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María Mendoza Kranz was born in Key West, Florida. She is a member of a third generation of the Mendoza family that emigrated from Cuba to Key West in the early 1870s to escape Spanish colonial rule. Her grandfather, José González de Mendoza, was one of the founders of the school at the Club San Carlos in Key West.
Mendoza Kranz’s father, Enrique González de Mendoza, who was born in Key West, is said to have introduced Cuban rumba to Miami in the 1930s. He also organized the “El Dulce” rumba band that played at the Roney Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach.
Mendoza Kranz was the first Spanish-speaking salesperson employed by S.H. Kress & Co. in downtown Miami and also among the first women to work at a Miami aircraft factory during World War II. Since 1979, she has taught line dancing to Hispanic senior citizens.
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