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Juan Francisco Manzano (1797–1854) was born a slave in the Matanzas Province of Cuba. He wrote two works and started his autobiography while still enslaved. He obtained his freedom in 1836 and later wrote a book of poems and a play. Manzano was falsely accused of being involved in the conspiracy of La Escalera in 1844. After his release from prison in 1845 he never wrote again and died in poverty in 1854. Biography Early life Manzano was born to Maria del Pilar Manzano and Toribio de Casto in 1797. His married parents were both slaves to Señora Beatriz de Justiz de Santa Ana, his mother was her chief handmaid. Their mistress was a writer and poet. During his youth Manzano was not allowed to play with other black children and was treated like a white child. He had a relatively comfortable life in comparison to other slaves in this important sugar region. However, the life of a house slave was isolating. His next mistress, María de la Concepción, la Marquesa del Prado Ameno, was...
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