The man commonly known as Jose Martí is also called "El Apóstol," or "The Apostle," among Latin American writers, historians, and pro-Cuban liberation politicians alike. His vast body of work extends to a myriad of fields. However, a good way to start out a presentation about him would be to show how he ended up in the situation that made him into such an iconic figure.
He is the son of Spanish immigrants who went to Cuba. His father was Don Mariano Martí y Navarro, from Valencia, Spain, and Doña Leonor Pérez Cabrera, from Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. José grew up in Cuba, but did pay a couple of visits to Spain growing up. He lived in Spain from 1857 to 1859 and then returned to Cuba. As a child, he went to the Colegio de San Anacleto, directed by headmaster Rafael Sixto Casado, and then he went to the Colegio de San Pablo, with headmaster Rafael María de Mendive, who was his biggest influence. As a teenager he went to school at the Municipal School for Boys on March 19, 1869. This was essentially a lyceum where the arts and humanities would be the focus. He was always an excellent artist in every way, but he did not find success at this.
Keep in mind that José was extremely precocious. He started out really early in life, which is interesting, considering that his life ended up being very short. Many think that he was born knowing that he would be dead young, and that his spirit always told him to work fast, and work effectively.
This being said, it was not until he became a teenager that he discovered his ability to write. In 1870 he got into trouble for his anti-colonial expressions published in the press. At age 17 he was sentenced to hard labor for his views, condemned for six years. During his exile to Spain, he studied law at the Central University of Madrid and later at the University of Zaragoza. He completed his degree in 1874.
For more information on Martí, go to the link provided, and to the Cuban liberation and Spanish American War pages.