José Izidoro de Martins Junior was born in Recife, Pernambuco, on 24 November 1860, to José Isidoro Martins and Francisca Emilia de Oliveira Martins.
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Law and Social Sciences from the Recife Faculty of Law in 1883. He was a journalist, lawyer, jurist, politician, professor and poet.
He sat a public contest to be a lecturer at the Recife Faculty of Law, but could not be appointed because, being a Republican, he refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarchy. He only obtained his goal after the proclamation of the Republic, becoming a lecturer and later also the rector of the traditional Faculty.
He was considered a historic Republican. He defended the republican regime in an era when all expressive politicians were monarchists who were members the two major parties: the Liberal and the Conservative. Hence the restrictions Martins Junior suffered for many years.
He participated in the Republican Centre and collaborated with Adelino Filho, Pardal Mallet and Artur Orlando in the Revista do Norte and Folha do Norte, published in 1883 and 1884. He also collaborated with several other newspapers and magazines in Recife, such as A América Illustrada; A Província; Correio da Noite – Recife’s first nightly newspaper of which he was also editor and contributor under the pseudonym Junio; A Opinião; Jornal da Tarde; Revista das Artes; Jornal do Recife, among others.
He supported the candidacy of Joaquim Nabuco for Pernambuco representative through the Jornal do Recife, preaching the immediate abolition of slavery.
As an abolitionist and Republican, in 1888, José Izidoro de Martins Junior founded the Republican directory, which was intended to enhance the ideas of abolition and republic, creating the newspaper O Norte for this purpose.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, he moved to Rio de Janeiro due to political pressure, acting as a lawyer and also for some time as Secretary of the State Government, under President Quintino Bocaiúva, his fellow Republican campaigner.
He was elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1902, occupying chair number 13.
He wrote, among other works: Vigílias literárias (Literary Vigils) (poetry, 1879) and O escalpelo: estudo crítico de política, letras e costumes (The Scalpel: a critical study of politics, literature and customs), both in collaboration with Clóvis Beviláqua (1881); A poesia scientifica (Scientific Poetry) (1883); Retalhos (Shreds), poems (1884); Estilhaços (Splinters), poetry (1885), Fragmentos juridico-philosophicos (Legal-philosophic Fragments) (1891); Tela polychroma (Polychromic Screen) (poetry, 1893), História do Direito nacional (History of the National Law) (1895), Compêndio da história geral do Direito (Compendium of the General History of the Law) (1898).
Martins Junior died on 22 August 1904, in Rio de Janeiro. His body was moved to Recife, being buried in the Santo Amaro Cemetery. His funeral procession was accompanied by a large number of people, as a last tribute to the great Pernambuco citizen.
Recife, 29 June 2004.
(Updated on 31 August 2009)
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2012.
MEMORIAL lembra Martins Júnior. Diario de Pernambuco, Recife, 8 jun. 2004. Cad. Viver, p.3.
NASCIMENTO, Luiz do. Três mestres de Direito no “batente” do jornal. Recife: Imprensa Oficial, 2002. p.49-62.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Martins Júnior. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.