to be one of the greatest heroes of the nation's 30-year struggle for independence from Spain. He was given the nickname "The Bronze Titan" in reference to his skin color and heroics on the battlefield.

  • Full Name: José Antonio de la Caridad Maceo Grajales

  • Known For: Cuban independence hero

  • Also Known As: "The Bronze Titan" (nickname given by Cubans), "The Greater Lion" (nickname given by Spanish forces)

  • Born: June 14, 1845 in Majaguabo, Cuba

  • Died: December 7, 1896 in Punta Brava, Cuba

  • Parents: Marcos Maceo and Mariana Grajales y Cuello

  • Spouse: María Magdalena Cabrales y Fernández

  • Children: María de la Caridad Maceo

  • Key Accomplishments: Led Cuban independence fighters in their 30-year struggle against Spain.

  • Famous Quote: "No whites nor blacks, but only Cubans."

I was blown away when I came across this information. There was no way I could complete this book without including such an amazing individual. Antonio never lived to see Cuban independence; he was killed in battle on December 6, 1896 in Punta Brava, near Havana. As a matter of fact, just when the rebels were about to defeat the Spanish, the U.S. stepped in, sparked by the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine. If you want to learn more about Antonio Maceo, check out this biography: For a more detailed account, read the book, Antonio Maceo: The Bronze Titan by Philip S. Foner.

In my alternate history scenario, Antonio Maceo and Paulina de Rosa are contemporaries and friends. They both return to Cuba at the same time and revive the revolution, this time supported by the Freedonian government.

Another historical tidbit included in La Rosa is the second part of the title, Matanzas. I chose Matanzas because of what the city is and its ties to African Diaspora history. Matanzas is the center of Afro-Cuban folklore. It is also the part of Cuba where many Afro-Floridians migrated to after the Spanish turned St. Augustine over to the British in 1763.

It was these historical tidbits that made La Rosa De Matanzas so fun to write. If you haven't read it, I think you'll enjoy it. If you have, I hope this information gives you some insight to the novel. You can purchase La Rosa De Matanzas directly from MVmedia or anywhere books are sold. To purchase from MVmedia, just click the image. Have fun!

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