La Unión Martí-Maceo was established near the turn of the 20th century as Los Libres Pensadores Marti-Maceo. Named for Cuban heroes Jose Martí and General Antonio Maceo, the organization functioned as a social and recreational society for members of Tampa’s Afro-Cuban community of cigar workers.
Although the organization originally served both black and white Cubans as the Club Nacional Cubano, Octubre 10, an era of segregation forced the group to split into two separate societies- the Círculo Cubano and Los Libres Pensadores Martí- Maceo.
The first official meeting of Los Libres Pensadores (“the freethinkers”) took place October 26, 1900 at the home of Cuban immigrants Ruperto and Paulina Pedroso. The organization eventually merged with La Unión, an Afro-Cuban society in West Tampa, to form La Sociedad la Unión Martí- Maceo