A leader of the Puerto Rican Slavery abolishment movement
Jose was born on May 27, 1825 in San Juan, PR. He received his primary and secondary education from Rafael Cordero.
He left Puerto Rico Madrid, and relocated to Spain and studied Physics and Mathematics.
After he graduated in 1851 Jose continued to expand his educational knowledge in Paris, London, and Berlin. In Berlin, he was a student of the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. Upon returning to his homeland Jose like many other Puerto Ricans with liberal views, was harshly mistreated, and punished by the Spanish governor.
He received a job as a professor of Botany and Maritime Sciences and became the director of the Civil Institute of Secondary Education. Acosta was the founder and editor of the newspaper El Progreso (Progress), and he collaborated with many other newspapers which were oriented toward liberalism.
1865 and 1867, Acosta was a member of a Puerto Rican commission, which included Segundo Ruiz Belvis and Francisco Mariano Quiñones, and which participated in the Junta Informativa de Reformas de Ultramar (Overseas Reforms Informative Board The commission advocated for the abolition of slavery and political reforms at the local level. ) which met in Madrid. Here, Acosta presented the argument for the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico. That same year, while in Madrid,Jose was made a member of the Spanish Royal Academy of History, for his work in the editing of Fray Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra’s Historia geografica, civil y natural de la isla de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico. (Geographic, Civil, and Natural History of the Island of St. John the Baptist of Puerto Rico)
After the Grito de Lares (Cry of Lares) revolt in 1868, he was suspected of being a conspirator and was imprisoned in the dungeons of Fort San Felipe del Morro by General Pavia, even though he had not participated in the failed revolt. Acosta later published a pamphlet entitled “Horas de Prisión” (“Hours of Imprisonment”) describing his experiences in prison
On November, 1870, he became a leading member of the Liberal Reformist Party.
He also collaborated to the foundation of “El Progreso” (Progress) newspaper, of which he was editor.
In 1871 he became an elected representative to the Spanish Courts
In 1873, he became president of the Liberal Reformist Party.
On March 22, 1873, Acosta witnessed the success of his abolitionist efforts, with the proclamation of the decree for the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico.
in 1874 he resigned form the Liberal Reformist Party and then joined Roman Baldorioty De Castro Autonomist Party.
THIRTEEN years later Acosta died on August 26, 1891, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
He was interred in Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan