Fernando Ortiz

Fernando Ortiz
Fernando Ortiz

General Information on Fernando Ortiz

Fernando Ortiz was born in Havana on July 16th, 1881. He completed his primary education in Menorca in the Balearic Islands, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in 1895. In 1891 he won the title of Law Doctor from the Madrid University. He continued Criminology Studies in Italy. There he befriended and collaborated Cesare Lombroso in the Archives of Criminal Anthropology, and Legal Medicine and Psychiatry Magazine. From 1903 he served in the Republic Foreign Service missions in foreign cities such as Corunna, Genoa, Marseille and Paris. During this period he established professional relationships with leading Italian and Spanish criminalists. In 1906 he went on to serve as District Attorney of Havana Audience and in 1909 he obtained by opposition the professor employment in the Public Law Faculty, Havana University. It also received the Ethnography Cathedra at this Superior Cuban Center of Studies. It was part of the group of initiators of the People’s University in 1914.

Notes on Fernando Ortiz´s Cultural Legacy

In Fernando Ortiz works stand out his socio-political and linguistic concerns . From 1917 he was Member of Congress for about a decade. He worked at the Crowder Code in 1919. He was responsible for drafting the “Manifesto of April 2, 1923” of the Cuban Civic Renewal Board. Between 1931 and 1933 he lived in Washington, where he held various activities to denounce the Gerardo Machado dictatorship. At the beginning of his stay in the United States he participated in the annual meeting of the American History Association. His position in defense of the cause of blacks and as well as the claim of indigenous heritage can be seen in his Deception of Races, which was prepared in 1944 with the materials used in his classes at the Research and Advanced Studies University Institute. From the point of view of archaeological studies he made significant contributions related to the aboriginal cultures of Cuba. In this regard, among its initial researches are: History of Indocuban Archeology (1923) and New Directions of Cuban Prehistory (1925). With respect to its foray into ethnic issues groups of African origin some aspects developed in his works deserve to be mentioned: the historical in The Black Slaves (1916); the philological, in Glossary of African Terms(1924); and the ethnographic and folklore in The African Folk Music of Cuba (1952) and The dances and Theater of Blacks in Cuba Folklore (1953). He collaborated with domestic and foreign press, such as Venezuelan Folklore, Bohemia, Casa de las Americas, Contemporary Cuba, El Cubano Libre, El Di luvio (Barcelona), Law and Sociology, the Diario de la Marina, Spanish Daily, El Figaro, Heraldo de Cuba, Illustration Cubana, La Gaceta de Cuba, La Nova Catalunya, The Hispanic American Historical Review (North Carolina, USA), International Scientific Journal, Journal of Management, Journal of Archaeology and Ethnology, Journal of the University of Havana, among others. He was the founder and President of the International Institute of Afro-Americans since 20th of October 1943. He was also a member of the Economic Society of Friends of the Country from 1907. In the Library of the Society he founded the Cuban Folklore Society in 1924 and he was responsible the creation in 1936 of the Spanish-American Institution of Culture. He founded and chaired the Society of Afro-Cuban Studies in 1937 and chaired the Soviet Cuban Cultural Institute in 1945. He died in Havana on April 10, 1969.

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