José Celso Barbosa
Politician, Organization founder
1857 – 1921
Who was José Celso Barbosa?
Dr. José Celso Barbosa was a Puerto Rican physician, sociologist and political leader. Known within Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party as "The father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement," He was the first Puerto Rican to earn a medical degree in the United States. After his return to the island in 1880, Barbosa made many contributions to medicine and public health. He initiated an early form of health insurance, encouraging employers to pay a fee to cover future needs of their employees. Barbosa was among the first five Puerto Rican leaders appointed in 1900 to the Executive Cabinet under Governor Charles H. Allen, in the first civilian government organized by the United States. He served in the Cabinet until 1917. From 1917-1921, Barbosa served in the first elected Puerto Rican Senate.
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