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Juan Pablo Duarte - José Julián Martí School #28

25 First Street


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Elizabeth Board of Education Announces Name of School No. 28

ELIZABETH - The Elizabeth Board of Education officially dedicated School No. 28 in the name of Juan Pablo Duarte and José Julián Martí at the Board meeting held at the Donald Stewart Center for Early Childhood Education School No. 51.

Juan Pablo Duarte, often referred to as the “Father of Dominican Independence,” was born on January 26, 1813 in Santo Domingo, Hispaniola. He spent six years in Europe to complete his education. During his time in Europe, Duarte became determined to free the eastern part of Hispaniola from Haitian domination.

Duarte returned to his island and he and several other patriots organized a secret society called La Trinitaria to work toward independence. The first attempt to remove the Haitians from Hispaniola came in 1843, which was unsuccessful.

In the following year, with financial backing from Venezuela, Duarte and his followers succeeded in freeing the eastern part of Hispaniola from Haitian rule, thus fulfilling Duarte’s dreams. Duarte proclaimed independence for the Dominican Republic in 1844.

José Julián Martí was born on January 28, 1853 and is widely known as one of the greatest Spanish-American prose writers and poet philosophers. Through his words, actions, and spirit, Martí eloquently communicated the importance of freedom to the Cuban people.

Thanks to the aid of his teacher, he was able to go to high school just at the time the Ten Years' War, Cuba's first struggle for independence, began. Martí quickly committed himself to the cause, publishing his first newspaper, La Patria Libre (Free Fatherland), in 1869. He was arrested for denouncing a pro-Spanish classmate and was sentenced to six years of hard labor.

José Julián Martí, who was jailed and exiled for his political writings, found asylum in the United States and continued to worked diligently to organize other exiles in the quest for Cuban independence. Despite his busy literary career, he spent much of his time planning the second Cuban struggle for independence.

In 1892, Martí founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party to organize the coming struggle. By early 1895, his preparations for battle were complete. However, Martí would arrive in Cuba without any special authority or a way to keep the generals in check. He gave his life for Cuban independence on the Dos Rios battlefield on May 19, 1895, less than two weeks after his arrival. It was not until the 1920's and 1930's that Martí was cherished by many other Latin Americans for his ideals of liberty and equality.

Both Duarte and Martí are respected for their struggles to free their people from unjust rule. The naming of a school after Juan Pablo Duarte and José Julián Martí in Elizabeth is significant due to the large Latin American representation in the City of Elizabeth. The name is appropriate on a larger scale as Duarte and Martí represent the spirit demonstrated by the founders of the United States during their struggle for freedom and independence.

Elizabeth Board of Education President Rafael Fajardo feels Duarte/ Martí is a fitting name for the school because of the passion and devotion they demonstrated for their people. “It brings me great pride to have one of our schools named after two men who stood by their beliefs and did all they could to help provide better lives for their fellow countrymen,” said Fajardo. “They can serve as an example to everyone at School No. 28 to unite together and perform acts that will benefit the entire school community.”

Board Member Pastor Raul Burgos also believes Duarte and Martí are two men who deserve to have a school dedicated in their name. “Both Juan Pablo Duarte and José Julián Martí devoted themselves to achieving freedom for their compatriots and were very passionate about their heritage,” said Burgos. “In such a diverse school district, the lessons of unity and honoring all heritages are very important and I strongly believe that honoring these two men with this dedication helps deliver that lesson.”
 

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