Arabist, professor, journalist and Spanish politician. He was mayor of Granada between January 8 and February 20, 1936. He belonged to the El Rinconcillo tertulia at the Café Alameda, where he met Federico García Lorca and other artists of the time.
He came from a modest family from Guadahortuna who settled in Granada at the beginning of the 20th century and opened a guesthouse on Calle Fábrica Vieja. At the same time he studied Law and Philosophy and Arts at the University of Granada. He took the post office exams and became an administrator. He worked from 1920 as an Assistant of Semitic Languages at the University of Granada and later as a professor at the School of Arabic Studies where, in 1934, Salvador Vila Hernández, future dean of the University of Granada from April 1936 until his execution in Víznar in October of that year, disembarked.
He was a rinconcillista and participated in various projects of this group. He collaborated in the development of the magazine gallo. Federico García Lorca dedicated to him the Ballad of the Black Sorrow. He was the Arabist of El Rinconcillo.
In Lorca’s epistolary there are repeated allusions to José Navarro. In 1923, Lorca alludes to organizing a tribute to Abentofail: “We also thought of inviting wise Moorish scholars from all over the East, who would come to Granada to make an anthology of Abentofail directed by Navarro with things of mine that I would do by then”. And earlier, in 1920, in a letter to Antonio Gallego Burín: “Answer me by return mail with the necessary instructions and information on what is really going on. And are Hebrew and Arabic easy to fool with Navarro? When will I speak Hebrew and Arabic? I must be approved immediately!”.
José Navarro had been a councilman of the Granada City Council since 1928. The civil governor appointed him interim mayor on January 8, 1936; he was one of the three members of the management committee after the dismissal of the municipal corporation as a result of the incidents of October 1934. He then abandoned political activity and devoted himself to his intellectual and academic work. He published articles in newspapers such as The Voice of Almería, Homeland or Graphic Granada. He was distinguished as a full member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Granada.
He died in Guadahortuna in 1971.