Born to free parents in Havana, Medina received elementary school education before working as a tailor. Work at the Tacón Theater introduced him to Havana's literary and theatrical scene, and he befriended the Afro-Cuban poets Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés and Juan Francisco Manzano. In 1842 he helped found El Faro, Havana's first newspaper for people of color. Pursuing an education, Medina qualified as an elementary schoolteacher in 1850. He founded a school for people of color, Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Abandoned), and directed it until 1878. In 1856 he and Anselmo Font founded the first black Cuban literary journal, El Rocio, although only one issue was published.
- Poesías, 1851
- Dona Canuto de Ceibamocha o El Guajiro Generoso, 1858
- Jacobo Girondi, 1880
- Lodoiska o la maldicion, 1882
- Rodríguez-Labrador, Sonia (2005). "Medina y Céspedes, Antonio". In Appiah, Kwame Anthony; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. (eds.). Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience. Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 790–1. ISBN 978-0-19-517055-9.