Afifa Fiaz: Miami as Text 2021-2022

Photo taken by Hiza Riaz //CC by 4.0

Afifa Fiaz is currently a Junior in the Honors College and FIU School of Engineering. She is majoring in Biology and is currently a Medical Assistant at a surgical clinic. Her goal in life is to help people and give back to the community through medicine. She was born in Pakistan and loves to carry her culture in various ways. In her free time she likes to cook, draw, and even host great events.


DOWNTOWN AS TEXT

History Walk of Miami” by Afifa Fiaz of FIU

(Right) Taken by John Bailey //CC by 4.0 (Left) Taken by Afifa Fiaz //CC by 4.0

Walking down the street of Miami and going through the historical events that took place there can change your whole perspectives of things. From learning about the Tequesta’s, who lived here from the beginning to how oranges played a part in the past.

Miami was originally founded by a rich women named Juliet Tuttle who grew oranges on her lands and lived in the Miami area. The majority of the citrus in Florida was killed by a strong freeze in the 1890’s, but not in Miami. Henry Flagler was building his railroad to deliver citrus to the northern states at the same time, however the freeze had a significant influence on his business as well. Julia Tuttle saw this as an opportunity send him a few oranges along with an invitation to expand his railroad down to Miami. A smart women one would call it!

Lummus Park, known to be the oldest public park of Miami holds some of the oldest structures. The home of William Wagner was one that really caught my eye. Wagner married a women of color and one with kids, in that era that was seen as shock . Not only did Wagner lived in that house with his family, he also used it as a church and a place where him and the Seminoles had meals and peace making conversation together. Having a house that was so different, yet one that every person was welcomed in is a goal of mine to build in the future one day.

OVERTOWN AS TEXT

“Miami’s own New Orleans” by Afifa of FIU

Taking the Metrorail as a form of transportation taught me how to navigate around the city along with valuing my time. For someone who had a very negative perception of the Metrorail, it was quite surprising on my end to see how clean and efficient it was. In terms of energy usage, space occupancy, and number of passengers transported, the Metro Rail System has shown to be the most efficient. Some of the places we went to included Hialeah, Santa Clara, and my favorite Over town.

Photos taken by Afifa Fiaz //CC by 4.0

Many people living in Miami tend to forget about Over town, a Miami, Florida neighborhood located northwest of Downtown Miami. People’s stigmas and perceptions have caused them to be believe that taking I-95 while looking down at the town is better than driving through it. Over town also known as Colored Town during the Jim Crow era of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was once the preeminent and is still the historic center for black business in Miami and South Florida. The town was once alive with musicians like James Brown, Josephine Baker, Aretha Franklin, Muhmmad Ali and many more! People would travel all across the country to come just hang out with the known and have small talks for only a dime! The town became silence when I-95 and 395 freeways built through the town. The freeways destroyed hundreds of homes and properties. Many at that time believed that this was an act of racism and segregation to keep the blacks from booming.