José Antonio Aponte

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José Antonio Aponte, often known as “Black” José Aponte, (died April 9, 1812 in Havana) was a Cuban activist, military officer and carpenter who organized one of the largest slave conspiracies in his time, known as the Aponte Conspiracy of 1812. He had formally been first corporal in Havana's black militia, and was the leader of his local Yoruba association.[1] His objective was to free people of color in Cuba from Spanish tyranny.[2] He gained a considerable following amongst black Cubans and was proclaimed by some as a suitable King of Cuba.[3] Aponte assumed leadership of the Afro-Cuban religious fraternity, Cabildo de Santa Barnara in around 1810, and they met in his home, plotting to overthrow the Spanish.[4]

Aponte provoked an uprising by the Afro Cubans and those sympathetic to the cause in February 1812, but eight of his cohorts were caught and imprisoned and he was eventually caught and hanged on the gallows on April 9, 1812 and decapitated, his head placed in an iron cage and showcased in front of the house where he lived and his hand went on display in another street.[5] The heads of his co-conspirators, both black and non blacks, were also placed around Havana after they were executed.[6]


  1. ^ Henken, Ted (2008). Cuba: A Global Studies Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 430. ISBN 978-1-85109-984-9. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Brown, David H. (15 October 2003). Santeria Enthroned: Art, Ritual, and Innovation in an Afro-Cuban Religion. University of Chicago Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-226-07609-6. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Fischer, Sibylle (9 April 2004). Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. Duke University Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-8223-3290-9. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Olupona, Jacob K.; Rey, Terry (10 March 2008). Orisa Devotion as World Religion: The Globalization of Yoruba Religious Culture. Univ of Wisconsin Press. p. 461. ISBN 978-0-299-22464-6. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Black Jose Aponte". Assata Shakur. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ Villaverde, Cirilo (29 September 2005). Cecilia Valdes or El Angel Hill. Oxford University Press. p. 495. ISBN 978-0-19-514395-9. Retrieved 28 August 2012.