The First Class of The Semester. Photographs by Letizia
Just like that we concluded the spring semester of “Miami in Miami” on April 19th, 2023. The search for the authentic Miami ended at the Deering Estate which was one of the places where the most memorable experiences of the Fall and Spring semester took place. With the 2022/23 school year being my first year in the Honors College I could not have asked for a better class to start with. I have lived in Miami since 2011 yet had either never been to the places we went to in class or had been to some places but knew very little about the history.
Our first trip to the Everglades was the experience of a lifetime where we completed the Slough Slog through the Everglades River. With the water being knee deep and using a walking stick to not lose our footing it was one of the most immersive experiences with nature I have had in Miami. Having been able to walk in the original unchanged South Florida is something truly special which we also experienced in the Fall Semester at the Deering Estate. It really puts into perspective how humans lived back then and how they prevailed by using nature to their advantage. Learning about the importance of Cypress trees and mangroves served as a reminder of our responsibility to help protect the Earth that will essentially benefit human and animal health.
Coconut Grove and Coral Gables were two places which I had spent lots of time in as I went to high school in Coral Gables and my church is in Coconut Grove. However, as usual I was met with surprises in both places. I was not aware that Coconut Grove is the oldest neighborhood in Miami and the impact E.W.F Stirrup had on Miami by being becoming one of the largest landowners in Coconut Grove and through this he built 100 homes for African Americans. In Coral Gables, even though I had heard about George Merrick I was not familiar with the story of why he developed Coral Gables to be a Mediterranean Revival style city. It was shocking but not surprising that Merrick campaigned to remove black families from Miami to the Everglades. Like Henry Flagler and Carl Fisher, Merrick shared the same attitudes of racism and segregation.
By going to the Norton Museum of Art and the Marguiles Collection at the Warehouse we were able to see all kinds of artwork that made me reflect as many interpretations came to my head when looking at these pieces of art. In the Norton Museum of Art seeing Claude Monet’s Water Lily painting was the most valued piece of art I have ever seen, and it was special to see it up close. At the Marguiles Collection I enjoyed seeing Anselm Kiefer’s artwork, especially the Secret of the Ferns and the Ages of the World.
I felt like ending the class by making the trip to Chicken Key was the perfect way to end the semester. I am leaving this class with more knowledge about where I live in, one in a lifetime experiences and great friends which I will be going on study abroad trips with soon. I will never forget the time I had in this class and the experiences we were able to have and want to thank Professor Bailly for making it all possible.