Karina Gonzalez: Paris 2022


“A Foreigner’s Journey in Paris,” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU throughout July 2022

It is always easier to say that you can imagine yourself living in another city or another country, even if the native tongue in said location is foreign to you. Maybe you convince yourself that you could adjust, that you could learn.

Or maybe, you tell yourself that you could never see yourself in a new setting. Leaving your comfort zone? That seems a bit too intimidating.

A View of Paris // CC Karina Gonzalez

But what we, as individuals, tend to overlook, is that we will never know if we do not try. Human beings have been known to be explores and voyagers from the beginning of time. Before modern day technology, humans would migrant around the Earth following landmarks, nature, and marked paths by migrants who journeyed before them. Today, we have an easier way of doing so: GPS, World Wide Web, review rating applications, and so much more. 

Over the last 31 days, I have been exploring France and her beautiful locations. I have specifically taken an interest in exploring Paris, France. One of the grand accessibilities that the French government offers its residents and tourists, is a convenient way of public transport through metro lines, trolleys, and buses. Not only is this a financial benefactor for the average resident or tourist, but it also takes an “eco” approach in reducing pollution. More forms of public transportation, essentially decreases the necessity of private transportation (meaning less automobiles and more trains that can hold larger amounts of people). Thus, possibly reducing carbon emissions released into the atmosphere by idle automobiles.

In any foreign location one visits, it is very simple to visit the main attractions and go about one’s day. But how will you meet the real city or country if you never explore the places that are not advertised? 

That was the goal when facing the enormous city of Paris- to meet more of city than just what meets the popular eyes.

With that in mind, my group and I selected Metro Line 12 to explore throughout our study abroad program. Not only was this metro line full of different stops over Paris, with different social and economic statuses, but it was also filled with different cultures that we had not been exposed to.

Without further ado, I present to you, “A Foreigner’s Journey in Paris.”

Stop One: Abbesses [M12-stop 9]

A Party in Paris, Without the Cost of Paris

Whether you are admire analyzing art or you simply enjoy looking at it, have you ever wondered where art comes from? The truth is art has been around since the earliest civilization. It has taken various forms, yes, but nonetheless, the creation of art has always existed. But what has also been around since the earliest civilization, has been forms of payment: whether it be through trade or through something of monetary value. 

And Paris was no exception to this.

As an aspiring artist in the 18th -19th century, it was difficult to gain profit or recognition and live a comfortable socio-economic life. It was even more difficult having been part of the minority class. But artists had a way of making their socio-economic standards work while they pursued their goals. 

La Maison Rose // CC Karina Gonzalez

By the 19th century, Montmartre still had not been established within the city limits of Paris. Thus, making it an exception to the alcohol tax imposed on the wine. Over time, Montmartre became the birthplace of modern painting, housing various artists such as: Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Cortot, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Cezanne, Gauguin Lautrec, and many others.

Apartment of Vincent and Theo Van Gogh // CC Karina Gonzalez

But this location was not just an area for artists to go to because of the lighting and inexpensive rent, this was also the place to party! Because of the city limits, Montmartre became the home of the carbonate for the people of Paris. Various types of artists would play, sing, and enjoy life freely. 

Montmartre became the birthplace for modern day culture we know today. 

To reach the second most visited location in now Paris, one would have to travel down Metro Line 12 all the way until the infamous Abbesses stops. While today it serves as the station located in one of the liveliest areas of Paris, it was formally known as woman’s abbey placed under the protection of King Louis VI after uprisings with the papacy formed. In order to calm tensions, King Louis VI claims various windmills, vineyards, and a small church that he dedicates to the “martyr of Saint-Dennis.”As a result, the “Abbey of the Ladies of Montmartre” became one of the most significant institutions within the 13th century.

Stop Two: Pigalle [M12-stop 10]

The Scandalous and Sensual District of Paris

One of the biggest culture shocks to face is that of sex. Various cultures and religion’s view sex through separate lenses; some praising its freedom, and some worshipping its intimacy. Either way, each present the topic of sex as a humanely action conducted for various reasons.

While Paris is known for its open sexuality, dating back before the Renaissance era, there is a district that became designated as the sex district of Paris: Pigalle.

Starting a bit before the entrance of Pigalle, but commonly associated with it, is the infamous Moulin Rouge. The Moulin Rouge cabaret is located at the bottom foot of the Montmartre hills and has been standing since October 1889. Both Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler placed their efforts in creating a location dedicated to entertainment for a diverse audience

Moulin Rouge // CC Karina Gonzalez

Today the Moulin Rouge is known for its divine entertainment of topless dancers and fine dining, but it had gone through its fair transitions throughout history, starting as a carbonate, transitioning to a theater, a dancing club, then back to the restoration of Moulin Rouge carbonate. Beginning as a prestigious carbonate for a select society, the Moulin Rouge was a place to admire the dancers and dance yourself. There was no shaming in the open sexuality.

One of the most famous dances that was home to the Moulin Rouge was the Cancan dance. Although the dance was not born at the Rogue, it definitely did earn a bit of its popularity there. Two of the most renowned dancers are La Goulue, a performer known to have given Moulin Rouge its fame with her exotic dancing and expressions, and Nini Pattes en l’air, known to be the first to teach and dance Cancan professionally.

But if you keep walking down the street of the Moulin Rouge, you will find yourself in a very interesting area.

Unlike other parts of Paris, known for the lights or art, Pigalle, also known as Pig Alley, is known for its open sexuality. Around the entire district, Paris’s red-light district is filled with sex shops, adult theaters, and history.

One of the interesting aspects about Pigalle, known for its raunchy behavior during the Second World War when Allied soldiers would “blow off steam” in the district, is how open it is to the topic of sex. Over history there has been constant conflicts between ideologies and religion, often revolving around the topic of sex.

However, living in the 21st century, the idea of there being a district that embraces sexuality rather than shaming it, seems to be empowering as a human being- specifically women, who have often been judged on our “virtue” and “innocence.” Additionally, Pigalle district not only embraces the sexuality of men and women, but it also is home to some historic figure performers, such as Josephine Baker, who not only expressed the beauty of Black-American culture, but also served as one of the most important figures in the French Resistance. 

Stop Three: Madeleine [M12-stop 15]

From Rich to Richer Paris

Growing up near the Design District of Miami, FL, art and fashion have never been too far from me; walking down Madeleine felt like an extension of home.

The Madeleine district in Paris is the Rodeo Drive of Beverly Hills, California or Coral Gables of Miami, Florida. With over 20 designer stores, including Prada, Gucci, Versace, Rolex, etc., each has its own interior design to welcome its customers. Although originally a rural district, Madeleine is now commonly known for its luxurious street located on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Students of FIU Honors meet Jack Harlow // CC Karina Gonzalez

Although walking through and down the streets of Madeleine were impressive, including a run-in with celebrity Jack Harlow, I cannot say that I felt very moved by the materialistic world of Paris around me.

From store tour guides to champagne offerings while you shop, the stores in Madeleine are designed to allow consumers to feel the upmost important while they spend. But I cannot help but what wonder if the attention to detail given to consumers should be praised or reprised?

On one hand, it is admirable that consumers spending large amounts of money on clothing or accessories be treated a certain type of way. But on the other, it feels almost vain to know that it requires an individual to have the financial needs to be treated that certain way.

Walking into the store Gucci felt nerve wrecking- not only because of the price tag on the clothing, but also because of the stigma around who should be in the store. As a university student dressed in casual attire, it felt almost judgmental to walk into a prestigious store with a carpet flooring and workers dressed in suits and ties. Although the service was without prejudice, there was no doubt that more attention would have been given to an individual who looked like they had more wealth.

In a way, my experience made me question individuals such as Vivian Ward, from Pretty Woman, who were treated with prejudice and judgement for their physical appearance- though they had money. It also made me take into account the many social experiments that have occurred of individuals who look a certain type of way when walking into the high-end stores and are treated differently.

To what extreme are were no longer judged on our wealth’s physicality rather than just our character?

Stop Four: Concorde [M12-stop 16]

Crossing Into the Small Palace

By far, one of my most favorite locations to have stumbled on, has been Le Petit Palais, also known as the Small Palace. Originally designed for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, Le Petit Palais has continued to stand as a museum for decorative murals and sculptures created between 1903-1925, since the year 1902.

The Palais, in itself, was breathtaking. Consumed by a “trapezium shape,” the architecture of the building takes on a mix of both modern and traditional architecture. Similar to some infamous government buildings back in the States, Le Petit Palais has various similarities in its structure that resemble those of the White House and Congress; such as the four wings that surround the construction itself.

While the architecture of Le Petit Palais is beautiful, that is not what called my full attention.

Grimaces et misère – Les Saltimbanques // CC Karina Gonzalez

As an admirer of art, I always tend to try to analyze what is in front of me.

What is the artist trying to show? Why are they showing it? How is their message being portrayed? These are all questions I ask myself to try to find the deeper meaning behind just a pretty canvas or statue.

I was captivated almost instantly walking through the Palais. Upon entering to the left, a viewer, such as myself, would find themself entranced in the new sculpture gallery added in 2018. Similar to that of the Louvre, Le Petit Palais inagurates marbled sculptures from the 19th century. While there are Roman statues, personifying the beauty of the feminine Gods- many of the statues reflect the “exuberance and proliferation of styles in the late 19th century.

The statues, on their own, embarked a new feeling of inspiration in me. Not only were there statues admiring the true beauty of women, not Goddesses, but there were sculptures admiring the true work of the arts.

La Danseuse Sacha-Lyo – Serge Youriévitch // CC Karina Gonzalez

One of the most significant sculptures that I found myself drawn to was “La Danseuse Sacha-Lyo” (The dancer Sacha-Lyo) created by Serge Youriévitch in 1933. The ballerina sculpture is one of a few sister sculpture, who’s name take on its portrayer. I found myself entranced by the amount of detail put into the dancers body, muscles, bones. One of the greatest things mankind can do is acknowledge the agony and pain put into the arts; although the results are beautiful, the process is painful.

The 33 sculptures added to the new sculpture gallery was not the only form of art that captivated me. Continuing into the next room of collections, was a series of feminine paintings embracing the sexuality of women. There was no shame, there was no humility- just the simple pleasures and beauty of women.

One specific painting that was embarked my mind was Le Sommeil, created by the artist Gustave Courbet. Courbet followed realism within his painting style, however, he “incorporated the drama and excitement of Romanticism in portrayals of everyday life of rural people.” He captured the raw human emotion of women enjoying the pleasures of life without shaming them for their open sexuality.

Le Sommeil – Gustave Courbet // CC Karina Gonzalez

By far, I can say that Le Petit Palais not only opened my eyes in more to the art work, but left a mark in my heart when it came to the embodiment and admiration of women through art.

Stop Five: Assemblee Nationale [M12-stop 17]

Politics in Paris

Every strong nation needs a strong government; every strong government needs its strong people. This has been the mentality I have had since I began pursuing my career in Political Science. I have always been one passionate to defend and advocate for others who cannot advocate enough for themselves, whether it be on a personal, academic, or political level. 

Amongst traveling through the different parts of Paris, I found myself visiting a site that, too, reminded me once again why I chose to my academic and future career path. It was inspiring to know that even over 4,000 miles away from home, a foreign country such as France, can continue to inspire me to pursue my passions.

The Assemblée Nationale located in Paris, France is seen as the “Congress” of the United States; but this historical building is also a significant “pinnacle of French institutional life and the effective demonstration of democracy at work.” Home to the French Parliament over the last two centuries, the Assemblée became home to the the members of the third estate who declared themselves to be the “National Assembly.”

Le Assemblée Nationale // CC Karina Gonzalez

After the events of 1789, the third estate, which were the common people, framed a constitution in which the monarchy was abolished. Therefore, the power of taxation were no longer left to the king. Since the time of 1789, the French Parliament has remained standing through the ups and downs of the French pendulum.

Fortifications around the Assemblée protect the building from any intrusions. While construction was occurring during my time of visit, the outside of the French Parliament’s home remains open to the public’s view. With a surrounding of cartoons that explain the history the Assemblée Nationale has provided for the people of France; this building remains one of the greatest creations embellishing the strong government of France.

Stop Six: Solferino [M12-stop 18]

The Paris Museum That Left an Impression

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

Edgar Degas

Whether you are a critic of art or simply an admirer, there is no greater feeling than seeing a work of art and resonating with it. Art, in itself, is left to the viewer/interpreter. It matters not if you are educated, or if you have a higher social status- all that matters is that you are able to interpret what an artist has created. However, this can be tricky, for what I interpret in one way, you could interpret in another.

Traveling through Paris, France, there has been one significant museum whose history not only left an impression on me, but its creators also left another impression. The museum, famously known as Musée d’Orsay, is home to the impressionist artists, as early as 1818. Impressionists were challenging traditional classical art, at the time, by painting subjects that had no connection to either religion nor to a higher social class- but, instead, something that everyone could relate to.

This is why you often see famous paintings of Monet, that revolve around nature or seasons- admiring truly what is in front of us. A type of artwork that could be acknowledged and admired by the common person.

One of the most significant artworks that I bore witness to at Musée d’Orsay was the contrasting pieces of Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe by Monet and Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe by Manet. Across from each other, you can see the significant and distinctive details that the artists portrayed within their canvases. While Monet focuses on the nature of people acting right in society, hence the manner they are dressed and the manner in which they are interacting with each other; Manet, focuses on the true desire of people. Manet cares not for whether he will be held accountable to societies standards for painting absurdness; he painted, with a large hint of sexuality and the glory of human sexuality and interaction.

Claude Monet vs. Édouard Manet // CC Karina Gonzalez

Monet and Manet were not the only artists that left an impression in my mind. In fact, there were over 10 artists, including Vincent Van Gogh and William Bouguereau that also left a mark. I believe that one of the reasons why I admire these artists so significantly, is because of how against society they were. It mattered not that they did not have money, nor if they were accepted into Royal Academy for the Arts- all that mattered was that they allowed the art they made to be interpreted by the public.

I wonder what I would do, as an artist myself. Would I go against society’s standards and create the art I think should be significant, or would I try to fit into society’s standards and create what the higher social class would interpret?

Stop Seven: Rennes [M12-stop 21]

Luxembourg’s Feminine Garden

From buildings to green spaces, Paris has shown me all her beauties. Another one of the largest culture shocks I bore witness to while traveling was the efficient incorporation of public green spaces. Unfortunately, Miami’s suburban area does not focus heavily on recreational parks or gardens- at least not in the way Paris does.

I find this a bit tragic, as one of the most beautiful aspects of traveling France has been not only seeing the beautiful green gardens, but also, seeing people interacting with one another in person not remote.

Throughout my travels of M12, I found myself gliding down the pebble walkway of the Jardin du Luxembourg. This 60-acre Jardin, created in 1611 by Catherine D’Medici, is known not only for its beauty, but also for its vast access of public amenities. Both locals and tourists can be found wandering around the gardens, visiting different focal points to sit, relax, and socialize.

However beautiful the gardens naturalistic aspect was, Jardin du Luxembourg does more than just captivate you with its greenery. The Gardens are known to embark on femininity and emphasize the beauty and strength of women. Within the Jardin there are about twenty statues of previous queens of France placed, along with an additional ten that empower women; including statues such as The Statue of Liberty, Monument to Delacroix, Stendhal, and more.

As a woman constantly facing the judgmental presence of the world and of one’s own government, it felt empowering knowing that there was a Jardin within Paris that honored women in a way. It feels as though women are often overlooked for their “lack” of contribution to society, in traditional times. When the reality is that if women were given the attention to acknowledge their efforts at the time, there would be no attention left to give the men.

Stop Eight: Notre Dame des Champs [M12-stop 22]

Café Culture Around the World

It was impressive, on its own, to visit Paris and get a taste of Parisian culture… but it was more impressive to taste culture worldwide while in Paris, France. A few steps outside of Notre Dame des Champs, is a little district known for its Café Culture. Not only does this area provide a vast majority of brasseries and restaurants, but it does so for other cuisine tastes besides that of Paris. 

Indiana Restaurant // CC Karina Gonzalez

Throughout our journey, we stumbled upon the café culture district, where we were exposed to various drinks and foods from countries such as: AngleTerre, Autriche, Trappiste, Canada, Hollande, Japan, and many more. It was fascinating to see the variety of options available around the district, allowing Parisians and tourists to expand their own tastebuds.

While the true architecture of the district was not as modern as Montparnasse Bienvenüe, which resides only a few blocks away, they primary ideology of the district is what makes it so different from any of the other locations I had been to. To be able to travel to Paris and still be able to try cuisine from other sections of France and sections of the world- to me has no comparison.

Falstaff Brasseries // CC Karina Gonzalez

I came to Paris with the intention of learning about a new culture; that included trying its new food, drinks, traditions, and language. I believe that this district is an amazing steppingstone in attaining the perspective of “trying new things,” that I am aiming for.

Stop Nine: Montparnasse Bienvenüe [M12-stop 23]

Older Architecture meets Modern Paris

I always get astonished when I enter older looking towns, having always been surrounded by skyscrapers and newer glass buildings. However, throughout my time in Paris, France, I have adapted to the older architecture of the buildings around me- admiring its age and its history behind its blueprints.

Tour Montparnasse // CC Karina Gonzalez

When wandering the metro stops of M12, we stumbled through Montparnasse Bienvenüe- passing through one of the most modern buildings around Paris named Montparnasse Tower. The Montparnasse Tower offers Paris a different look when it comes to its architecture. Serving as 210-metre glass office skyscraper, the building allows visitors and tourists to reach the top of the building and view Paris panoramically.

From its original construction date of 1969, the Tower, now referred to as Tour Montparnasse, served as the tallest skyscraper in France until 1973.

District of Montparnasse Bienvenüe //CC Karina Gonzalez

However, many Persians and admirers of the traditional French architecture could argue against the construction of such a modern skyscraper being built. Around the Tower, the district consists of older looking buildings, none of which aligning with the architecture of Montparnasse.

While it was interesting to see an odd-ball building standing its ground since the early 1970’s, I wondered how the rest of France would have been today- had it continued this type of architecture. Does modern time call for modern architecture, or should we continue the construction of older styles?

Throughout my travels in Paris, I have taken into account that much of its architecture continues to follow that of olden times. As explained by Professor Bailly of Florida International University, although architectures have attempted to add modern day skyscrapers, Persians are more against such advantageous. This was an interesting intake to have in a foreign country, seeing as the majority of buildings that surround my home city are, in fact, modern day skyscrapers.

Stop Ten: Port de Versailles [M12-stop 29]

Japan in Paris

From one metro to another, I immersed into a new country. Not literally, but virtually. COVID-19 has opened the virtual door to many new adventures for individuals, and Paris has been one of its finest customers.

Port de Versailles Expo Park – Fever Up // CC Karina Gonzalez

When exploring the Expo Park, Port de Versailles, I found myself traveling through different cultures and interest groups. From a dinosaur exhibit to an urban garden, to then an immersive Japanese exhibit, Paris offered a new variety of openings for individuals.

Exploration of Okinawa Waters // CC Karina Gonzalez

One of the most fascinating experiences I had while exploring the park was my travel to Japan. The €17 ticket took us through different parts of Japan, explaining not only its geographical beauty, but also its culture. The immersive experience began with the exploration of the Okinawa waters, viewing the coral reefs and marine animals taking residence within the sea. The projections then switched to the mountains of Hokkaido Island, allowing viewers to experience the sight of snow throughout the island.

Traditional Labor // CC Karina Gonzalez

As beautiful as the geographical projections were, however, one of the most beautiful moments was the collaboration of Japanese locals giving their testimony of their daily input on their culture. From the laboring of samurais to the creation of tea, the Japanese locals each told their story in how they have followed their ancestor’s way in continuing their own legacy. While one would assume that only older individuals would have the experience and maturity to comment on their culture, even the young had something to add onto.

One of the youngest testimonies given was of a young girl, around the age of 10, who practiced Karate- enduring the practice of Japan’s Kata. The prestigious discipline needed to attain a black belt, that this young girl is able to obtain, left me speechless.

Traveling to Japan virtually while in Paris, made me not only admire Japanese culture even more, but it also made me view Paris differently. Not only did Paris open its arms to the virtual world, but it also expanded in allowing different ethnicities to learn and become aware of a different culture that exists in the world.

My View

Personal views of France // CC Karina Gonzalez

In complete honesty, Paris has changed the way I view certain aspects of the world. Being from such a cultivated area, I always believed that there would not be any other location that would compare to the melting pot of Miami, FL. However, I could not have been more wrong.

Personal views of France // CC Karina Gonzalez

Throughout my journey in France, I have learned about various religions, cultures, cuisines, art, music, and so many other creations. The exploration taken throughout Line 12 opened my own eyes, as well. I was exploring, with two other students, a part of Paris that I had never even heard about it- and I could not have been happier with what I was exposed to.

Personal views of France // CC Karina Gonzalez

As the daughter of two immigrant parents, traveling Paris, France has truly made me appreciate not just what my parents had to overcome, but what thousands of immigrants overcome on the daily. Imagine being in a country where you do not speak the native tongue, nor have you ever used their common form of transportation. The intimidation that confronts you is not kind.

There are feelings of joy, feelings of frustration, and then there is confusion. Various times throughout my exploration, I found myself pondering over how my parents and other immigrants may have felt when they crossed paths in a foreign country. Did they move past the discomfort of being a stranger in a city that welcomed them, or did they choose to not welcome the city and remain comfortable in what they knew?

Work Cited

10 epic sculptures: Jardin du Luxembourg. Paris Insiders Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.parisinsidersguide.com/10-epic-sculpture-jardin-du-luxembourg.html

Afrenchcollection.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.afrenchcollection.com/the-history-of-montmartre-paris/ 

Building history. Petit Palais. (2016, April 7). Retrieved from https://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en/the-petit-palais/building-history 

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Josephine Baker. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Josephine-Baker 

Fosca, P., Fix-Masseau, Lejeune, L., Manet, E., Courbet, G., & Cézanne, P. (2021, October 18). History of the collections. Petit Palais. Retrieved from https://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en/content/history-collections 

Gustave Courbet: Romanticism, drama and vigorous painting. Cassone. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cassone-art.com/magazine/article/2014/11/gustave-courbet-romanticism-drama-and-vigorous-painting/?psrc=around-the-galleries 

History of the French Cancan. Come to Paris. (1065, January 1). Retrieved from https://www.cometoparis.com/secrets-and-stories-of-paris/history-of-the-french-cancan-s917 

Japan immersive experience in Paris expo porte de versailles. Gedeon Media Group. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.gedeonmediagroup.com/en/2022/04/25/japan-immersive-experience-in-la-paris-expo-porte-de-versailles/ 

Jeanette. (2022, June 30). Montmartre history & the impressionism painters. iTravelWithArt. Retrieved from https://www.itravelwithart.com/montmartre-history-the-impressionism-painters/ 

Kriegh, A. (n.d.). Luxembourg gardens. W&L Paris. Retrieved from https://omeka.wlu.edu/wluparis/items/show/86 

Le secret derrière les noms de stations de métro : Abbesses. – Paris ZigZag | Insolite & Secret. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pariszigzag.fr/secret/histoire-insolite-paris/le-secret-derriere-les-noms-de-stations-de-metro-abbesses 

L’histoire du cabaret Moulin Rouge. PARISCityVISION. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pariscityvision.com/fr/cabarets/moulin-rouge/histoire-cabaret 

Luxembourg gardens: Parks. Home – Project for Public Spaces. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pps.org/places/luxembourg-gardens 

Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck. Tour Montparnasse 56. (2021, October 11). Retrieved from https://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/en/ 

Musée d’Orsay: 19 must-see paintings. Paris Insiders Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.parisinsidersguide.com/musee-d-orsay-must-see-paintings.html 

Nag, U. (2022, February 22). Karate Kata: History, role in martial arts, rules and scoring. Olympics.com. Retrieved from https://olympics.com/en/featured-news/karate-kata-martial-arts-history-how-many-forms-meaning-rules-scoring 

Nationale, A. (n.d.). History and heritage. History and heritage – Welcome to the english website of the French National Assembly – Assemblée nationale. Retrieved from https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/langues/welcome-to-the-english-website-of-the-french-national-assembly/history-and-heritage 

Nationale, A. (n.d.). Welcome to the English website of the French National Assembly. Welcome to the english website of the French National Assembly – Assemblée nationale. Retrieved from https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/langues/welcome-to-the-english-website-of-the-french-national-assembly#node_9511 

The papacy. THE PAPACY | signification, définition dans le dictionnaire Anglais de Cambridge. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/fr/dictionnaire/anglais/papacy 

Team, written by I. N. S. I. D. R., & Team, I. N. S. I. D. R. (2020, March 30). (2020) what to see in the paris red light district – guide to Paris pigalle. INSIDR. Retrieved from https://insidr.co/visit-paris-red-light-district/ 

Karina Gonzalez: France as Text 2022

paris as text

“(Partially) Revolutionizing Paris,” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU in Paris on July 2nd, 2022

“I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am.”

Gustave Eiffel

By the end of the 1889 construction, it would have been impossible to predict the impact the Iron Lady would have all over the world. Though, a part of me cannot help but think of the step forward the Eiffel Tower took in revolutionizing France, yet the step back it took in revolutionizing equality for women.

Having grown up in the United States, Lady Liberty had always been one of my favorite statues to have seen. The connection I felt knowing that the Statue of Liberty stood for the people of the nation, as well as justice and freedom, was beyond recognition. In a way, I wanted to feel the same of the Eiffel Tower. Although the symbolic meaning varied from that of Lady Liberty, it was incredible to know that an engineering creation that was not favored by the public in 1889, still stood today as one of the most famous creations of all time.

The Eiffel Tower was not built to represent the freedom. However, it was a symbol designed for the World Fair commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the French Revolution; a revolution whose goal was to eliminate the injustices and rights of the monarchy.

It is believed by some historians that modern industrialization for France kicked off in the 1830’s; thus, followed by the engineering and creation of the Eiffel Tower 57 years later (1887). Although the structure and name of the Iron (Eiffel) Lady was created by Gustave Eiffel (entrepreneur), there are few other men who take the spotlight for her creation, such as: Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier (engineers) and Stephen Sauvestre (architect).

Being in front of the Tower was intimidating, to be frank. Knowing that one of the most iconic statues created, that I had only ever seen in movies or pictures online, was in front of me, felt surreal. In a way, I even felt a bit inspired hearing the how much opposition was received for the creation and engineering of the Tower, even after she was built and was receiving fame. Artists would, and still do, refer to the Tower as a phallic structure- comparing its architecture to be phallic. But the closer I looked at the tower, and the more I learned about it, the more uncertain I felt.

The Eiffel Tower took a large step forward for modern industrialization and implementing the visible line between science and church. At the time, only churches were seen as the tallest buildings because they were closest to the Heavens or Gods; the Eiffel Tower did away with the thought of allowing only churches to be the tallest buildings and became one of the tallest free-standing buildings in the world. Around the Tower, 72 names can be depicted as the scholars and scientists that worked on the creation of the Tower herself. One very pressing detail that can be noticed, however, is the lack of female scholars. 

It is important to note that although industrialization was growing and women’s rights were beginning to be recognized, it was not until 1944 when women’s suffrage was obtained in France. This had caught me a bit by surprise, after researching that Marie-Sophie Germain, played a vital role, known for her number theory and elasticity, in the construction of the Eiffel Tower. Marie-Sophie received recognition from the Institute de France and became the first woman to attend the Academy of Sciences, yet no recognition was given on either of the four sides of the Eiffel Tower.

Additionally, while there is little-to-no information on the duties that Gustave Eiffel’s daughter, Claire Eiffel, had, she is also known to have helped her father carry out the execution and succession of the Eiffel Tower.

Seeing and climbing the Eiffel Tower left an impressionable feeling that surely has no comparison. However, knowing that 132 years have passed and there has been little to no mention of the forgotten women who helped built the Tower, is unsettling. Especially, living in an era where women’s rights fluctuate and are continuously infringed on in various parts of the world. 


“The Gilded Palace of Versailles,” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU in Versailles on July 3rd, 2022

“Whatever side I take; I know well that I will be blamed.”

Louis XIV

If we were to point fingers at every individual who has done harm to mankind, the honest truth is that we would never stop pointing. Unfortunately, the world we live in today, has been built from both positive steps forward and cruel step backs in society. King Louis XIV and his creations are no exception.

The Versailles we know today, is not the same Versailles that existed before the rule of King Louis XIV. Its original purpose served as a hunting lodge built by Louis XIV’s father, Louis XIII. The visits to the chateau of Versailles began at a young age. Gradually, Louis XIV began developing a fondness for the chateau, eventually deciding to undertake the renovations and new architecture of the location.

However, even kings have their own fears.

Having entered into the royal world of responsibilities at the age of four, King Louis XIV lived a difficult, but sheltered life in the eyes of the common people. Between the years of 1648-1653, the young King faced the civil conflict within France; disputes between the monarchy and the Parliament de Paris eventually reached the aristocracy. The young King quickly learned from what he bared witness to.

The Royal Family did not always take residence at the Versailles Palace, however, that came after. Originally, the family resided in the “Louvre Palace, then moving to Tuileries, alternating with stints at the Châteaux of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Vincennes, and Fontainebleau” before finally staying at the Versailles Palace. Many, specifically the Noble, undermined the ability of King Louis XIV. With this in mind, his life was always greatly at risk of extortion and even death.

The embodiment of Versailles created a sovereign vocal point for the Royal family, making it almost impossible for the nobility to plot against the throne. The King was in control of everything, because the King’s architectural plans for Versailles consisted of housing the whole court.

King Louis XIV, as a King, did not serve the common people to the best of his ability. In fact, the creation of Versailles was done at a time when France did not have the finances to spare- nor did the people of France have the resources to live their daily lives. People were starving, and they were dying, but Louis XIV’s vision of creating Versailles at the center point of France continued straight ahead. However, there is no perfect ruler of a society.

While King Louis XIV did adjust his focus on his personal agenda, rather than the people who ruled over, he did provide the gateway to some of the most influential aspects we see today: the arts.

One of the main reasons Louis XIV patronized in the arts was because of his desire to glorify the power he had, but in the royal courts. Louis XIV, who had already grown up educated in writing and art, focused on showcasing the wealth and strength he, the Sun King, had over his kingdom. What better way to show the power you had, by throwing an exclusive grand ball or creating a 2,300 room (over 63,154 m2) palace?

His love for the arts was not all bad, though. Because of King Louis XIV, the Académie Royale de Danse was opened in 1661. This became the first dance institute established on the Western side of the world. The academy oversaw the training of upcoming artists and controlled what they would be studying. In a way, it was an extent of King Louis XIV’s power additionally, because he was molding what the upcoming artists could learn and create.

There are many negatives to what King Louis XIV did. While Versailles is now known as a landmark to France, at the moment, it was not. Having tried to imagine what a commoner would have felt at the time, makes me understand the injustice and rage they would have felt. Not only was Versailles built on the bones of the starving people of France, but it also heightened the tension between the monarchy and the people of France. The distance of Versailles from Paris was uncanny, and that was a severe consequence that the Royal Family would soon face when Louis XVI came into power.


“Continuing the Story of Claude Bloch,” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU in Lyon on July 8th, 2022

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”

Victor E. Frankl

There is nothing greater than overcoming one’s own pain.

The events that took place during the Holocaust, are often hushed upon. Whether it’s to conceal what really happened or to avoid an uncomfortable conversation. History cannot be rewritten or undone, for the events already took place. But what we can do is acknowledge that even the worst atrocities took place.

On July 8th, 2022, the students of Florida International University had the opportunity to hear the live testimony of Claude Bloch, a survivor of the Holocaust and Auschwitz’s concentration camp.

At the new age of 15, Claude Bloch, seen as an adult not a child, was arrested alongside his mother and grandfather by Nazi officials. Having tried to flee the persecutions that were occurring throughout Lyon, Bloch’s mother decided to move the family to Crépieux, a city near Lyon. They remained in a three-room apartment, renting from a family who was aware of the Bloch’s situation. The apartment they resided in, gave Claude the opportunity to continue his studies, while his mom would continue to work.

However, on June 29th, the German militia appeared at the footsteps of the apartment. Claude, his mother, and his grandfather were all arrested; his grandmother had left in the morning to go to a doctors appointment in Lyon.

Claude spoke of the Gestapo headquarters they were taken to; and how confused he was. He also mentioned how before leaving, his mother had sternly told him to wear pants instead of shorts.

Unfortunately, the interrogation process led to the death of Claude’s grandfather- who, to this day, Claude is still not sure why the Gestapo officials had him killed.

After various nights in the prison cells of Montluc Fort, Claude and his mother were reunited after being called “with luggage.” The emphasis on whether an inmate was leaving with or without luggage, meant whether they were being transferred or being executed. The transfer of location for Claude and his mother lasted from July 2nd to August 3rd; in which, he remained with his mother.

However, when August 3rd arrived, Claude, along with the other inmates and his mother, arrived at Birkenau, Auschwitz.

Immediately after arrival, Nazi soldiers ordered the inmates to create two lines: one for those “fit to work,” and another for the women and children. Throughout the chaos of creating those lines, Claude ran to his mother. He believed that since he had just recently turned 15 (the age where you are no longer considered to be a child), no one would know if he was a child or adult. However, as painful as it was, Claude’s mother pushed him aggressively back and told him to go to the other line.

Women who had children, were immediately seen as unfit to work. Men who were elder, were also seen as unfit to work.

That was the last time Claude saw his mother.

Claude was taken into Birkenau, where he was striped, shaved, and tattooed into nothing more than a number: B 3692). He remained as a prisoner of the Holocaust until the beginning of May 1945, enduring every form of dehumanization and abuse known.

It was May 10th, 1945, when Claude Bloch was liberated by the Swedish Red Cross. Having first arrived at Birkenau, Auschwitz, Claude has weighed 100lbs; having been rescued by the Red Cross, he weighed about 60lbs.

Claude Bloch’s story is not one you clap to, nor is it one you call him a hero for. For reasons that he still does not know, Claude survived the cruel events of abuse and dehumanizing caused in history; but he remains lost in the world.

Arriving back to Lyon after the war ended, meant attempting to go back to his normal life. But how could he, after everything that he saw and endured. Unfortunately, the world tended to share a very common mentality that we still see today: if you do not talk about it, then it never happened.

Claude may feel as though he is not a hero in his story, but he is one to future generations. Having the strength and courage to talk about the trauma he endured, to ensure that events like the Holocaust never occur again, is beyond incredible.

Strength is not “getting over it,” or pretending it never happened. Strength is rising above it all and continuing forward every day.

“You are not a victim. No matter what you have been through, you are still here. You may have been challenged, hurt, betrayed, beaten, and discouraged, but nothing has defeated you. You are still here! You have been delayed but not denied. You are not a victim; you are a victor. You have a history of victory.”

Dr. Steve Maraboli

Photographed by John W. Bailly


“The Silence of the Innocents,” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU in Izieu on July 10th, 2022

“When adults wage war, children perish.”

Elie Wiesel

The world has borne witness to the atrocities committed throughout World War II. It has faced the executioners and tyrants, the bystanders, the revolutionists; but, most of all, it has faced the innocents.

At the start of World War II in 1939, Germany occupied sections of France- allowing a section known as “Vichy France,” to remain less imposed by Nazi influence. However, by 1940, the Nazi’s had invaded Vichy France, also known as Free France. Thus, leaving all of France under German Nazi occupation.

For a time, a Farmhouse, 45 miles from Lyon, in a town known as Izieu, became a “safe haven” for 44 Jewish children. This haven/refugee provided Jewish children from various locations (France, Germany, Belgium, and Austria) food, education, and protection. Parents, as well as the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants, would make the decision to send their children to Maison d’Izieu, under the care of Dame d’Izieu, in hopes that their child would survive the persecution of Jews.

This farmhouse, known as “home,” for many children, was known as Maison d’Izieu.

Maison d’Izieu, located 45 miles from Lyon, overlooking the Rhône River Valley

I ask that imagine yourself as a parent or guardian if you are not one already. What would you do if you were being persecuted for your race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability- and you had a child?

Many children lived their days in the comfort of the Maison’s summer camp since 1943. It was the vital goal of the teachers and the protectors, who were risking their lives, to ensure that these children had the childhood they deserved. Ages varied from the youngest being 4-years old to the oldest being 17-years old.

Unfortunately, the wrath of the Nazi Commander, Klaus Barbie, came marching up the mountain April 1944.

Having obtained information of the refugee, Klaus Barbie gave the command to arrest the “child colony” that had been being protected for months. All 44 children and 5 adult protectors were arrested and sent to be interrogated immediately.

It is vital to illustrate commander Klaus Barbie, who was also known as France’s Butcher. Just months before D-Day, and in a hurry to avoid local authorities intervening, Barbie had these children sent to the transit camp at Drancy. They were then sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they faced a cruel ending.

All 44 children accounted for in the arrest were sentenced to death at Auschwitz-Birkenau through the gas chambers.

Not only is the cruel injustice of World War II already sickening, but more is knowing the unfortunate tale of the parents who sent their children to Maison d’Izieu and lived to tell the tale. There were various parents who awaited the return of their children after the war, only to find that the haven they had been sent to, was infiltrated by the Nazi.

We cannot change the history that has already been marked in time; but we can ensure that it does not repeat itself. 44 children and 5 protectors faced the death that over 70,000 other innocents faced.

And I ask myself, all these innocent deaths…Why?

Maison d’Izieu now serves as a memorial for the extermination of the 44 Jewish children and their protectors, in 1944. Director Dominique Vidaud and staff, facilitate the Maison and ensure that they tell the true tale of innocents that were silenced. Never forget.


“Thomas Howie, America’s Fallen Hero,” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU in Normandy on July 22nd, 2022

“The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of the liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Figure 1.1

It was April 12th, 1908, when a baby boy named Thomas D. Howie was born. An average boy growing up in Abbeville, possessing not only a competitive tribute on the athletic field, but also a yearning for academic progression. We often overlook that the soldiers who risked their lives during, but not only in, World War II, also lived a childhood- like you and I.

Figure 1.1

Thomas Howie was an athletic scholar. He graduated as president of his high school class and moved on to play football, boxing, and baseball in college. After college, he found his calling in the military- joining the Staunton Military Academy located in Virginia, as an English literature professor. However, Howie was also a member of the Army Reserve Corps before his transfer to the Virginia National Guard. [1]    

I tell the history of Thomas Howie before the war, to allow the audience to put themselves in Howie’s shoes. At just 32 years of age, Thomas Howie had already had his life intact; he went to school, graduated, found a job in the military, got married at the age of 24, and had a child at the age of 30. But in the 1941, at the age of 32, second lieutenant, Thomas Howie, and the Guard’s 116th Infantry Regiment was called into active duty.

In observance of World War II, the world bore witness to the capabilities of man. Some lusting for more power, some rising for justice, and others turning away in fear. Thomas Howie was known amongst his regiment, also known as the Stonewall Brigade, as a “team player who was more concerned with his men and their well-being than advancing his own stature within the regiment.” [2] Battle strategies vary from commander to commander, and while some could take a more aggressive approach, Howie focused more on agility and the safety of his men first.

On 6th June 1944, the 166th Regiment, whom was part of the 29th division, landed in Omaha beach during the D-Day invasion. Along the 50-mile stretch of the Normandy Coast, the five targeted beaches for landing were Utah Beach, Omaha, Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, and Sword Beach. Amongst the five, Omaha was given the name “bloody Omaha.” [3] While troops were able to advance within the other four beaches, the 116th Regiment faced stronger German opposition when trying to advance through Omaha. 

The advancement of Omaha Beach has been recognized as one of Howie’s achievements, for the way in which he commanded and conducted the soldiers in his regiment. Through small groups, the soldiers were able to eventually break through the German lines, making their way off Omaha Beach.

However, Howie’s 116th Regiment suffered the worst casualty loss (more than one thousand causalities). After successfully leading the 116th through Omaha beach, Major Thomas Howie was given command of the 3rd battalion, where he was then tasked to take the town of Saint-Lô (St Lô). 

Figure 3.1

Saint-Lô faced major destruction during D-Day throughout WWII. The town had a major road that led direct through Normandy, making St Lô was crucial to the United States. German forces recognized that without Saint-Lô, Allied Armies would not be able to cross into Normandy; therefore, the German occupation resided most strongly around the countryside with stronger armor and longer gun ranges. [3]  Saint-Lô became such a crucial town to isolate German forces near the coast. 

In times of war, however, we must be able to recognize the slaughter of innocents on both sides. Although Saint-Lô was crucial for British-American strategists in isolating German forces, many residents anguished in the bombings that took place on June 6 and onward. [4] 

The night before Operation Overload, the codename given for the Battle of Normandy, news of the bombing was released into the town via flyers. However, wind was said to have blown away the flyers- leaving the residents of Saint-Lô unprotected once the bombings took place. Bombing of the city occurred twice more; civilian casualties were high. [4]  

Figure 4.1 

In times of war, however, we must be able to recognize the slaughter of innocents on both sides. Although Saint-Lô was crucial for British-American strategists in isolating German forces, many residents anguished in the bombings that took place on June 6 and onward. [4] The night before Operation Overload, the codename given for the Battle of Normandy, news of the bombing was released into the town via flyers. However, wind was said to have blown away the flyers- leaving the residents of Saint-Lô unprotected once the bombings took place. Bombing of the city occurred twice more; civilian casualties were high. [4] 

Throughout his command over the 116th’s 3rd Battalion, Howie faced many difficulties aside from the heavy German occupation. Howie’s unit was exhausted and, with the large losses, weaker. That did not stop Howie from moving forward, however. Confidence and hope needed to be instilled on these soldiers, and that is exactly what their leader did. Even in the darkest of times, when it seemed as though the war would never end, Howie reminded his men that they had “survived the intense weeks of fighting.” [5] His efforts as commanding officer of the battalion did not end there, however. Major Thomas Howie also took it upon himself to spend time with the rest of the platoon and attain hot food for them when possible. [5] 

These small actions instilled hope on the men, but, unfortunately, Thomas Howie was not able to see the end battle.

It was July 17th when the 3rd Battalion was station one mile out from Saint-Lô. The Battalion was given the order to “relieve” the 2nd Battalion, who was isolated from the rest of the 116th Regiment. The plan was two combines both Battalions and enter Saint-Lô together. With a few words of encouragement given to the commanders, what would be Howie’s final goodbye to his officers was, “See you in St. Lo!” [5] 

Around 0430, the morning of July 17th, the 116th Regiment’s 3rd Battalion, Howie’s Battalion, attacked. While German opposition and artillery increased, Howie had given strict instructions to his men to “rely on bayonets and hand grenades.” Therefore, the men did not return fire; they were successful in bypassing German forces by relying on their agility. Once the 3rd Battalion had bypassed the German occupation, they were able to reach the 2nd Battalion stationed near La Madeleine. However, they were in no condition to join in entering Saint-Lô.

After informing the Regiment commander, Howie gave the order to move into the “eastern edge of the town,” alone. [6] Moments after giving the order, though, the Germans began to attack the command post. 

Howie’s concern for others safety, rather than his own, saved many men throughout his time. Unfortunately, it was his downfall. Once the mortar shell exploded, Howie’s focus was on ensuring that his men had taken shelter. In doing so, a mortar fragment pierced through his lung. His final words before he faced death were, “My God, I’m hit.” [6] 

At the age of 36, Thomas Howie had lived a life that had no comparison. Many question his battle strategies, stating that if he used a more aggressive response (rather than telling his men to use bayonets and hand grenades), the mortar shell explosion attack could have been avoided. The reality, however, is that there would have been no possible way to know what the outcome would have been if Howie chose a different strategy.

What we do know, however, was his dedication the men he led. It is difficult to imagine how one would react if a war were to take place today. But it is even more difficult to put your life on the line, in battle, when you have so much to lose. Thomas Howie began his life as a regular boy; just like we all did. He went to school, he played sports, he got married, and he had a child. 

Major Howie was respected amongst his Battalion and his Regiment. The day after his death, General Gerhardt made the order to continue moving forward once, what they hoped was the last battle, ended before entering Saint-Lô.

I’d like you to remember Howie’s final words to his commanding officers as they said goodbye. Do you remember them? Thomas Howie’s final goodbye was an assertive and confident goodbye, “See you in St. Lo.” It was a statement; there was no fear, there was no uncertainty. 

And so, upon his death, General Gerhardt ordered that Howie’s body be driven into St. Lo, on the hood of a jeep, draped in an American flag. Thomas Howie was the first American to enter St. Lo. [7] 

Figure 7.1 

There are no words to describe the honor and respect the soldiers deserved, not only for continuously fighting throughout WWII, but also for the efforts they made in ensuring that Thomas Howie received the peace he fought for. Americans, French individuals, and soldiers all wanted to pay tribute to him, the fallen hero of America.

[1]   Thomas D. Howie: The major of St. Lô. Warfare History Network.

1.1 Thomas D. Howie. Wikipedia

[2] Thomas D. Howie: The major of St. LôThe Stonewall Brigade. Warfare History Network.

[3]  Major Thomas Dry Howie3:50-4:25. YouTube.

3.1 Maps of World War II 1939-1945. Battle for St Lo, Jul. 10-18, 1944.

[4] The Capital of Ruins – Nine Facts About the Battle for Saint-Lô. MilitaryHistoryNow

4.1 Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, July 12). Operation overlord.

[5] Thomas D. Howie: The major of St. Lô“See you in St. Lô!” Warfare History Network.

[6] Thomas D. Howie: The major of St. Lô“My God, I’m hit.” Warfare History Network.

[7] Major Thomas Dry Howie6:00-7:00 YouTube.

7.1 Battle of Saint-Lô 75th anniversary commemoration at the WWII Memorial.

Works Cited

50fish. (2021, November 15). Thomas D. Howie: The Major Of St. Lô. Warfare History Network. Retrieved From Https://Warfarehistorynetwork.Com/Thomas-D-Howie-The-Major-Of-St-Lo/ 

Emerson, W. E. (2016, August 3). Howie, Thomas Dry. South Carolina Encyclopedia. Retrieved From Https://Www.Scencyclopedia.Org/Sce/Entries/Howie-Thomas-Dry/ 

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (N.D.). Normandy Invasion. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved From Https://Www.Britannica.Com/Event/Normandy-Invasion 

National Archives And Records Administration. (N.D.). Rebuilding After World War II: The Experience Of Saint-Lô, France. National Archives And Records Administration. Retrieved From Https://Text-Message.Blogs.Archives.Gov/2014/11/18/Rebuilding-After-World-War-Ii-The-Experience-Of-Saint-Lo-France/ 

Says:, P. R., Says:, J. S. P., & Says:, J. (2019, March 14). The Capital Of Ruins – Nine Facts About The Battle For Saint-Lô. Militaryhistorynow.Com. Retrieved From Https://Militaryhistorynow.Com/2019/03/12/The-Capital-Of-Ruins-Nine-Facts-About-The-Battle-For-Saint-Lo/ 

Southcarolinaetv. (2013, September 25). Major Thomas Dry Howie. Youtube. Retrieved From Https://Www.Youtube.Com/Watch?V=5hvcj-Kvsta 

St Lô/The Battle Of The Hedgerows. Battle Of Normandy Tours. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://Www.Battleofnormandytours.Com/St-Locircthe-Battle-Of-The-Hedgerows.Html 

Thomas D. Howie. Academic Dictionaries And Encyclopedias. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://En-Academic.Com/Dic.Nsf/Enwiki/2234639 

Thomas D. Howie. Military Wiki. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://Military-History.Fandom.Com/Wiki/Thomas_D._Howie 

Photograph Work Cited

Battle Of Saint-Lô 75th Anniversary Commemoration At The Wwii Memorial. Friends Of The National World War Ii Memorial. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://Wwiimemorialfriends.Networkforgood.Com/Events/13773-Battle-Of-Saint-L-75th-Anniversary-Commemoration-At-The-Wwii-Memorial 

Maps Of World War Ii 1939-1945. Battle For St Lo, Jul. 10-18, 1944. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://Www.Onwar.Com/Wwii/Maps/Wfront/10wfront.Html 

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, July 12). Operation Overlord. Wikipedia. Retrieved From Https://En.Wikipedia.Org/Wiki/Operation_Overlord 

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, July 13). Thomas D. Howie. Wikipedia. Retrieved From Https://En.Wikipedia.Org/Wiki/Thomas_D._Howie


“The Living Memory of Victor Noir,” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU at Pere Lachaise on July 29th, 2022

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”

George Elliot

How do you suppose you would feel, not knowing that the day you are assigned the task of being a messenger, you wouldn’t live to see the next day? And more so, at the age of 21 years. In short, that is the infamous story of Victor Noir; however, there is more to Noir than just his unfortunate death.

Figure 1.1 

Victor Noir, also known as Yves Salmon, was born July 27th, 1848. Although being born Jewish, Noir converted to Catholicism [1]  and pursued a career as an apprentice journalist in Paris. However, in the 19th century, a new wave of revolution was crossing throughout Europe. One of the first published demonstrations seen regarding the political and economic strain on society was in Germany, when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels released their publication of the communist Manifesto. This Manifesto highlighted the class struggle in society and exceeded the abolishment of “all existing social condition.” [2] France was no different than Germany, in that of the uprising from the people.

During the rule of Napoleon III, tensions were rising between the people of France and the French government. Recall that Napoleon I ruled as the Emperor of France until he was exiled in 1815 after he was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo. [3] With, there was a period where Napoleon II ruled, but only for few short days until the regime of the Restoration replaced the imperial regime.

Figure 3.1 

Unfortunately, when Napoleon III finally came into power, “there were conspiracies to overthrow the regime…” There were issues with Napoleon III rulings and issues with France once war was declared on Prussia. [4]

It is important to understand the social tensions occurring throughout the time, to understand the unfortunate tale of Victor Noir. 

Victor Noir was an ordinary gentleman, similar to both you and me. At the age of 21, he had pursued a career as a journalist- apprenticing for “La Marseillaise” newspaper in Paris, France. Editor, Paschal Grousset, had published an article regarding Prince Pierre Bonaparte, cousin of Emperor Napoleon III. [5] However, the article in question was said to have controversial and enraged Bonaparte. Bonaparte’s response to the article was a direct challenge to Grousset for a duel. In accepting the duel, Grousset sent his “seconds (one of [which] was Noir)” to set the correspondence for the upcoming duel, the morning of January 10th, 1870. One misunderstanding led to another, and within moments, Victor Noir was shot to death by Bonaparte. [5]

The small caliber bullet Bonaparte had released towards Noir, perforated his lung near his heart, killing him before he could arrive to a doctor. [6]

News of the death of the young 21-year-old begins to fly over through France. Various versions of the events, including Bonaparte’s diversion of “self-defense,” reaches the courts and outsets the nature of who the true assaulters and aggressors were. However, Napoleon III, who was conflicted with the news, decides to imprison his cousin, Bonaparte, to avoid civil riots from forming.

However, news of the murdered journalist by “a member of the emperor’s family” enraged the people of France.[7] The same people, who were already distressed with Napoleon III about the political structures occurring in the country. As a result, riots and violent acts were demonstrated throughout the streets after Bonaparte was acquitted of the murder charge. [7] 

Figure 7.1 

Although Victor Noir was not a revolutionary symbol when he was alive, his death stood for so much more. Noir became known throughout France, gaining more than 100,000 individuals attending his funeral. [8] His legacy, however, did not rise until about 20 years after his death. 

In 1891, Noir’s body was moved from Neuilly, Noir’s hometown, to Pere Lachaise Cemetery. Jules Dalou was tasked in creating a sculptor for the fallen journalist to commemorate Victor Noir and what he died for. [9] The manner in which Dalou up took the design for Noir’s sculpture was done with great consideration. 

Not only was Victor Noir’s statue created to replicate the same position he died in, but the statue also followed every detail of Noir’s physique, “Hair on his head, creases in his shoes, the lines on his face… the artist considered everything…” [10] But there was one intriguing aspect to Noir’s statue that the public did not understand: the large bulge in his pants. The sculptor, Dalou, specifically included and highlighted the bulge with his size and use of bronze on the particular area.

Victor Noir’s story began spreading throughout more of France and other countries. While no one really knew the exact reason the sculptor adding a large sized bulge to his statue, a myth began to erupt. The myth spoke that Noir’s statue was a symbol of “sexual satisfaction and fertility.” [11] Women from various locations would visit the cemetery to kiss Noir’s lips and rub the bronze area of the statue. Some myths were as followed:

If you wished to get pregnant……touch the right foot of the statue
If you wished to have twins……touch the left foot of the statue

Victor Noir’s death was unfortunate, and can truly be seen as “wrong place, wrong time.” However, his death was one of many that led to the uprising of the French against the Second Republic of France. The young 21-year-old became a symbol of the revolution and a symbol for women. As an individual in the same age range as Noir, I wonder how impactful and unfortunate it would be to just be “doing my job,” not knowing that it would be what would kill me. I understand the resentment and rage inflicted by the French, for had a member of the royal family been protected for the murder of a civilian, I too would think it was unjust. 

After all, does one’s life not hold the same value if there is no title to attached to one’s name?

[1]   Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia. Victor Noir

1.1 Wikimedia Foundation. Victor Noir.

[2] Napoleon III, Emperor of The French (1808-1873).

[3]  A&E Television Networks. Napoleon Dies in Exile.

3.1  National Army Museum. Battle Of Waterloo.

[4] Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Franco-German War.

[5] Route, E. C. The Bizarre Fame of Victor Noir.

[6] Lunghignano. L’ Affaire Victor Noir Avec Olivier Bianconi, Florence Braka, Xavier Noël Et Bertrand Munier.

[7] Route, E. C. The Bizarre Fame of Victor Noir.

7.1  Jen. The Story of Victor Noir & The Sexiest Tomb in France.

[8] Route, E. C. The Bizarre Fame of Victor Noir.

[9]  Jen. The Story of Victor Noir & The Sexiest Tomb in France.

[10]  Jen. The Story of Victor Noir & The Sexiest Tomb in France.

[11]  Jen. The Story of Victor Noir & The Sexiest Tomb in France.

11.1 Kuriositas. Victor Noir: Still Pleased to See You (Even in Death).

Works Cited

A&E Television Networks. (2010, March 3). Napoleon Dies in Exile. History.Com. Retrieved from Https://Www.History.Com/This-Day-In-History/Napoleon-Dies-In-Exile

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (N.D.). Franco-German War. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved From Https://Www.Britannica.Com/Event/Franco-German-War 

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (N.D.). From 1789 To the Mid-19th Century. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved From Https://Www.Britannica.Com/Art/French-Literature/From-1789-To-The-Mid-19th-Century 

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (N.D.). Napoleon III. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved From Https://Www.Britannica.Com/Biography/Napoleon-III-Emperor-Of-France 

Jen. (2022, February 24). The Story of Victor Noir & The Sexiest Tomb in France. Indie88. Retrieved From Https://Indie88.Com/The-Story-Of-Victor-Noir-The-Sexiest-Tomb-In-France/ 

L’affaire Victor Noir: Le Procès Médiatique D’un Bonaparte Accusé De Meurtre. Napoleon.Org. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://Www.Napoleon.Org/Histoire-Des-2-Empires/Articles/Laffaire-Victor-Noir-Le-Proces-Mediatique-Dun-Bonaparte-Accuse-De-Meurtre/ 

Lunghignano. (2021, January 26). L’ Affaire Victor Noir Avec Olivier Bianconi, Florence Braka, Xavier Noël Et Bertrand Munier. YouTube. Retrieved From Https://Www.Youtube.Com/Watch?V=Ykkdxu8tyg4 

Napoleon III, Emperor of The French (1808-1873). Napoleon.Org. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://Www.Napoleon.Org/En/Young-Historians/Napodoc/Napoleon-Iii-Emperor-Of-The-French-1808-1873/ 

Route, E. C. (N.D.). The Bizarre Fame of Victor Noir. European Cemeteries Route. Retrieved From Https://Cemeteriesroute.Eu/Projects/Stories/The-Bizarre-Fame-Of-Victor-Noir.Aspx 

Victor Noir – Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia. Alchetron.Com. (2018, March 6). Retrieved From Https://Alchetron.Com/Victor-Noir 

Photograph Work Cited

Battle Of Waterloo. National Army Museum. (N.D.). Retrieved From Https://Www.Nam.Ac.Uk/Explore/Battle-Waterloo 

Jen. (2022, February 24). The Story of Victor Noir & The Sexiest Tomb in France. Indie88. Retrieved From Https://Indie88.Com/The-Story-Of-Victor-Noir-The-Sexiest-Tomb-In-France/ 

Kuriositas. (N.D.). Victor Noir: Still Pleased to See You (Even in Death). Kuriositas. Retrieved From Https://Www.Kuriositas.Com/2013/04/Victor-Noir-Still-Pleased-To-See-You.Html 

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, July 12). Victor Noir. Wikipedia. Retrieved From Https://En.Wikipedia.Org/Wiki/Victor_Noir 

Karina Gonzalez: Declaration 2022

“From Zero to Hero, Théodose Morel (Tom Morel),” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU

Throughout history, we often associated the champions of war through the generals who led the troops to victory. However, as history has shown, heroes appear in multiple forms- forms that do not necessarily need to be associated with higher ranking titles. One of the foremost examples of such heroes is Théodose Morel, also known as Tom Morel.

Retrieved from WWII Tom Morel

On the surface, Tom Morel was a military officer and French Resistance fighter during World War II. However, when diving deeper into the history and achievements of Tom Morel, it would be known that Tom Morel was responsible for leading the Maquis des Giléres, a Free Resistance group who fought against German occupation throughout 1940-1944.

Morel was born into a family of the Lyon bourgeoisie. His father was the son of a Lyon silk industrialist and his mother were from a family of Savoie jurists and soldiers. He was well schooled by the Lyon Jesuits where he was a Scout de France and patrol and moved towards a military career. At the Versailles private school of Sainte-Geneviève took the trial for the Saint-Cyr military academy, in which he enrolled in. On finishing in 1935 he was appointed sub-lieutenant and chose to be assigned to the 27th battalion de chasseurs alpins of Annecy.

Throughout May of 1939, Morel’s 27th battalion was stationed over the Italian border. However, in September 1939, while the battalion moved towards the Eastern front, the section commanded by newly promoted lieutenant remained guarding the Italian border. Soon after the Italians entered the war June of 1940, Morel distinguished himself in the battle of the Alps. 

Morel’s battalion managed to decisively exploit the success of taking five prisoners the Italians had captured and seize important supplies. He was decorated with the croix de Guerre, a “French military decoration created in 1915 and 1939 to reward feats of bravery, either by individuals or groups, in the course of the two World Wars,” and obtained his first citation.

Tom Morel’s Military Citations
Retrived from Alchetron

Shortly after, however, Morel became injured, but remained at the head of his section. Even injured, he continued to fight near the Petit-Saint-Bernard where his action forced the Italian troops to withdraw. He received a second citation, then was made Knight of the chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. He was still only 24 years old at the time.

Morel continued on to serve in the Army of the Armistice at Annecy under commandant Vallette d’Osia, where heparticipated in the sequestering of weapons and supplies. By 1941 he was appointed as an instructor at Saint-Cyr, which had moved to Aix-en-Provence in the zone libre. It was at this location where he began to encourage his pupils to join the French Resistance.

The French Resistance was a collection of individuals and organizations that fought against the Nazi occupation of France during the Second World War. The Resistance consisted of both men and women who helped Allied soldiers and ran underground newspapers that provided intelligence information about enemy lines. The Resistance fighters consisted of all social class levels and ranged in age. The French Resistance had a crucial influence in helping the Allies to outcome in Western Europe – particularly paving the way to D-Day in June 1944. The French Resistance provided the Allies with fundamental knowledge reports as well as doing a gigantic measure of work to disturb the German stockpile and correspondence lines inside France.

The French Resistance consisted of both men and women from various socio-economic classes throughout the time frame of WWII
Retrieved from Women of the French Resistance

France did not always see victory, however. The surrender of France in June 1940 left the French worried for their future. Many believed that the government had let both the people of France and France, itself, down. The obstruction development created to give the Allies insight, assault the Germans whenever the situation allows and to help the getaway of Allied aviators. Some groups within the Resistance were violent in nature, aiming to hurt or kill the German occupiers; these were known as maquis

Théodose Morel’s actions throughout the duration of WW2 and the French Resistance that rose, were admirable. On one occasion, Morel organized a single military force against Vichy forces- German forces. A new flag was hoisted with the saying Vivre libre ou mourir, “Live free or die.” Morel declared that the location in which the flag was hoisted, that it was the first corner of France that was liberated from Nazi control. 

The ongoing force of the Resistance against Nazi Germany continued throughout the 1940’s. However, even a few of the Resistance soldiers had their doubts when it came to the ongoing battles they faced. On one occasion there was a young man within Morel’s battalion who tried to desert the armed forces whilst taking equipment with him. The risk of the other soldiers and the action of stealing from the military base, led to the young man being condemned to death. However, even in such moments of despair, Morel sympathized with the young man- even while he was put to death.

As a leader of an armed force- especially one of the French Resistance- sympathy was not always looked upon. As a result of his sympathy, Morel’s battalion was replaced with another group by the head of the Milice.

Morel’s journey was cut short, however. By the age of 29, Tom Morel managed to serve as an impactful leader within the French Resistance. His bravery, however, led to his downfall.

By March 9th, seventy men led by Tom Morel crept down to the German-occupied valley and encircled a hotel in the village of Entremont. The men succeeded in entering the building and disarming some of the German-Nazis, but the commandant drew a revolver and shot Tom Morel through the heart.  Humbert, Morel’s leading partner, instantly killed Lefèvre. But the revered leader of the maquis on the Plateau des Glières was dead.

Lieutenant Théodose Morel (1915-1944)

While Tom Morel was not responsible for the victory of France when it came to the German invasion throughout World War II, he was responsible for the individual battles that took place throughout the 1940’s. His victories were counted not only by the actual battles he won, but by the support he provided towards his men and other Resistance Fighters who struggled to see the possibility of France rising after the surrender that took place in the 1940’s. 


Chen, C. P. (n.d.). The French Resistance. WW2DB. Retrieved from https://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=153 

Editor: Soren Swigart, W. & D. A. S. (n.d.). The battle of glieres. Retrieved from http://worldatwar.net/article/glieres/index.html 

The French Resistance. History Learning Site. (2015, May 18). Retrieved from https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/resistance-movements/the-french-resistance/ 

Maquis des glires, La Bataille. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://alain.cerri.free.fr/index4.html 

MOREL, P. T. (n.d.). Promotion lieutenant Tom Morel 1987-1990. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20110831072636/https://tom-morel.dnsalias.net/ 

Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ordredelaliberation.fr/fr 

Karina Gonzalez: Miami as Text 2021-2022

Karina Gonzalez is a senior at Florida International University pursuing a degree in Political Science with a certificate in National Security Studies.

Being raised a Cuban-American atmosphere, Karina shares a passion for learning about different types of cultures and learning about historical events. She is passionate about human rights and learning all sides of history and traveling to meet different people and places. She aspires for a career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, maintaining the security of individuals and the United States of America. She hopes to share the things she learns around the world with others who share the same passions!

“A Hike through History” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU at Deering Estate as Text January 28, 2022

The 444-acre of land occupying Deering Estate continues to preserve the 1920’s era of Miami. Founded by Charles Deering in the early 1900’s, Deering Estate has served as home to eight different ecosystems and continues to serve as a historic landmark open to the public.


Located in South Florida, Deering Estate is accessible by car. Parking is free and generous in space!

Visit https://deeringestate.org/plan-your-visit/ for more information on transportation and details on admission cost

Contact Information
Deering Estate Contact

Visit Soon!

Office Hours: 10:00am-4:00pm

Visitors Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm


Charles Deering and James Deering both fell in love with South Florida while visiting their father, William Deering, in the early 1900’s. Infatuated with the cites of South Florida, both brothers soon became owners of distinctive cites in the area. James chose a site, now known as Vizcaya, near his fathers winter home; while, Charles chose a more remote site, now known as Bay Point, but sold the property due to the intrusion of civilization. Charles Deering yearned for a more isolated site, away from the disruptions of civilization. Which is exactly what he achieved when he purchased the Cutler property between 1913-1918 and built Deering Estate by 1922.

For more information on the Deering Family, visit https://www.dbycc.com/custom/legacy.html

Richmond Cottage 1916 vs. Richmond Cottage 2022
Retrieved from: https://deeringestate.org/history/historic-structures/

Although Deering Estate was home to a wealthy Chicago industrialist, there are various influences found throughout the architecture of the estate. A large amount of the architecture in the estate was heavily influenced by Mediterranean, Italian, Spanish, East Asia, and even Islamic influence!

“Some characteristics of Islamic architecture were inherited from pre-Islamic architecture of that region while some characteristics like minarets, muqarnas, arabesque, Islamic geometric motifs, pointed arch, multifoil arch, onion dome and pointed dome developed later.” Retrieved from: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwialOiLte71AhXzQzABHVCABHEQFnoECBIQAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FIslamic_architecture&usg=AOvVaw1ts13Z_H-tUOcb9lr0WdYB


Before the arrival of Charles Deering, the estate area had history of habitation from Floridian native Americans. The land was originally occupied by Paleo-Indians, followed by the Tequesta and the Seminole. Archeologists have been able to date back fossil remains from about 10,000 years ago! Although Spanish influence in the mid-18th century pushed many Native Americans out of the region, it is still crucial to acknowledge the Native culture in the area.

With that in mind, Deering Estate was built many years after the Civil War had ended, but racism and racial segregation was still very common. Although we now occupy a more modern time period, at the time many of the workers of Deering Estate were Afro-Bahamians seeking work in the area. With a lack of advanced technology during the time of construction, many of these workers faced dangers and critical working conditions. In one instance, during the drilling of the Deering Canal, the use of dynamites set an unfortunate explosion that led to the death of four Afro-Bahamian workers and critically injured five workers.


Deering Estate is not only a historic site to the members of South Florida, but it is also home to about eight different ecosystems in its nature preserve:

  • Pine Rockland
  • Salt Marsh
  • Mangroves
  • Submerged Sea Grass Beds
  • Deering Estate Flow-way
  • Remnant Slough
  • Tropical Hardwood Hammock
  • Beach Dune Chicken Key

Charles Deering was an environmentalist in addition to being an industrialist; he shared the importance of preserving natural ecosystems and hoped to do the same within his estate.

“You can’t force people to care about our natural environment, but if you encourage them to connect with it, they just might.”

Jennifer Nini

The trail itself holds history! For example, within the trail, you come face to face with a hidden natural spring with surrounding Mangroves. At first glance, it wouldn’t seem like a historic phenomenon, but the reality could not be more wrong.

When the Tequesta resided in the South Florida area, they had created a civilization for themselves. In order for civilization to even occur, there must be a means of natural resources that the Tequesta could have access to- this natural spring was one of the resources. The spring shown on the second image is crystal clear and even has live fish inhabiting!

Within the trail, there is also a natural solution hole- likely to have been formed from erosion. Solution holes provide shelter and food for various animals because of their ample space. As shown in the bottom left image from above, this specific solution hole is surrounded by limestone; likely showing that the solution hole was created over the course of many years.


As mentioned earlier: “Before the arrival of Charles Deering, the estate area had history of habitation from Floridian native Americans. The land was originally occupied by Paleo-Indians, followed by the Tequesta and the Seminole. Archeologists have been able to date back fossil remains from about 10,000 years ago! Although Spanish influence in the mid-18th century pushed many Native Americans out of the region, it is still crucial to acknowledge the Native culture in the area.”

Although in today’s day and age, various Tequesta tribe members migrated into other tribes such as the Miccosukee and the Seminoles, Deering Estate still serves as a sacred location for some of these tribes.

In fact, towards the end of the trail within the Estate, there is a section that is considered “sacred land,” to the native Miccosukee tribe. Within the sacred land, landscaping is prohibited. This land serves as sacred ground for the previous native Americans that once resided within the region.


The foundation of Deering Estate hopes “to raise public awareness, outreach, understanding and the enjoyment of the Deering Estate and to raise funds to support education, research, exhibits and collections, natural conservation and historical restoration and preservation.”

However, one of the best ways to begin writing history, is by teaching the full history– regardless of whether the truth is pretty or ugly. One of the future projects the Foundation is focusing on is bringing light the true builders of Deering Estate: the Bahamian workers. Though the Estate is famously known throughout Miami and South Florida, the builders and their own history is not.

Similarly, history has begun to be shined on previous members involved with the creation of Deering Estate in “Carl Kesser[‘s] film project [involving] extensive research, including trips to Chicago, Sarasota, Barcelona and Sitges, Spain and interviews with historians, archaeologists, a former governor and descendants of Charles Deering.”

Information retrieved from https://deeringestate.org/foundation/

“A Golden Gaze” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens as Text February 18, 2022

Visiting the Vizcaya mansion and learning about its history and development put a lot of things into perspective for me as someone who was raised in Miami her entire life. I gained some insight on why Miami is the way it is. We are a city popularized by our rich food, diverse culture, and primarily our party night life. James Deering, former owner of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, was a businessman who embraced his bachelor lifestyle through luxury and stature. Vizcaya, strategically placed on Miami’s Biscayne Bay was the beginning of the reputation of the Miami night life we know and love today.

James Deering was a socialite and an antiquities collector. His personality is seen through the rococo décor scattered throughout the villa, as well as through his grand garden which stretches across acres on acres. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens became a historic landmark. As breathtaking as Vizcaya is there is no questioning the fact that black Bahamians shaped Miami and put their blood, sweat, and tears into constructing these significant landmarks such as Deering Estate and Vizcaya. When the Bahamian economy collapsed in the 1870’s, Bahamians sought agricultural work in Florida. Unfortunately, they endured terrible work conditions and treatment here. Till this day many descendants of Vizcaya’s workers continue to feel a sense of distance and looming sense of unwelcomeness by the estate itself.

On the other hand, those who do resonate deeply with Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, enjoy the villa because of its beauty and grace.

The entire estate itself has personality. Deering and his head decorator, Paul Chalfin’s, attention to detail for the exterior and interior design, as well as the Bahamian workers sturdy hands, manifested a location that is visited by millions of tourists and showcased by locals for a variety of meaningful occasions such as weddings, quinces pictures, and plenty other special events. One of my favorite parts about Vizcaya was the entrance. A large statue of Ponce de Leon with a globe at his feet greets guests as they make their way into the estate, as well as a statue of the imaginary explorer Deering invented called “Bel Vizcaya.”

James Deering had a quite an ego, and this is seen through the symbolism behind his Ponce de Leon statue. He wanted to conquer Miami using his fortune from agricultural machinery and make it his own, which is why he identified himself as Ponce de Leon. The globe at Ponce de Leon’s feet is marked to show that Vizcaya is superior compared to other locations in the world. To an extent, there is a beauty that can be seen by the high praise Deering casted upon himself and Miami at the time.

Like many others throughout history, King Louise XIV, Deering’s persona reflected the same ambitions. Deering was rich and ready for a good time, which is reflected in his Bacchus, the god of wine and ecstasy, statue. Grand trees and full bushes act as theater curtains that frame the back of the Vizcaya home. Fountains are positioned on both sides of the road like a red carpet guiding you towards the house. Both Chalfin and Deering were not afraid to travel and purchase all types of antiques from a variety of cultures to emphasize the estates prestige and grandeur.

“The Silently Loud Scream of Miami’s History” by Karina Gonzalez of FIU at Downtown Miami as Text March 11, 2022

Since 1836, Miami-Dade has held its county name throughout South Florida. However, like many other landmarks throughout Florida, Dade-county had long been standing since before Major Francis Dade’s casualty during the second Seminole War of 1835.

Second Seminole War of 1835
Retrieved from https://miami-history.com/news/dade-massacre-in-1835/

The exposure of hidden truth within Miami was appalling, to a certain extent. Not because of the truth that was being uncovered, but because of why such truth was hidden in the first place. Similar to many historical events that have occurred throughout the past, Miami has its set of uncomfortable and progressive events. 

One of the most eye-opening events that was not necessarily explained throughout public school, was the history of how Miami-Dade came to find its name. Off to the side of the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, is a plaque that pays tribute to Francis Dade stating that:

“[they were] ambushed by 200 Indians and negroes…”

For a city who claims to be progressive with equality of races, continuing to pay tribute to a Major, who is known for his lack of tactic and who murdered Native Americans who were habitants of the South Florida region, can be seen as a bit dehuminzing. 

The same can be said for Henry Flagler, who played an even larger role in the segregation of Florida. You see, Florida was built from the blood and sweat of African American slaves. Throughout his lifetime, Flagler built an empire in Florida of railroads, hotels, steamship lines, resorts, even cities, from Jacksonville to Key West. But the empire Flagler built was not solely his to own. See, many of the workers have long since been forgotten in today’s day and age. 

As South Florida continued to grow, the labor of African Americans continued to grow as well. As cities and communities developed, more and more African Americans contributed to the birth of what is now known as Overtown. At the time, Overtown was known as Color Town. Such section of the city initially was created by black workers who were in the process of building the City of Miami. But it was Henry Flagler who casted the vote to segregate and push these black workers out.

Continuing the walk through the streets of Miami, however, was not all so disappointing. For we came upon a remarkable honorary statue to the past: the Carbonell statue. Personally, one of my favorite honorary forms of art ever witnessed. Sculptor Manuel Carbonell created his version of what the Tequesta may have appeared as, early in the century. While there have been no recorded descriptions of the Tequesta family, it is known that the Tequestas served as one of the primary Native Americans to inhabit South Florida. As a token of respect to these Native Americans, a bronze-410 foot statue aims high towards the skies on the Brickell Avenue Bridge.

Tribute to the Tequesta Native Americans

History, including the cruel and uncomfortable events that occurred, does not need to be erased. In fact, erasing past events and concealing the truth will only cause more harm than good. As a progressive society, especially one of Miami, we should be making efforts to acknowledge the events of the past and do well by them now. 

Slavery occurred, segregation occurred, mass murders occured, humantiarians cruelties occurred; so why is it better to pretend that they did not?

Miami welcomes its immigrant children and family with the long-standing Tower of Snow honoring the influx of migrants children during the Pedro Pan operation.

%d bloggers like this: