Isabel, Brime Declaration 2022

Isabel Brime is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications (PRAAC) at the Florida International University’s Honors College. She hopes to pursue a career in travel or entertainment marketing. Coming from a Mexican background and culture, she was raised in a Spanish-speaking household along her two sisters. She loves to travel and add new adventures to her long list of hobbies: running, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, singing, writing, producing & editing videos, sewing and spending time with her family and friends.

Declaration Project: Marie-Madeleiene Fourcade

“L’Espionne Secrète Oublié” by Isabel Brime of FIU Honors College on April 25, 2022.

Marie-Madeleine Fourcade’s false identity card under the name Marie Suzanne Imbert.Credit…Tallandier – Rue des Archives/Granger, NY

Historical Context

On September 1, 1939, Germany decided to invade Poland. Three days later, France declared war against Germany to defend Poland, starting World War II. Germany decided to then attack France’s impenetrable line of defense, the Maginot Line. To do so, Germany  decided to go around and attack France from  the Ardennes forest by using their new war technique, Blitzkrieg, which meant lightning war. This tactic worked for Germany by having tanks run over the French line of defense and pave the way for the German army to directly follow and break the army supply chain and communication. In about a couple weeks, French government officials and military leaders gathered with the German army to surrender and give up the country for the German Occupation. This surrender was meant to protect the rest of France from being completely  destroyed and allowed German soldiers to occupy France. The people of France decided to take matters into their own hands by creating the resistance (France during World War II: Occupation and resistance).

The French resistance wanted to sabotage supply lines for the German army, by stealing and destroying information, killing generals, and using all efforts to make it difficult for Germany to win the war. One successful tactic was infiltrating spies. Being a spy was one of the riskiest jobs, because if caught, they were tortured for their information and then killed. Many French were recruited by the British army and taken to basic training, where they were taught how to use weapons, read and write encrypted messages, morse code, destroy tanks, and other physical training to prepare them before sending them to the front line. They were parachuted into enemy lines and territory, where they then established contact with their commanders for further instruction and orders. The Royal Air Force (RAF) airdropped spies and supplied bombs, weapons, explosives, ammunition, and other equipment required for completing their missions. There were many heroes among the French spies, many of them died for the cause. One recognized French spy was Marie Madeleine Fourcade, who wasn’t just fighting against the Germans, but was also a woman fighting for human rights.

“Women in WWII.” Women and War, http://what-when-how.com/women-and-war/france-resistance-during-world-war-ii-women-and/.

Women’s Roles – Gender and sexuality

During the 1940s, Germans were on high alert for sabotage attacks, because Men of the French resistance were mostly responsible for these damages against the German army. Germans targeted French men as they were on the lookout for any plan that could affect the third German Reich. In the 40s and even earlier, a woman’s only role was at home, with very little legal importance and rights. At that time, many thought that women were not capable of helping the French resistance, so they were not allowed to join. Women were not even granted the right to vote in France up until 1944. However, when the Germans started to occupy French territory, many brave women stepped forward and joined the French resistance. Some women started working as spies, which ended up being an effective tactic in the war. 

At the time, many women held office jobs, so women took advantage. Some women pretended to be hired for secretary and related office jobs inside the German army, but in reality they were there as spies. This was key for the intelligence of the French resistance, because the women would be hearing strategy plans and other key information. Women spies were also effective, because they could take advantage of their physique and beauty. Beautiful French girls caught the attention of German commanders, who would often flirt with them, never expecting them to be spies. Some commanders often unknowingly confessed their plans to gain their attention. Because many thought women could not hold important military or war roles, the German soldiers completely overlooked them, making it possible for women to sneak into strategic places carrying messages or supplies for sabotage missions (Haynes A call to spy real history: Women spies in WWII). Many men held the belief that they were superior to men and that women were inferior. Men thought that women shouldn’t be working as spies and instead should be helping the resistance in other areas of the French army, such as kitchens and hospitals. They believed women would be too weak for the job, because it was a heavily demanding risk. If spies got caught, they were tortured until they confessed everything they knew, so the job was considered only for “real men”. Thankfully, spies like Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, who even led entire operations, proved them wrong.

“Marie-Madeleine Attending a Plenary Session of the European Parliament in 1980. .” Forgotten Female Spymaster, European Union, https://www.timesofisrael.com/forgotten-female-spymaster-led-french-resistances-largest-intelligence-ring/.

Religion, Philosophy, and Early Life

Marie-Madeleine Bridou (later known as Marie-Madeleine Fourcade) was born on November 8, 1909 in Marseille, France to a wealthy family. Her father, Lucien Bridou, was the executive of a steamship company, so they spent a lot of time in China. Marie-Madeleine also grew up with her mother, Mathilde, and her siblings, Yvonne and Jacques. (The beautiful spy: The unsung heroine of World War II). Marie-Madeleine attended a convent school in Shanghai and later the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris (Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, French resistance leader, dies at 79). She got married in 1929 and had two children, Christian and Béatrice, with her first husband French army officer, Edouard Meric, but quickly separated. Marie-Madeleine not only separated from her husband, but from her children as well, because long periods of time would pass without her being able to see them. A few months after Marie-Madeleine’s divorce was finalized, she married industrialist Hubert Fourcade on November 20, 1947. Before the war began, Marie-Madeleine worked in Paris at a job in the radio industry, also earned a pilot’s license and competed in auto races (Tenorio et al. Forgotten female spymaster led French resistance’s largest intelligence ring).

When Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was asked what she’d done during World War II, she described herself as “the wife of an officer, the mother of a family, a member of no political party, and a Catholic” (Resistance is a state of mind: On Lynne Olson’s “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler”). As per her self description, one can infer that her religion was a very important part of her life. Marie-Madeleine Bridou was born and baptized Catholic in Marseille. While she and her family lived in Shanghai, because of her dad’s job,  her family kept very close to the almost nonexistent Catholic community in China. After her father passed away, her family returned to France, where she attended Couvent Des Oiseaux, a boarding school founded by Mother Marie-Euphrasie, canoness of the Congregation of Notre-Dame. She was a nationalist and anti-Semitic, most likely as a result of her Catholic upbringing. 

Although the practicing of her faith is not a matter found in history books, it is often briefly mentioned through different anecdotes. She even wrote a memoire of her life as a spy and named it Noah’s Ark, a biblical reference. When Marie-Madeleine had been captured by the Gestapo she asked a Catholic priest for permission to take cyanide pills, because suicide is considered a mortal sin in her Catholic faith. The priest advised her not to worry and said it would not be considered suicide, rather a matter of resistance. Luckily, she survived (Remembering a woman who was a leader … – The New York Times)She has always been referred to as upholding many Catholic values. She was described as having more willpower than most men, but never losing her feminine genius and her natural care for others around her (Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, French resistance leader, dies at 79). Even at the end of the war, Fourcade kept up her courageous fight to defend liberties. When her children asked why they were away from their mother for long periods of time, she claimed that she had a job where she played a fun game by hiding, disguising, tricking, and keeping quiet (Provence Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, au bout de la résistance (2/2) – memoires de guerre). On July 20, 1989, Marie-Madeleine Foucade died at the age of 80. At the time of her death, she was shown exceptional homage by the government and survivors of the resistance. Her funeral was held in the Saint-Louis Church of the Invalid and then became the first woman to be buried at the Cimentière du Pèrelachaise in Paris (Marie-Madeleine Fourcade).

Marie Madeleine Fourcade At His Desk Of U.N.R (A64464142) In 1959. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Life In The Resistance

When Marie-Madeleine was having tea at her sister Yvonne’s apartment in Paris, she met Major Georges Loustaunau-Lacau. who was recruiting people who disagreed with France’s passivity against German forces and fascism. Loustaunau-Lacau wanted to start a private organization to collect information on Germany, so he recruited Foucade so she could help with recruitment. The network “Alliance” eventually partnered up with the English secret service M16, the Intelligence Service. When Loustaunau-Lacau, code name Navarre, was arrested in 1941, Foucade was chosen to lead and continue the movement. Marie-Madeleine decided to choose the code name Herrison, meaning hedgehog in French, because even though the animal is small, any predator would think twice before messing with them. From 1941-1945, Fourcade was the leader of the largest, longest-lived spy network in France (Tenorio et al. Forgotten female spymaster led French resistance’s largest intelligence ring). 

As the leader of the spy network, Fourcade also recruited more men and women as radio operators, pilots, couriers, and spies. In their missions, they attempted to gather as much information as possible about the movements, forices, plans, weapons, equipment, and other information about German forces (Provence Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, au bout de la résistance (2/2) – memoires de guerre). Her alliance was able to collect information on the movements and locations of German U-boats, on supply shipments, on which of the bridges into Paris were mined and other key information they fed to the British. Most spies were captured by the Nazis, but only some were able to escape. Fourcade was captured twice, but managed to escape both times. Once, she had to endure an 8-hour trip smuggled in a Vichy mailbag, so that she could cross the French-Spanish border. At the time, she was smoking three packs of cigarettes a day, so she was very thin. When she was caught one time, she stripped naked and was able to squeeze through the cell bars with her clothes in her mouth. She jumped down and crawled across the street on hands and knees to her escape. (Kelly Review | the young mother who took on the Nazis as head of France’s biggest Spy Network)

Fourcade was an inspiration to her Alliance and sparked the obedience and passion from her male members, who often had military background, and from the women members, who made up about 20 % of the Alliance Among their many achievements were sending the British information about the whereabouts of German submarines, creating a 55 foot-long map of Normandy Beaches and German forts, tricking German officials into revealing plans for the V-1 and V-2 rockets, and other important information (Tenorio et al. Forgotten female spymaster led French resistance’s largest intelligence ring).

Women were not suspected of being spies, so Marie-Madeleine Foucade often flew under the radar. M16, the British key partner, didn’t know that the Herisson was actually a Herissone. She constantly dyed her hair and used molar implants or different disguises to complete her missions. Even her pregnancy in 1943, did not stop her.  M16 was a key partner as they fully funded most missions and provided important tools and requirements, so Foucade did not want to reveal her gender, in fear of M16 pulling out their support (Kelly Review | the young mother who took on the Nazis as head of France’s biggest Spy Network). For a while, she was able to keep her identity safe. On one account, the Gestapo knocked down her door to look for French Resistance spies that could be in hiding. Since they never expected a woman to hold such an important role as that of a spy, they just pushed her aside and didn’t think twice about her, even though she was actually the ringleader (Fawcett Madame Fourcade was one of World War II’s most daring female spies). Eventually, she revealed her identity to M16. Even though they took hours to respond to her message, they inevitably decided she was much too important to the operation, so they just looked over the fact that she was a woman.

Title Page of Marie-Madeleiene Fourcade’s memoir, Noah’s Ark

Reflection and Connection

When I first chose this woman for my project, I have to admit I just chose a random name on a list, but I quickly found out how much of an incredible and inspiring woman Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was. I wish I could say that I, too, was a spy ringleader who defied all stereotypes and rules. Although that was not the case, I still related a lot to her character. In her early life, she worked in the radio industry, got a pilot license, and then ended up working as the ringleader of a spy network. Even through her difficult professional career, she was able to have a family. She was direct proof against the misconception that you have to choose between having a family and a professional career. Marie-Madeleine Foucade is a historical name that has not received the rightful credit. Even though her story is not openly shared in history books and lesson, her story is never forgotten. Her bravery and intelligence have made her an important historic character, because through her network of spies, they were able to help in the World War II.

Like Marie-Madeleine, I often find myself questioning the decisions of those around me when they don’t speak up when they think something is wrong. Marie-Madeleine Foucade was a brave woman who was not afraid to question France’s passivity against the German occupation of France. She was willing to risk her comfortable and safe life for a life of risk and danger to fight for human rights. Marie-Madeleine was a wealthy woman who was not directly in danger over the war’s efforts, yet she decided to help in whatever ways she could. She was willing to endure torture, capture, and risked her life to help the cause. Not even the pregnancy of her third child could slow her down. Even though she had no right to vote and had to face sexism, she saw a cause that was worth fighting. Marie-Madeleine Foucade inspires me, like she inspired so many, to always fight for what you believe in. If it’s worth fighting for, then it’s worth the risk.

Works Cited

“France during World War II: Occupation and Resistance.” Smithsonian Associates, https://smithsonianassociates.org/ticketing/tickets/france-during-world-war-ii-occupation-and-resistance. 

Kelly, Mary Louise. “Review | the Young Mother Who Took on the Nazis as Head of France’s Biggest Spy Network.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 Apr. 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-young-mother-who-took-on-the-nazis-as-head-of-frances-biggest-spy-network/2019/04/05/7bf282ee-4a5e-11e9-93d0-64dbcf38ba41_story.html. 

“Marie-Madeleine Fourcade.” Military Wiki, https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Marie-Madeleine_Fourcade. 

Provence, La. “Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, Au Bout De La Résistance (2/2) – Memoires De Guerre.” Mémoires De Guerre, Mémoires De Guerre, 6 Nov. 2020, https://www.memoiresdeguerre.com/article-marie-madeleine-fourcade-au-bout-de-la-resistance-2-2-112626652.html. 

Provence, La. “Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, Au Bout De La Résistance (2/2) – Memoires De Guerre.” Mémoires De Guerre, Mémoires De Guerre, 6 Nov. 2020, https://www.memoiresdeguerre.com/article-marie-madeleine-fourcade-au-bout-de-la-resistance-2-2-112626652.html. 

“Resistance Is a State of Mind: On Lynne Olson’s ‘Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network against Hitler.’” Los Angeles Review of Books, 6 May 2019, https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/resistance-is-a-state-of-mind-on-lynne-olsons-madame-fourcades-secret-war-the-daring-young-woman-who-led-frances-largest-spy-network-against-hitler/. 

Tenorio, Rich, et al. “Forgotten Female Spymaster Led French Resistance’s Largest Intelligence Ring.” The Times of Israel, 4 Oct. 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/forgotten-female-spymaster-led-french-resistances-largest-intelligence-ring/.

Isabel Brime: Miami as Text 2021-2022

Isabel Brime is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communications (PRAAC) at the Florida International University’s Honors College. She hopes to pursue a career in travel or entertainment marketing. Coming from a Mexican background and culture, she was raised in a Spanish-speaking household along her two sisters. She loves to travel and add new adventures to her long list of hobbies: running, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, singing, writing, producing & editing videos, sewing and spending time with her family and friends.

Deering as Text

“Beauty, but at what price?” by Isabel Brime of FIU at Deering Estate on January 28, 2022.

Deering Estate Images Taken & Edited By Isabel Brime

The Deering Estate, located on Miami Dade’s south coast is a hidden wonder. The Deering Estate’s 444 acres leaves a lot of land and secrets to discover. I have lived in Miami for about 18 years now and not once had I heard about the Deering Estate, so I was excited to visit and explore Charles Deering’s estate. I put the coordinates on my GPS and it took me to the wrong place, TWICE. When I finally arrived at the right place, I had ran all over the place and had now lowered my expectations for this expedition. I was ready to expect a boring hike, get murdered by mosquitos and have a bad experience, but I was quickly proven wrong.

When we got to the center of the Richmond Cottage and Stone House, it really felt like I was not in Miami anymore. I got a glimpse of the future of our summer trip to France and got really excited. When Professor Bailey explained the architectural history of the different shapes that muslims and romans used, I started to think deeply and not just at the superficial beauty. When we made our way to the People’s Dock, I was captivated by its beauty. Even the quaking ducks who wanted to join our lecture added to the experience. I saw so much life in that water, thinking of the different life it held, like the manatees I hoped would pop out. However, that image was quickly altered when I was informed of the 5 Bahamians killed in the explosion. I looked around for a memorial or plaque and was very upset to see there was no such thing. As we kept walking, I kept thinking of the Bahamians that lost their lives and even said a quick prayer for them and their families. Hopefully the next time I visit, the documentary on them is finished or they receive some sort of honorary memorial.

When we got to the Prohibition-era Cellar, I felt a rush of excitement. I felt like we were walking into a movie with secret doors and safes. As I stood in the center of the room, I couldn’t help but think how determined Charles Deering was. His waterfront property was close to Cuba, so he had the money and resources to get all the liquor he wanted. I laughed when I heard how Charles Deering made his property into a lighthouse, because his permit to build a lighthouse was denied. It got me thinking of what Professor Bailey mentioned about how those with more money were able to get away with what they wanted and it made me relay it to our present day. Even though about 100 years have passed since the Prohibition-era, we still see a lot of money influencing power.

As we made our way to the final part of the expedition, the hike, I had a lot of thoughts on my mind- the Bahamians, the injustices, the mosquitos. I didn’t expect that another thought would appear on my mind, the Tequesta. They’re so forgotten that it’s even been marked as if it’s spelled wrong. I loved holding their shell tools in my hands, so that I don’t just visualize them, but I can feel them. As we walk through the trees and paths ahead of us, I’m surprised at this new Miami that I’m discovering. I had seen about a million mangrove trees and palm trees growing up, but something about all these trees and plant life made me awe in wonder, and also in fear of poison ivy and unknown plant life. When we made it to the Tequesta burial ground, I was finally able to resolve a portion of my conflicted feelings. Finally, Charles Deering had done something admirable-leaving the Tequesta alone. It was hard to see the mound, so I really had to use my imagination, but it gave me some sort of relief. If we cut off the trees, so that spectators can have a better view, that would be selfish. These poor Tequestians are at rest and we would just be disturbing them if we did.

In the walk back to the conclusion of the tour, I was trying to lay to rest all these thoughts in my mind, but, frankly, I just can’t. There was so much beauty in this estate, but it all came with a price. The fate of the Bahamians who died on the explosion building the beautiful People’s Dock, The fate of the Tequesta, and the injustices that many faced. Even though they’re building some awareness by making a documentary on the Bahamians and respecting the Tequesta burial mound, I think more can be done. The dock is now a home to manatees, fish, and other sea life. The burial mound is now fertilizer for trees that populate the forest. These people have brought life and beauty, so we need to fight for them.

Vizcaya as Text

“Is it a flower or do I have to use my imagination” by Isabel Brime of FIU at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on February 18, 2022.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Images Taken & Edited By Isabel Brime

Living in Miami, I expected to know the ins and outs of this beautiful city, but my visit to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens proved me wrong. Vizcaya, located in Biscayne Bay by Coconut grove, is a wonderful villa with magnificent gardens and stunning architecture that belonged to the late James Deering. Contrary to his brother Charles Deering, his estate gives a more elegant rather than rural vibe. As we stood in the entrance to the gardens while we heard professor Bailly’s lecture, I remember eagerly waiting to go in and see the villa already. I could see the villa in the distance with the ocean background and couldn’t wait to go inside. 

When we finally entered the villa, I was amazed to learn that we were entering through the back entrance. I was thinking of the grandeur of the entrance and remembering the picture of Pope John Paul II and President Reagen standing in the same door I was walking into. It caught my attention, because if I found the service entrance great, I couldn’t wait to see the rest of it. As we walked through the different rooms, I loved hearing about the little details that I would have overlooked if I visited Vizcaya without a tour guide. Looking at the lion statues and images, I was not just looking at cool art, it was art created by artists who had never seen what they were creating. The telephone room was not just an antique, I was now “a guest from Missouri who longed to contact home after a long week of travel.” I wasn’t just looking at the antique fridge, I was now a “poor person who was too poor to even know about such technology.” Each room we passed by had a story, which paired up with the history lessons from Professor Bailly to create an immersive experience. 

One of my favorite parts of the villa was the stained glass and attention to detail. I found myself looking for seahorses and ships across the ceilings and windows. I found myself trying to “pervert” my mind and try not to just see a flower painting, rather understand the Rococo painting’s true intention and double meaning. However, when we left the building and reached the gardens, I was surprised to actually enjoy the greenery of the landscape. I had expected to find just a couple of trimmed trees and mazes, but I found myself actually enjoying the nature’s beauty without the worry of mosquitos, like in the Deering Estate hike. As we walked through the gardens, I liked to imagine how it must have been living in this era. Walking through the mazes I felt like a noble in Versailles taking an afternoon stroll. 

I liked the ship bow and was interested in hearing that J.D insisted on giving the mermaid a “breast reduction.” Someone behind me conspired that since he didn’t give the mermaid a “breast augmentation” it fed into the theory of James Deering’s sexual orientation. It got me thinking of the secret doors that led to his bedroom, the way he decorated his villa and the sexual innuendo throughout Vizcaya’s art. The “J’ai Dit” door caught my attention, because it made me put everything together. Sure, there is a ton of attention to detail and a lot of mystery that we can try to uncover, but maybe some things were just not that deep. For example, James Deering added an arch because he simply said so, instead of because he won the victory. On the other hand, if James Deering was clever enough to secretly write his initials “J.D.” into a window by saying “J’ai Dit” (meaning “I said” in french), then maybe some things are deeper, so for now I’ll keep examining and wondering.  

Downton Miami as Text

“Is this really the best we can do, Miami?” by Isabel Brime of FIU at Downton Miami on March 11, 2022.

Downtown Miami Images Taken & Edited By Isabel Brime

I’ve lived in Miami for 18 years and gone Downtown lots of times so I knew this lecture wasn’t going to be new, or so I thought. When I got to Downtown Miami for class that day, I felt like a tourist that had just gotten to Miami the day before. I had no idea where I was going or recognized any of the buildings I was in.  I’ve passed by Downtown Miami numerous amount of times, but out of all the stops we made that day, I had really only gone to one: the Miami River. I had also passed the Miami Circle National Historic Landmark, but I only knew that spot as “another dog park.” 

Visiting the Miami River was the first time I felt some sort of relief as a miamian, because I had been there before quite a couple of times. I thought I recognized that view very well, but I was surprised to hear that some years ago it had waterfalls and clear water, which made me wish that we would have done a better job at protecting the water. When we got to the Miami Circle, I felt that familiar feeling again, because I had spent my birthday (which was a couple weeks before the lecture) in the restaurant right next to the Miami Circle. I was so conflicted, because I thought it was just a dog park with a random plaque that was going to talk about flowers, but knowing it was a structure built by the Tequesta really confused me. If this limestone bedrock really belonged to them, the least we could do is respect it, but instead it just got a small plaque and dog poop. 

Going to school in Miami, I expected to remember some of the historical landmarks we were visiting from history lessons, but I actually hadn’t heard about anything at all. Visiting William Wagner’s home was awesome, because I got to get a little historical perspective. This german man marrying a creole woman and having kids was redefining the norms. I had never heard of his name, yet he was an important part of Miami’s History. Two name I had heard over and over again were Flagler and Dade. So, I was surprised and angered to learn that his place in history was bringing in segregation to Miami. He’s celebrated and praised for his role in shaping Miami, but he also brought in suffering by bringing segregation to Miami. Our county is literally named after Dade and finding out he wasn’t even that great of a major was anticlimactic.  His plaque makes their loss in the battlefield seem devastating, but when they killed those defending their land, it was a victory. 

“Is this really the best we can do, Miami?” Images Taken and Edited by Isabel Brime

I thought that my visit to Downtown Miami would make me appreciate the history behind this beautiful city I get to call home, but instead I was left in a conflicted state. I know that we can’t go back into the past and change things, but I do think we can make present decisions to pay our respects. Although some attempts have been made, I don’t see any real change. Flagler is highly celebrated, while Wagner and the Tequesta are left behind in history.  A hidden  statue of a Tequesta created by someone who doesn’t even know what they really looked like is not enough. A plaque in an archeological site, where dogs get to poop all day is not enough. Adding a plaque that makes the Building a Whole Foods on top of a huge, important archeological burial site is not even close to enough!

A highlight of this Day was definitely visiting Naomi’s Ave (Ave 0) and running to the middle of the intersection just to take a picture and run back.
Image Taken By Isabel Brime

South Beach as Text

“Thank you, Barbara Baer Capitman” by Isabel Brime of FIU at South Beach on April 1, 2022.

South Beach Images Takes & Edited By Isabel Brime

South Beach was the only location out of all our excursions that I’ve visited before. So, I was excited to finally not have to worry about where I was going and how to get there. I thought this excursion would be easy peasy and something I’ve heard about a million times from when my parents toured our guests. I don’t know why I haven’t noticed the pattern yet, but, obviously, I was proven wrong. First of all, I accidentally got off on the port and added about 10 minutes to the GPS. Also, I had heard about art deco a bunch of times, but I didn’t even know what it meant or how to categorize it.  

I’ve always known Fisher Island as an elusive, exclusive community, so it was so interesting to find out that originally it was the only place that Black workers and families were allowed on the beach. I had no idea that Dorsy, the first black millionaire in Miami, had to buy an island or else they weren’t even allowed to cross by that area, much less stay there. Since we began the day with a dreary tone, I thought it was going to mean that the rest of the tour would have a negative tone. However, after we acknowledged the history we got to learn about a bit more positive and vibrant side of Miami Beach. Although learning that Miami started flourishing because money was coming in from the cocaine industry in the 80s and 90s, it wasn’t necessarily such a depressing topic that we heavily discussed. I think this excursion was a great refresh to focus on the liveliness of Miami, rather than just reprimand it for its mistakes in the past. 

As we walked past ocean drive, I liked looking at all the buildings and trying to recognize what type of building it was. I was quick to recognize Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival, but I was not able to recognize Miami Modern as easily. I am a big fan of the number 3 so finding out that these buildings used the rule of 3 really called out to me. I am not the biggest architecture connoisseur, but I really appreciated the art deco buildings. As silly as it sounds, I really felt identified with the art deco buildings. My life is like the three floors and neon colors that characterize these structures. I think it speaks perfectly to what Miami is. It’s vibrant and full of light, like the pastel, neon lights that characterize art deco architecture. The three sea port windows are an homage to boats, because we are on the waterfront. The buildings are quite flat, like Miami’s geography, yet still have life and manage to avoid being dull. Just like art deco buildings borrowed Egyptian design ideas like the ziggurat roof lines, Miami borrows the cultures of the many immigrants that inhabit the city. At first I didn’t get why art deco architecture attempted to imitate a washing machine, but I kind of understand. Technology represents the latest innovations and it shows creativity, hard work, energy and power. These traits are desirable, so it makes sense to try to replicate them. Miami really is like these buildings, because all the traits we can use to describe the architecture style can apply to the people of Miami. Miamias are vibrant, energetic, and hard-working people that come from many cultures and countries, but come together as one. So, thank you, Barbara Baer Capitman, for preserving a piece of what makes Miami, Miami.

%d bloggers like this: