MJ Ramirez: Miami as Text 2022 

Mariajose (MJ) Ramirez is a Junior at Florida International University studying Social Work to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work to continue with the Master’s curriculum in Higher education. This way, she can implement the mental health background acquired from Social Work education in her profession. In addition, MJ wants to help students and communities in the educational setting promote well-being and positive perspectives about student life and endorse social welfare programs for those with limited opportunities. Given her experience as an Administrative Assistant for Student Affairs in a Private University, she hopes to help students get the help, resources, and benefits as she understands the hardships of being a full-time student. Also, she wants to provide counseling and social and mental health for those dealing with such issues. MJ is also passionate about dancing, traveling, and mental health in the form of beauty and exercising. She hopes to balance her career and always stay in top of her hobbies and travel the world.

Deering As Text

“You got a tool there!” by MJ Ramirez of FIU at the Deering Estate on February 06,2022.

Photographs taken and edited by MJ Ramirez /CC by 4.0

Walking through the breezy and soothing wind, blowing my hair out of control, we hiked through a hidden and preserved natural spot. This incredible and unique spot holds treasures of about ten thousand years old. Surprised I was, as such rare shell bits laid out on the uneven trail. This trail that connected fresh water and mangroves was the extraordinary jewel of the Tequesta since it was the fruit of their existing community. Moreover, the Tequesta midden unlocks a world of the origin of hand-made and practical tools. From smoothed out and spear-like shell tools used in Tequesta daily lives to conch shells
“used as a type of drill.” These scattered and sticking-out tools were necessary for the Tequesta community before the suburban conquering of Miami.

This natural community of different ecosystems and rich history behind every step of the trail is vital to acknowledge and maintain safe from further threatening impacts. Exploring such natural and conserved environments is a meaningful and valuable experience for humans. We humans learn the community we are surrounded by and the ancestors who lived in our current geographical habitat through such understanding and lectures in this historic tour. Miami is said to have “no history,” and many residents are unaware and disconnected from the reality of where everything started. However, this preserved example shows a piece of vital information from the past that constructed Miami into today’s city.

Through this one-in-a-million experience, I felt refreshed and reflected on the powerful and unique history. But unfortunately, Miami’s sedentary and day-to-day lifestyle makes people lose themselves, forget the beautiful and captivating environment surrounding this city, and distance themselves from moments like these that are unlike any other. For this, it is necessary that residents in this natural community visit, learn, refresh their Miami standards and uplift this city as a natural habitat.

Vizcaya as Text 2022

“A Hidden Gem,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU at Vizcaya on February 27, 2022

Photographs Taken and Edited By MJ Ramirez/ CC By 4.0

A gem of details is my definition of Vizcaya. The significance of the Caravels is disguised within the architecture and art of the court and patio. Small things like “J’ai dit,” a French expression while walking upstairs to the bedrooms, remind guests of the intention behind this historic settlement. It makes you feel the classical and robust attachment to the European aesthetic while in the Miami ambiance. It is the Best of Both worlds!

The Vizcaya experience will surpass your expectations and take you into the significant 1900s era. The inspiration and dedication to evolve as part of history for future generations make it a more substantial element in our society. Why? Vizcaya helps us understand the previous generations’ viewpoints, art, purpose, and architecture and why James Deering wanted to express the European way of life. The passion for this work and time invested in building this marvelous creation, which is his Vizcaya settlement, captivates a person’s eyes.

Standing by James Deering’s balcony with the shoreline leading to the mansion makes you understand his efforts in the architecture and elements to perfect it this way. The flowy breeze is one glorious view the eye catches from Vizcaya to the bay. As I’m walking through the halls of each room, I envision what James Deering himself felt day-to-day living in this natural and unique environment. I catch myself daydreaming while looking through the art, sculptures, and detailed furniture of how exquisite it would be to spend time here at Vizcaya every day. It is a place where one can uncover life’s ecstasy with sceneries like no other.

Downtown as Text

“Diverse and Unique Miami,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU at Downtown Miami on March 20, 2022.

Photographs Taken and Edited By MJ Ramirez/ CC By 4.0

Miami is a city of diverse languages, nature, cultures, and art. The innumerable beliefs and perspectives of different people’s backgrounds insert the “spice” to the Neo-classical style of architecture. Because of this, each section of Miami-Dade county has directed the way many buildings and small pieces of art completed Miami’s unique adaptation. It is a shared and modern environment for people from foreign places to help contribute to the community of Miami-Dade. 

The courthouse, the monuments, and buildings allow Miamians to follow the history from the 1900s establishments. Furthermore, each installment creates a different social ambiance and, given the views of each specific location, helps promote diverse experiences. The fantastic thing about Miami is that it allows daily tourists, visitors, and residents to acknowledge the beautiful, diverse communities. Because of this, welcoming people who want to improve Miami’s diverse community is essential. Downtown Miami has many establishments that contributed to the city’s development, including The Miami-Dade County Courthouse, the Freedom Tower, the Adrienne Arsht Center, and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum, motivating one to explore the captivating city of Miami.

SoBe as Text

“ Revival,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU at South Beach Miami on April 1st, 2022.

Photographs Taken and Edited By MJ Ramirez/ CC by 4.0

It is unbelievable how Miami once was a peaceful and modest area where many elderly would spend their morning and afternoons grabbing coffee and strolling around the beach. However, it is now a robust social community where many people worldwide can view the Art Deco transformation from generations and many preserved historic buildings. This is due to its popularity for reflecting the 20th-century revival that resembles such a generation’s fascination, like a toaster or refrigerator from buildings designs. Moreover, it helps tourists and residents live in that era and navigate through the time to truly feel the ambiance created through such art.

Photographs Taken and Edited By MJ Ramirez/ CC By 4.0

South Beach is a famous destination where many dreams of experiencing the unique architecture and glamorous art and culture that it has become from multiple backgrounds and perspectives that have characterized the city. It is a unique and social environment that helps one understand the community and educate oneself on the history of Miami and how it came to be so known. South Beach holds historical treasures that many seem to dismiss. However, on the east side of Ocean Drive is the memorial of a strong and passionate woman named Barbara Capitman. Barbara was an activist that fought to protect the Art Deco in South Beach and founded a Miami Design Preservation League to hold the unique treasures of history in the art of each building in the Art Deco neighborhood. Because of this, we can understand and appreciate the extraordinary surroundings and history in South Beach for such spirited efforts given.

MJ Ramirez: France as a text 2022

Paris As Text

A Dream Come True,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Paris, France 2nd of July 2022. 

Anxious I was for days before arriving in my dream city, the City I always dreamed of waking up to every sunrise; now I would have the best chance of getting to say, “I am In Paris!” Now more than ever, I will have the opportunity to stand next to the symbol of France and the monument that attracted and made Paris a dream city for many.

The clouds were perfect, the day was bright, and the weather was just spectacular to finally experience the Golden Eiffel Tower view as the sun shone brightly upon it. The Eiffel Tower view that I once dreamed of and that would change a dream into my reality.

Our first lesson on the Eiffel Tower was learning the history of the monument built in 1889 and about the company owner named Chief Gustav Eiffel, that organized the structure lane to walk to the top of the Eiffel Tower and inspired the Eiffel Tower name. It is marvelous how in 2 years, 2 months, and five days of construction, it took for the Eiffel Tower; the symbol of France, to come alive and transition from a temporary exhibit to celebrate the 100th year of the French Revolution to the most recognizable structures visited by many around the world. In addition, the Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years to keep the monument alive and preserve the dreams of those who wish to witness the panoramic view of the beautiful architecture that radiates through Paris.

Photographs on the Eiffel Tower Lecture taken by Isa Brimes & Edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

A Journey to the Past

Walking in the streets of Paris, I can finally realize why many of its bustling museums and galleries, its top cuisine, and its beautiful architecture can overshadow the history and rich past of how Paris got its name. Many across the world have romanticized and made a superficial city through photography and in the social media world. However, Paris has a more profound history with its first foundation; Lutetia was the Gallo-Roman town established by a community of Celts and later named Parisii by the Romans. The Parisii established themselves on Île de la Cité, which is in Modern City Paris or, in other words, the City of Lights, the fashion capital, and the City of Love. But for Paris to transform into such innovated City, the Roman war defeated Gallic Tribes like the Parisii. The Parisii, which need more recognition since they were buried under the Eiffel Tower after the defeat by the Romans, is the cause that initiated the beginnings of urban design, agriculture, and structure which gave birth to the French Capital. 

Photograph of the Eiffel Tower- Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez // CC By 4.0

From Hate to Love

It is hard to believe that the most praised and fascinating monument, The Eiffel tower, never fails to impress as a symbol of Paris and France and as a representation of the daring and powerful character of the City of Paris, which many Parisians once hated. “Truly tragic street lamp,” as a man once described the Eiffel Tower since he hated the idea of having an iron establishment and the tallest building at the time as a view in Paris. In addition, the Eiffel Tower created controversy because it’s taller than a church, and a church was supposed to be the tallest building because it means it’s close to God. From my experience in the Catholic Church and from my family generations following this religion, I can see why such ideals were radical and almost as defying around the time it was built. Still, as a student advocating for education and knowledge of the world, I am amazed at the courage of this initiative to take place in such a monument, changing people’s perspectives and encouraging progressive mindsets. However, during that time period it was seen as defying the King and France since the Eiffel Tower was a monument to science and to the revolution in a country where the king was catholic. In addition, the names around the Eiffel Tower are scientists who were enemies of the state and the church because they contradicted the ideals and principles of the church and the word of God. But, this radical movement in history and humanity, which was to build a temporary iron monument, introduced and gave recognition to genius scientists in history and acknowledgment by the generations that will appreciate and praise as they visit the dream City of Love, Paris.

Versailles As Text

Visiting the Sun King’s Palace,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Paris, France 3rd of July of 2022.

The Palace of Versailles, where the sun shines bright, and the uphill path challenges its visitors to work towards the royal history of France. Versailles, with its glamorous architecture and divine art, holds every room and hall with different designs and unique backgrounds, bringing you to a time of power and monarchy in which Louis XIV initiated the principles of beauty. He aimed for control of the noble society, and his monarchy aimed for perfection to portray his greatness within the Chateau of Versailles.

A simple hunting lodge where Louis XIV would go for horseback riding and hunting trips as a teen would turn into a unique and superior establishment where Louis intended to bring art and power as an embodiment of France was the result of the Palace of Versailles. Alongside his standards of Art was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which created a remarkable representation and image of Louis XIV in the form of a marble portrait. This style of art began a clash of Italian and French culture and introduced an altered version of Italian Baroque in Versailles. However, Bernini’s judgment and bragging about the Italian Art style made Louis XIV send him back to Italy, and his efforts to establish the French Art style as a priority began. For example, he turned to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture to focus on the skilled artists that would become an essential factor in French artistic traditions as it founded the inspiration of royal images in the monarchy.

It astonishes me how the aspiration of a passionate form of art, seen in Baroque-style beauty, was chosen to symbolize a country and it was thanks to the power of a determined King. Louis XIV wanted nothing more than to solidify his views and commitment to a robust and magnificent idea of Art around Versailles. But unfortunately, many workers and the third state suffered and sacrificed their health and lives as a consequence of expenses from such extravagant royal residence. Louis XIV was seen as the best King of France with a demanding character to impress his absolute authoritative and superficial hierarchy. Because of this, it was a respected monarchy during his 72 years of ruling. And because of Louis XIV, many generations can experience a royal day at the Palace of Versailles.

Although the Palace of Versailles set a high standard for what exquisite and distinctive art meant in French society, it initiated discontent with the Royal monarchy. But it was not until Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s reckless and almost innocent view of the world that led to France’s downfall. The priority of other activities by Louis XVI, the careless expenses of Marie Antoinette, and poor economic decisions about the future of France led to the most critical but morbid start of the French Revolution. The description of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s death feels unjust because their ideals of how a monarchy society ruled were wrong. Still, they were unaware of such behaviors affecting the stance of the citizens of France. Still, ministers took advantage of his lack of knowledge in diplomacy and did not respect his authority. However, their choices disregarding issues concerning their monarchy led to the people revolting in 1789 at the outbreak of the French Revolution.

Overall, the decision of the French Kings that resided in Versailles takes you to the most powerful, passionate, and emotional part of French history, which you can feel from entering the gold-plated gates of the Palace. In addition, the beautiful nature, architecture, and art put one in touch with the period where all the magnificent ideals and principles of an absolute monarchy existed. It is indeed a beautiful part of history, with sacrifice and dedication created by a society that loved and lived by the word of the representative of God on earth, which was the King!

Photographs Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez on The Palace of Versailles // CC By 4.0

Lyon As Text

A Progressive City! by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Lyon, France 8th of July 2022 


Growing up in America, most of the time, when one hears of France, people picture one city, Paris. However, the opportunity of being in Study Abroad in France has allowed me to explore the unique and beautiful city of Lyon, which almost takes me to two places at once with architecture similar to Italy. Still, the culture and essence of France remain.

The city of Lyon collides with historical architecture, culture from the Roman Conquest, fabrication of original landscapes, and a safe and green environment as all of downtown is a UNESCO world site. Moreover, the famous Lyonnaise cuisine made it the culinary capital of France. In addition, It holds the key to significant events of World War II as the location of the Montluc Prison is in Lyon.

Photograph Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

A Prison for the innocent

Montluc Prison was first created for military prisoners and anti-nationalist. However, it changed the intention and purpose when the invasion of 1942 by the Nazis in France. Therefore, Montluc became the most catastrophic way to implement their practices towards their Jewish genocide and injustices towards those against their ideals. As a result, many innocent lives were taken away in this prison or held before transporting to their last days in concentration camps. Furthermore, many prisoners in Montluc faced discrimination and injustices affecting generations that survived the horrific life of the invasion of the Southern Zone. After many massacres and efforts of the resistance intervention, prisoners in Montluc were released in August, a week before the liberation of Lyon. But many events remain ingrained in individuals, communities, and direct families of the survivors.

Photographs taken and edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

The Power of Sharing the Truth

As we meet Claude Bloch and listen to him telling his story, I genuinely feel every word, every description of the events of World War II and innocent individuals that had to go through the most sinister of human crimes in history. He describes his story from the beginning of when it all started with the Nazi invasion until what he would face as abuse and injustices in Auchwitzs just because of his religion and the dehumanizing events that introduced World War ll. Claude was just a little boy of ten years of age when he was taken away from his mom and had to have the mindset of an adult to be strong and fight until the end for one’s life against all odds. But until today, he remembers every detail that he endured in the concentration camp that he survived and is the voice for the whole world to see and fight for human rights and injustices. Claude now talks and shares his truth and memory to carry on the reality of events that occurred in the Holocaust to make justice for all the innocent lives taken away and never to repeat horrendous events in history ever again.

Claude Bloch Showing us his Tattoo Proud they did not Win!
Photography Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

Maison D’Izieu As Text

Two Views”… by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Izieu, France 10 of July 2022

Walking up a beautiful mountain, I was mesmerized by the view that one could never envision until glimpsed with one’s eyes. I stand directly, and my eyes are captivated by the beauty of nature as they turn slowly towards a building. As I walk up the stairs by the door, I learn that it was once a safe place for Jewish Children. Children, yes, just beautiful and innocent children from the age of 3 to 16. The children’s pictures hung on the white walls as I walked on the wooden floors of Izieu, but as it is clarified the meaning behind this home, I learned the names of each child with the dates of their birthdates to when taken away to concentration camps. I encounter my emotions all gathered in the tears that I cannot hold, for I feel pain. Still, I stop because it feels almost selfish to feel this anger and sadness that cannot change the injustice and abuse the children that once lived in this home felt.

Photographs taken and edited by MJ Ramirez on July 10th, 2022// CC By 4.0

Listening to the letters and processing each word behind what the children in Izieu experienced and feared challenges my faith, beliefs, and why the world has another view that is cruel and full of injustices and discrimination against each other. I sit across the desks from the children in the ”Salle De Classe,” hoping and picturing them having the best education and learning experience they were given in Izieu. I am reminded of the age of innocence around the ages of these children in the pictures. Moreover, how much love and purity there was in a classroom with the power and intention to learn. But, on the other hand, the memorial of the Children of Izieu causes one to feel the absolute injustice of the oppressive system humans can create and truly understand that no explanation can ever justify what happened in this home. It honestly tears apart what I believed this world was and the reality of what humans can do. And unfortunately, inequity, discrimination, and prejudice keep recurring with different names and targeting diverse populations, but it is still very much seen with recurring religious conflicts because of extremists.

Photographs taken and edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0


The outrageous Gestapo Arrests and Deportations resulted in the creation of Izieu for Jewish Children in 1942 during the German Occupation of France. Gestapo arrests and deportation were occurring and rising, forcing families to separate and send their children to refugees or homes or safe places as Izieu intended. In Izieu, Jewish children had classes to keep their education forward; they had their bedrooms or played with kids of their age but grew apart and away from the love of their families. It was a decision that I cannot bear to understand because during the persecution of Jewish Children, they faced many atrocities that no child should ever experience. Moreover, many organizations worked together and helped found Izieu from the European crisis affecting Jewish populations due to Hitler’s ethnic cleansing.

It is all a mix of emotions that affect a person who understands the reality of the Holocaust and the Jewish Genocide. The world needs to comprehend how important it is to educate and prevent injustices affecting any population. In addition, learn from terrible events, never to bring back the horrible injustices and events that occurred in the 1940s, especially the first case of crimes against humanity as it is in the heartbreaking presence of the “Maison d’Izieu.”

Photograph taken by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

Pere Lachaise as Text

“A Legend is Born,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Père Lachaise, France 29th of July 2022

This project is to educate ourselves with research and dive deep into meaningful and influential individuals in history to understand essential concepts that changed our modern society and how it defines all of us from the appreciation of the past. The most crucial factor that was important through research and understanding of a legend of opera, which I will present: Maria Callas, was reaching the root of how it all begins. Therefore, I will introduce her early life, upbringing, life details, and career until the last days to commemorate the outermost respect and admiration for her life. With this, I will connect with aspects affecting my life and experiences with Maria Callas. In addition, I will then reflect on the information from her life to compare vital perspectives in our current society. 

When listening to opera, I sense a majestic and passionate form of music; it is the art of bringing a story, a powerful piece, alive in the form of acting and singing with a dramatic vocal range for others to appreciate the beauty of such genre. Opera is a strenuous and challenging genre to be recognized for it takes years to master, and not just anyone can reach professional standards. Still, one legend, an influential soprano singer named Maria Callas, created a revival in the 20th century for “Bel canto,” a singing style that inspired many singers to discover and follow her beautiful and unique voice. Although at first judged by her dramatic and complex singing style, she is recognized now by many generations in the world as the best soprano singer of all time, better known as “La Divina.”

  

About The Queen of Opera

Maria Callas’s original name was Maria Cecilia Sophia Anna Kalogeropoulos; she was born on December 02, 1923, in New York City, New York. Her parents were Greek immigrants named George and Evangelia shortened their last name to Callas once they moved to the United States in New York City. The Queen of Opera had a difficult childhood and one that she never forgot because of her dysfunctional family. Her parents suffered a terrible loss from their only son, who died from meningitis at a young age. Therefore, her parents wanted nothing more but a baby boy. However, Maria Callas would be the youngest and last child of the Greek immigrants, and Maria Callas would face the consequences of this situation. Maria Callas’ parents were disappointed she was a girl, and her mother would not look at her for days. In addition, she was overshadowed by her older sister Jackie because they portrayed her as more charismatic and “beautiful.” It was the beginning of a problematic relationship with her mother for the rest of her life.

Moreover, she was pushed by her mother to be a certain way, and it was because of her mother that she followed a vocal career. From a young age, her mother forced Maria Callas to perform in front of friends and the public. Evangelia knew Maria Callas demonstrated a promising singing career, so when her parents divorced in 1937, her mother, Jackie (her sister), and Maria moved back to Greece, where her mother would place Callas at the Athens Conservatory. When Callas auditioned at the conservatory, she was accepted as a pupil by soprano teacher Elvira de Hidalgo. With the help and guidance of Hidalgo, Maria could implement into her soprano voice color and flexibility to light up her performances, which made her a star. However, it was not until 1939 that Maria Callas made her first singing debut as a student in a school production, “Cavalleria Rusticana.” 

Cd Maria Callas - The Voice Of The Century (1997)

Maria Callas – The Legend- (2000,CD) -Discogs

La Divina- A God-Given Gift

With Maria’s potent voice and dramatic flair, she began her singing career when her singing coach, Elvira, encouraged her to move to Italy in 1947 to take on the performance of “La Gioconda” at the Verona Arena. Her talent was like no other, but it was not until her role in Bellini’s Norma, her most famous role, for the first time in Florence, Italy, in 1948. After that, her career began as critics recognized her, and she was on her path to becoming “La Divina.” 

La Divina’s fantastic performing ability and unique dramatic musical gifts transformed her into a famous opera singer. However, she was still seen as shy, and overweight, insecure by the public, and the man first to court her was an older man named: Giovanni Batista Meneghini, a wealthy industrialist; and they started a relationship that eventually became a marriage in 1949. Although Maria at the time was 23 years old and Giovanni was 51 years old, the relationship was mutual, and both understood each other even when they were very different. But Maria Callas’s fame and fortune were the main reason their relationship functioned due to how Giovanni would control her every move in her career and start managing the talented diva. 

 Maria Callas-Birth Of A Diva — Legendary Early Recordings (2007, CD)- Discogs

A Tragic Love Story

During Maria Calla’s marriage and dedication to her career, touring around the world and gaining fame across America at the New York Metropolitan Opera, she transformed her appearance into a glamorous one and underwent a drastic weight loss. While living in Paris, she began her most courted era as an opera singer. She attained popularity from the controversial and the downfall of her career with a new love interest: Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy shipping magnate. 

Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis fell instantly for each other when meeting at a social gathering, while both were married to different people. They initiated a love affair that dissolved her marriage with her husband in 1959, and Maria began making the headlines by the press, making her personal life overshadow her talent and work by her decisions. 

Maria was utterly in love with Onassis and hoped to be with him as at the beginning of their love affairs, with expensive gifts and endless cruising days. However, Onassis took Maria’s love and dependency on him to his advantage as he started to mistreat her and was a compulsive cheater. He started having affairs with Jackie Kennedy, the widow of John F. Kennedy, and abandoned Maria Callas to go and marry Jackie. The news took a toll on La Divina’s life and affected her career.

Maria Callas, Onassis and Jackie Kennedy- A Love Triangle; The Classic FM

The Last Song.

The downfall of her career was a mix of her disappointment in all her dysfunctional relationships, from her mother’s resentment and mental abuse as a child to her marriage falling apart and her decision to love an abusive partner that left her alone. In addition, personal issues affected her career, and it deteriorated her health since Maria kept her weight loss which was overboard and contributed to her vocal decline, which was the breaking point for Maria Callas. 

La Divina kept performing at the Met (Metropolitan) in New York, but her voice declined tremendously, affecting her voice. Ultimately, Maria Callas’s overworking voice catches up to her in her performance “Norma,” in Paris 1964; in the middle of the final scene, her voice cracked attempting a high note. Because of this incident, it was then witnessed by the public that Maria’s voice range would never be the same. In Japan, she did an outstanding performance; however, everyone that had heard her before critiqued and claimed it was not the same “God-given” voice able to reach the highest of notes. The opinions and perspectives will impact Maria Callas since it was her last public performance in Japan in November 1974 with Giuseppe di Stefano. It would be the last song, the last performance the Divina would last take the stage before she passed away in September 1977 in her home in Paris at age 53, (where she died from a heart attack). 

Maria Callas- A Remarkable Performance at Lyric Opera  brought the legendary diva back to life in 2019

Will always Be Remembered 

Maria Callas will always be remembered in people’s hearts, and her fame will always impact the opera and performing arts worldwide. She influenced and motivated many artists to reach for the best of their abilities, and she was a dedicated and passionate professional for what she loved. Regardless of her personal life, Maria Callas shined through the end and pushed through all the struggles she faced from an early stage in her life to adulthood. Her voice will touch people’s hearts and carry in the form of music from all her debuts, and memorable performances archived worldwide. Because such powerful emotions and feelings arose as I dived deep into her life, I was able to comprehend and understand how important it is to educate and promote the mental well-being of others and oneself because it can affect an individual forever. 

I learned about Divina’s hard work and commitment to her music and how crucial it is to move forward and push through any difficulties. Although personal relationships can affect one, in the long run, it is in our control to take the good part and acknowledge one’s health comes before anything else. No matter the facts, she was strong until the very end; she needed support and someone to be there for her. Therefore, it is in her remembrance that all inspired by her passion for singing and in awe of her gifted voice are present for those in need of a mental health voice. 

The crucial part of meeting Maria Callas through reading, listening to her voice, and research was always to follow my heart and understand my emotions about what I truly want in my life. For example, in my life, I have faced the comparison to my sister as she is more sport-oriented than me and more like my father. As a result, I always felt like the outsider in my family, the one that likes to take risks and travel the world on my own to figure out who MJ is. Because of this, it is noticeable that I cannot gain much from my dad’s approval since I’m not like my sister or have the same passions. However, I try my efforts through school and be positive along my journey as a person. To prevent any outside influences of negativity or perspectives of others of me not bringing me down because what matters is who I am, true to myself and how I take on the world with kindness and respect towards others. Because of this, La Divina, with her majestic voice, has inspired me to become the best version of myself, keeping in mind my mental health and well-being to pass through any hardships in life. Whether in college, my career, or my relationships, I will either hold or let go of those affecting my future to be in a safe place and reach for what I am passionate about in life which is an advocate for human rights and promoting the wellbeing of individuals facing social injustices. 

1.) Callas retired from the opera stage in 1965, and she spent her subsequent years living largely in isolation in Paris in her elegant apartment at 36, ave. Georges Mandel.

2.) Italian baritone Tito Gobbi (center), Princess Grace of Monaco (left) and her daughter Caroline (right) as they leave the Greek Orthodox Church in Paris after funeral services for Maria Callas on September 20, 1977.

3.) The gravestone of Maria Callas at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

References

1.) “Encyclopedia of World Biography,”https://www.notablebiographies.com/Br-Ca/Callas-Maria.html#ixzz7ZhvtxACJ

2.) “Maria Callas, 53, is Dead of Heart Attack in Paris,” By Raymond Ericson on Sept. 17, 1977. https://www.nytimes.com/1977/09/17/archives/maria-callas-53-is-dead-of-heart-attack-in-paris-ivlarea-callas-is.html.

3.) Maria Callas Biography By The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica://www.britannica.com/biography/Maria-Callas

4.) Maria Callas Biography on April 27, 2017. A&E Television Networks. https://www.biography.com/musician/maria-callas

5.) The World’s Greatest Music.Classic FM-Digital Radio on “Maria Callas: 15 facts about the great soprano.”https://www.classicfm.com/artists/maria-callas/guides/facts-gallery/

6.) “Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O and Lee Radziwill: A Complicated Relationship,” By Philip Chrysopoulos on February, 10, 2022. Greek Reporter https://greekreporter.com/2022/02/10/lee-radziwill-onassis/

Normandy as Text

“She,” By MJ Ramirez of FIU in Normandy, France 26th of July 2022

She, Mary Jewel Barlow.
She who was a little girl born in the “Constitution State.” 
She who despite segregation, was selfless when it came to the call of duty 
She who was accustomed to ongoing war and the idealization of “offering one’s life for one’s country.”
She who fought against all odds to be part of the first African American women wearing a uniform with pride.
She with hard work and dedication ranked Private First Class in the Women’s Army Corps.
She with respect and admiration was a member of the “Six-triple eight,” 6888 Postal Directory Battalion.
She who gave the men on the battlefield a reason to keep fighting by delivering letters from families and loved ones
She who we thank for her sacrifice alongside her Batallion of the only all-black Women’s Army Corps unit in WW2 
She who was courageous and honorable to successfully continue her postal duties until the very end.
She named Mary Jewel Barlow, whom we honor and respect as a country, and in the hearts of many, Mary Jewel Barlow lives on. 

……………………………………………………………………………………………….…..…………………………….

It is hard to ask myself these questions every day, but it would take a lifetime to understand.

Why do many atrocities occur at the cost of many innocent lives?

Why did many people have to suffer? 

Why did many minorities have to endure segregation, discrimination, and racism? And Why was it okay and normality in others’ eyes? 

Why do nations create war and violence towards religious groups of people because of skin color, race, or culture? 

Why did children, young adults, parents, and families experience the loss of their loved ones at the cost of atrocities of the world? 

 It destroys a person who truly cares. I, as an individual, see all people equally; I see we are all humans and deserve the same treatment, respect, equal rights, and the pursuit of happiness. Still, I live in a world that opposes this idea, and many have faced the consequence. Because of this, it always feels unfair to live a life where I see more of the good side of the world while others never did. But, on the other hand, it seems we need to represent those who sacrificed and fought for this future and the pursuit of happiness they once dreamed of with fulfillment. Therefore, I must carry on the memory and honor the life of the sacrifices of a remarkable woman in the United States Army: Mary Jewel Barlow. 

Who is She?

Mary Jewel Barlow was born in the United States in Connecticut in 1923. Her parents were Boce William Barlow and Ethel Green Barlow, and she had two sisters named Mrs. Katherine B. Clark and Miss Ethel May Barlow. She was born in a timeline in America where her parents and family had confronted discrimination, socially authorized segregation, and racial violence. And although Mary J. Barlow successfully graduated from Weaver High School in 1940 after attending Arsenal and North East School while employed by Underwood-Elliot Fisher corporation, Mary Jewel Barlow would decide to change her life forever. Mary chose to enlist in the Army around 1942 and started her basic training at Fort Des Miones, Iowa, and then to Georgia for overseas training. As Barlow went through the demanding process in her training, she was then able to follow her services in England as Private First Class in the Postal Clerck services. 

 Mary J. Barlow, in the Postal clerk service in the Army, would move to Rouen, France, be part of the initial African American civil rights and end prejudice against women to serve in the Army. Mary would become a memorable member of the African American Women Battalion overseas during World II in the well-known “Six Triple Eight.” Her battalion was successful in its primary goal during the war, cutting the backlog from months to just a few weeks. Thanks to the endeavors and services of Mary Barlow alongside the “Six Triple Eight” battalion, soldiers had a new hope for a future with freedom and would honorably sacrifice their lives for a better world with the support of their loved ones through letters. Due to this reason, it clarifies the true meaning of sacrifice because soldiers left everything behind to be part of this fight for freedom and a unified country, for a new world of equal nations and human rights.

Mary Jewel Barlow, Private First Class, U.S Army

The Sacrifice for a Free World

Tragically, as Barlow and her Batallion postal duties continued in France, Mary and the other two unit members suffered a fatal accident on July 8th, 1945- Sergeant Dolores M. Browne and PFC Mary H.Bankston were involved in a deadly Jeep accident. Both Mary Bankston and Mary Barlow were killed instantly, while Dolores remained alive with grave injuries that led to her death five days later- July 13th, 1945. Private Mary Jewel Barlow was buried in the Normandy Cemetery, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France. She was about only 22 years old at the time of her death. 

6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion; in this image Charity,Edna Adams Earley, Millie (Dunn) Veasey, Alice Lillian Dixon, Willma Henrietta (Lucas) Jennings, Elizabeth (Barker) Johnson, Indiana (Hunt) Martin, Mary Jewel Barlow.

Twenty-two years old, when Mary Jewel passed away from a fatal accident while on duty. I must process this statement and truly understand the meaning behind it because Mary J. Barlow was around my age when she was in the Army during World War II, and it would be during her duty to her country that she faced death. However, it takes pain and tears to try to understand the courage this took and how much strength she had to be capable of enduring the consequences of war and growing up in a country where she faced discrimination, racism, and prejudice for being an African-American woman. Therefore, for me, Mary’s life meant more and as a reason to believe in wars with a meaning to end the ongoing tragedies and the atrocities of genocide arising as the holocaust in Europe and to advance universal human rights. Although treated as a second-class citizen because she was an African-American woman, Mary preserved in the deadliest and most destructive war in human history and honored her name by setting the example of a unified country fighting for liberty and making a difference in the world. Mary Jewel Barlow was a hero who shined through the end of times, devoted to her country. Mary Jewel Barlow’s memory lives on for the generations ahead. 

References

1.) “America Battle Monuments Commission,”https://www.abmc.gov/decedent-search/barlow=mary#
2.) “Memoire & Database,” Barlow Mary J- 6888 CPDB WAC. https://www.database-memoire.eu/prive/fr/normandy-tous-soldats/14-colleville-b-fr/6706-barlow-mary-j-6888-cpdb-wac
3.)Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56642091/mary-jewel-barlow: accessed 28 July 2022), memorial page for PFC Mary Jewel Barlow (1923–8 Jul 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 56642091, citing Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France; Maintained by Frogman (contributor 47380828).
4.) “Honor States.Org,” on Mary JewelBarlow.https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=23868.


MJ Ramirez: Paris 2022

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The Art and Beauty of the Paris Metro System by MJ Ramirez of FIU on July 2022

Growing up in Mexico, there was not much means of rapid transportation or a safe and efficient system available. Many still struggle with getting to their homes and jobs, and there is no secure environment for all age groups or genders. In addition, as a woman, I believe it’s more difficult to be independent in my own country or explore its wonders. And although I have always been curious and independent to explore on my own and answer questions about what I want to learn, it wasn’t easy adjusting to a society that limits people who wish to transport freely and easily from one point to another. However, although afraid, I was finally able to say, “I am traveling to Europe!” Many judged and looked at me, confused about whether I could take this responsibility alone, take the risks of solo traveling, and then join my study abroad class. Regardless of different opinions, I took the journey as a step to make my dream come true to visit beautiful France and see through my own eyes what a camera lens cannot capture. Moreover, thanks to my study abroad class in France and the incorporated curriculum project called Over Under Paris, I could push myself to navigate and move forward with my goal of becoming a confident traveler. This project allowed me to educate myself and facilitate my learning about places I wanted to visit while in Paris with the safest and fastest form of transportation, the Metro. The Parisian transportation systems are one of the most efficient and safest due to their accessibility and design to accommodate commuters and visitors. The Metro has 16 lines and connects with different ones to help people get from one location to their desired destination. During Over Under Paris, our class could focus on 14 lines, and my group and I chose line 2; we could make us feel confident and implement our navigation skills and take on the journey of the stops in line 2 in the Parisian Metro System.

Barbès-Rochechourt

Photography taken by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

A clash of cultures I walked past as I explored the wonderful community of the Barbès-Rochechourt. The Barbès district is situated east of Montmartre and Pigalle. The diversity and immigration from African and Middle Eastern neighborhoods allowed me to see diverse businesses with friendly clients from the community that established themselves after the colonization of France in the 19th century and the invasion of Algiers in 1830. In addition, many emigrated from countries like Lebanon, Morocco, and other middle eastern colonies for better opportunities and work lifestyles. Therefore, now those immigrants residing in this area can provide French locals with their products and services. French locals can also take advantage of the sales of traditional African and Arab dresses and veils for the communities established in Barbès. The markets, small-owned businesses, and competitive shops in the district make an exciting experience for visitors to try a different environment with a lively atmosphere and a wonderful experience with diverse backgrounds. The striking colors, art, and signs allow one to view the different styles from the culture shift as soon as you step off the train at Barbès-Rochechourt. Although this stop is up and coming, as a visitor, one can be open and enjoy this part of Paris that is untouched by many.

Anvers

Anvers Metro Station//Photography by MJ Ramirez CC By 4.0

The most visited destination from the Anvers stop is the beautiful view of Sacre Coeur de Montmartre, a Roman Catholic Church, and a minor basilica well known as the “Sacred Heart of Paris.” The Sacre Coeur was built to honor those who perished in the French Revolution and France’s defeat in the Prussian army wars. In addition, it was built to make amends and be forgiven by Jesus Christ for the sins committed from the ongoing atrocity and violence since the French Revolution. The Sacre Coeur is the second most visited Church in Paris; therefore, it is a populated area by tourists worldwide. In addition, it is the second highest point in Paris; the total height of the Sacre Coeur is 213 meters above sea level. Therefore, believers of the Catholic community come closer to Jesus Christ since it is close to the sky.

The mosaic “Christ in Majesty” in the apse// CC By 4.0

Moreover, in my experience, it is a unique Catholic Church and basilica since its 20th-century Romanesque architecture with sacred art inside that holds Jesus Christ. The Embodiment of the Church, I feel as if it is the Mosaic of Christ in the Apse, which is one of the largest of the world and it is encircled in the ceiling. Jesus as seen is opening his heart and arms and welcoming those who walked up the hill of Montmartre to witness his presence and worship his sacrifice; it almost feels like you are in Heaven. Therefore, the sentiment behind the Church makes the experience a once-in-a-lifetime memory. For example, as a Catholic, it was an important day to see Jesus; his presence in my eyes was memorable. However, the moment I met him after walking to the top of the Church, I felt joy and emotion as it was unique and important for me to experience this since it brought me closer to my religion while in Paris.

Blanche

“The Mother of French Carabet Shows,” the famous Moulin Rogue, is the closest to metro station Blanche on line 2. In addition, one can see the colorful and vibrant red colors of the stunning windmill of the Moulin Rogue roof for a fantastic photo opportunity for those visiting the Paris Red Light district. It is a different location for those wanting to experience more adult nightlife in Paris while being around a tourist-friendly area. This stop takes one to the sexual history of Paris with its iconic sex shops and adult theaters around the boulevard. It is safer now than it used to be, even when traveling solo; many restaurants have been modernized and created an ambiance for those wanting bars with trendy cocktails.

The Beauty of Red Vibrant Colors of Moulin Rouge// CC By 4.0

Moreover, one can learn about the birthplace of the modern “can-can” dance, which led to the development of carabets across Europe. Although erotic and controversial due to the erotic dances of females using extravagant underwear of the period and contrasting black stockings, it was what introduced seductive dancing, and its popularity rose. Moulin Rogue, as I explained, is one of the contemporary spots to visit and stroll around while being comfortable as one would feel in any other destination. However, I felt more confident in navigating and educating myself on the history behind Moulin Rouge since it was the unique red lights were one of the first electric lights in Paris around the 19th century. Therefore, it was worth learning about the building that now is a must-see location. 

Photographies were taken and edited by MJ Ramirez by Anvers Station in Red Light District// CC By 4.0

Stalingrad

A touristic place for its scenery, restaurants, and strolling around through the shops, it is “Place De La Bataille de Stalingrad,” but as visiting this establishment, I learned how the Canalde L’Ourca from 1809 was dug to inaugurate and celebrate the first water supply from the Canal that it provided to Parisians for a freshwater system needed clean water. I was sitting upon this Canal, enjoying the summer heat and reflecting on how essential it is for the locals to understand how vital the Canal is. Moreover, this area incorporates art in the form of Urban graffiti across the walls behind the Place de La Bataille from the urban artists of the community. For a moment, this location brought me to the Art Museum in Wynwood Walls because of the significance behind each graffiti and the power it carries for people to witness. For example, as I navigated through this area in Stalingrad, I experienced the strong and unified community and walked past its friendly people. This way, it allows one to learn more about the way Parisians express their opinions and perspectives for the future of their country through art, colors, and designs decorating the city with such beautiful views that generations can cherish.

Charles de Gaulle Etoile

A monument to the well-known emperor and the military genius of France that conquered almost all of Europe now it is the embodiment of Arc du Triumph: Napoleon Bonaparte. He made his name for generations to remember and learn from The Arc Du Triomph, a magnificent arch in the middle of a roundabout in Paris. and can be seen from any panormaic view in Paris, like the Eiffel Tower. This Arc was made in celebration of French Militiary victories. Napoleon Bonaparte originally had the idea and began to build it, but after his death they continued the project. The decorate arc features some of the greatest achievements of Napoleon and his military. Even though Napoleon was exiled, he was such a great military leader that he was brought back to France after his death  and they brought him across to later bury on the invalides.He was authentic and wanted power but earned it with his dedication but his downfall was his egocentrism because of wanting more. However, many

Jaures


As soon as stepping into the tranquil stop of Jaures, one can walk toward various canals under bridges hidden where locals can fish and take away their stress of the everyday routine with the refreshing air near the water as the view in St.Martin Canal provides. I felt at peace, and the breezy atmosphere was perfect for a picnic day with friends. It felt a safe place one could enjoy, from walking down a small set of stairs to feeling refreshed after a busy day or overwhelmed. Not many know how this stop can take you to some distinctive spots when one loses themselves in their calm space, as I was able to experience it firsthand while sitting nearby a bench. At the same time, fishermen would come to sit and enjoy the shade in Saint Martin Canal and fish by the bank to relax. The Canal Saint Martin connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the river Seine and it was commissioned in the 1800s to increase water supply in the city of Paris with its ever-growing population. This way, the Canal can provide clean water available to the public. Moreover, It connects to numerous boulevards and public spaces around the banks for locals to enjoy a restful environment with views from boats traveling throughout the Canal.

Charles De Gaulle Etoile

In Charles De Gaulle one can get off instantly to the most famous street, “Champs-Élysées,” where a tunnel can take you underneath The Arc Du Triumph. The Arc Du Triumph is a magnificent arch in the middle of a roundabout in Paris. In addition, it is seen from any panoramic view in Paris, like the Eiffel Tower it holds a fantastic sentiment. The Arc was made in celebration of French Military victories. Napoleon Bonaparte originally had the idea and began to build it, but after his death, they continued the project. The decorated Arc features some of the most outstanding achievements of Napoleon and his military. Even though Napoleon was exiled, he was such a great military leader that he was brought back to France after his death, and they brought him across to later bury on Invalides. He was a well-known emperor, and until this day, he is recognized and known by many. Regardless of his egocentrism and his downfall, he was France’s greatest emperor. Just walking under and seeing the empowerment of its designs makes one understand the beauty of France and how influential Napoleon Bonaparte was since his political, and social reforms that brought France together and changed the world.

La Chapelle

The Representation of Gare du Nord in La Chapelle Station// CC By 4.0

Being one of France’s six major railway stations, the “Gare du Nord” is known to be one of the busiest train stations in Europe, but when I saw it in person, I was blown away, and my expectations were superseded. I was also amazed at how the internal infrastructure has been completely revamped, and the main façade is still in its original design. However, this station has more than it seems. To my surprise, inside the station was an entire mall with eateries and retail stores such as the famous “Paul,” popular “Sephora,” and “Jennifer.”The Gare Du Nord transports about 700,000 passengers a day and about 44 different platforms that travel locally, to countries such as Brussels, Amsterdam, London, and Berlin, to name a few. Back in its creation in 1846, engineers could only install a few tracks and platforms. As a result, it created a problem with its high volume of passengers. Overcrowding is still an issue to this day; due to the busy fast pace lifestyle of the station, it is easy to get lost and not enjoy your journey there since people are quickly getting from one place to another.
While I was at the station, I was able to see the progress that is being made on the current refurbishment/renovation of the northern corridor, which will be a significant source of transportation for Parisians and tourists all around. Lastly, awestruck by this train station’s magnitude, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if they could install such an extraordinary, accessible, and social form of transportation in Miami. I believe it could make a difference all around the city from the overpopulated roads and the traffic that rises more every year and overall hurts our climate change in the long run. Therefore, I support public transportation and would love to depend on it in my everyday lifestyle while being active and present to enjoy the experience of a daily journey.

Photographies by MJ Ramirez on Gare Du Nord// CC By 4.0

Couronnes

The Children from a Summer Camp academy enjoying their day in Jardin De La Rue// CC By 4.0

An ideal ambiance of greenery recreational parks with laughter filled all around secret gardens was created around 190os as an extension to the second line, couronnes; named after the local village of Les Couronnes-Sous-Savies. Outside this center, nature is abundant at the Parc de Belleville and a recreational center where people gather and can enjoy a day in the fresh climate. The location of the parks compares to many of the parks and recreation from the one I lived by when I first moved to Miami in a small suburban neighborhood due to its hidden spot and quiet side of Paris. There are occasional events at the park; for example, summer camps or yoga classes might take place in this beautiful scenery. If you walk into the town of the couronnes station, you will find various enjoyable cafés while spending your day in the Jardin de la Rue. For example, the fountain and the aquatic vegetation make this a great atmosphere. In addition, many of the restaurants by the parks serve various pastries and desserts that one can take away for the park to enjoy. Another interesting fact I learned through research was that only eighteen percent of Couronnes is urbanized, meaning most of the town is still in its natural state.

Rome

Opening in 1902, Paris incorporated the “Rome” Metro station. This station has played a pivotal role in connecting the schools in Paris since The Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres is nearby, an institution that specializes in instructing secondary school teachers. This station was my primary selection because I want to focus on Higher Education and Leadership; therefore, visiting an establishment focused on education drove me to focus on the principles and see a different perspective from other countries while visiting the education community. Furthermore, they are based on which age groups they are concentrated in to familiarize me with the career I want to focus on my whole life. My family goes back to the education interest since my grandma was a principal all her life, and my mother is a high school teacher aiming to become a professor. However, I would want to focus more on policy and procedure in education to make a change with the school and the curriculum to help implement better strategies to educate students adequately. Therefore, my passion throughout this stop destination allowed me to experience firsthand the University of Teachers and motivated me to keep following my career in this area of making a change in the world while constantly learning and remaining open to the progressive educational system.

Pere-Lachaise

The beauty of the designs and architecture of the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is unlike anything you have seen before. I was in awe and unable to process such a unique style as I walked through the entrance of Pere-Lachaise Cemetery. I was slowly trying to take in all the sights and process how this cemetery is adequately structured to identify the person who passed away. It is difficult to understand how a municipal cemetery in the 1800s with only 13 graves expanded is now both the largest park and the largest cemetery in Paris. For example, each tomb has architecture, design, colors, art, or style depending on what that person portrayed in their life, what the person liked, a passion, or what they became known for by the public and, therefore, have their memory live forever. It has around 300,000 to about 1,000,000 people buried, and significant historical figures are also buried in Père-Lachaise, which makes it the most-visited cemetery in the world. For example, notable individuals like and it is often hailed as the most-visited cemetery in the world. It has always been nondenominational. Among the famous people buried there are Eugène Delacroix, Jacques-Louis David, Georges Bizet, Frédéric Chopin, and Oscar Wildel. Therefore, to remember their beloved ones, the families of the deceased can design and make connections through the gravestone’s architecture to honor and represent them departed accordingly to their personality. It gave me the true meaning behind a person’s soul and how each grave had its own emotion, identity, and dedication towards how it can connect to their spirit, their memory, and for the people to honor their names forever.

References

Couronnes (Paris Métro). Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. (1970, January 1). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/279172 

Editors, A. (2022, June 1). Jean Jaurès subway station // LCR Architectes – Architizer Journal. Journal. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://architizer.com/blog/projects/jean-jaures-subway-station-1/amp/ 

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Battle of stalingrad. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Stalingrad 

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Gare du Nord. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/place/Gare-du-Nord 

EUtouring.com. (n.d.). Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad in Paris. Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad square in Paris France. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.eutouring.com/place_de_la_bataille_de_stalingrad_square.html 

French colonial rule. obo. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199846733/obo-9780199846733-0029.xml 

Gare du Nord station. napoleon.org. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.napoleon.org/en/magazine/places/gare-du-nord-station/ 

Getting around France: Transportation options. France Travel Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.francetravelguide.com/getting-around-france-transportation-options.html 

More from this author See All c, More from this author See All, cmsadmin Spirax Sarco Australia , cmsadmin Spirax Sarco Australia, Cmsadmin, Australia, S. S., cmsadmin BENEO, Beneo, cmsadmin Selerant, Selerant, cmsadmin NETZSCH Confectionery, & Confectionery, N. E. T. Z. S. C. H. (2019, May 27). Gare du Nord, Paris. Railway Technology. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.railway-technology.com/projects/garedunord/ 

Norah, L. (2022, April 4). How to get around Paris – A guide to all the transport options in Paris France. Finding the Universe. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.findingtheuniverse.com/how-to-get-around-paris/ 

Traub, C. (2020, October 26). Mastering the Paris Metro Public Transportation System: What you need to know. TripSavvy. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.tripsavvy.com/how-to-use-paris-public-transportation-1618925 

Why Le métro is a Paris attraction of its own. Marriott Bonvoy Traveler. (2017, July 12). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://traveler.marriott.com/paris/why-le-metro-is-a-paris-attraction-of-its-own/ 

MJ Ramirez: Declaration 2022

Rose Valland~

Early Life

Rose Antonia Maria Valland was born on November 1, 1898, in Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs, France. Her parents were François Paul Valland, a blacksmith, and Maria Rosa Viardin. Information and evidence claim that Rose was raised in a humble family and modest home (4). However, gifted Rose had an astonishing talent in Art. Because of this, she obtained a scholarship in an “école normale,” a teaching school. She intended to become an art teacher and graduated in 1918. Rose also studied Art at the “École Nationale des, beaux-arts de Lyon,” graduating in 1922. Valland outperformed the challenging exam for art teacher training and experienced two years of more studying in the École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, graduating in 1925 (7). 

She was a French art historian, a member of the French Resistance, and one of the most decorated women in French history, best described as an “Art Hero” of World War II (7). Rose was enlightened and focused on the arts for her educational path. First, with her degree from Beaux-Paris, her end goal of becoming an Art high school teacher. Once again, she began studying art history at the École du Louvre and the University of Paris, where she graduated in 1931. She had hoped that her education would pay off to become later a full-time paid worker at the Louvre. Instead, Rose traveled to Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to extend her knowledge of Art (4). This trip was beneficial because she learned to speak, read, and understand German, which would be the most powerful tool and the overall positive impact on the Art world from her success in rescuing priceless treasures (6).

A World War II Heroine

After Rose Valland finished her graduate studies at the prestigious College de France, even with all her degrees and credentials, Rose Valland began work at the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris as an unpaid volunteer in 1932. Until July of 1941, during World War II, Valland was put in paid service and became the overseer of the Jeu de Paume Museum at the time of the German occupation of France. She assumed charge of the Museum, first as a paid “attache” before her promotion to the assistant curator (4). 

Rose Valland love and passion for Art led to her obtaining a position at Jeu de Paume Museum. Because of this, she grew fond and had an enormous appreciation for each art exhibition piece placed in the Museum. In addition, Valland knew and understood how Art culture plays a vital role in people’s lives. Therefore, Valland’s unconditional love for Art led her to maintain her reputation to move further in her career in Art and always be responsible for the Art exhibitions in the Museum. However, greedy Hitler used Art as a political tool, organizing “German” art exhibitions to prove Aryan supremacy and “Degenerate Art” exhibitions accuse Jews and Bolsheviks of being degenerates. Rose Valland described this event in her life as “a strange world where works of art arrived with the sound of jackboots” (6).

Moreover, In Hitler’s mind, Art, race, and politics were related to his whole envision to reach ultimate power and instill his own extremist beliefs. It led to the plunder of one-fifth of Europe’s artistic patrimony And the Nazi intention to destroy hundreds of museums, libraries, and places of worship (3). When the Nazi invasion started in Paris, most employees from all museums, libraries, and places with Artwork were fired except Rose, a modest and, in the German’s eyes, seemed unpretentious woman in her position as a curator, was allowed to stay. It was the leeway for her to start her position as a spy against the Nazi’s plans, given that Valland secretly recorded all the details of the Nazis’ plundering (4).

In hidden notebooks, Valland wrote down the names of the stolen artworks, who they were stolen from, and where they were being sent to coded destinations across Europe. For example, she had evidence that paintings were sent to places such as the castle of Neuschwanstein for when the war ended. Neuschwanstein castle was chosen as headquarters for the “German art-looting organization,” said art historian Tanja Bernau. Its location near the Austrian border and far from Berlin or other likely Allied targets made Neuschwanstein an ideal depot. She hid her spying behind a reserved perspective, pretending she couldn’t understand German. She kept up this act for four years (4).

Rose Valland takes On the Nazis (feat.Tiffany Haddish) – Drunk History by Comedy Central on January 23, 2018.

An Art Spy

As World War II raged and the Nazis advanced across Western Europe, Hitler’s army caused untold destruction. At the same time, it managed the most significant art theft in history since Hitler created a system to loot priceless works of Art from Europe’s occupied territories (1). Therefore, the Allies began a special unit to safeguard Europe’s historic treasures. They were called “The Monuments Men,” and took charge of cultural preservation during the unimaginable destruction by the Nazis. 

In 1944, an American Soldier named James Rorimer came to Paris to help with the city’s liberation. Lieutenant Rorimer was one of the Monument Men in charge of finding Europe’s stolen Art. James met Rose Valland at the Jeu De Paume Museum during his search. He suspected that Rose Valland might have information that could lead the Monument Men to the hidden works, and they both had to trust and learn about each other’s intentions (1). Lieutenant was right since Rose Valland, known as the Art Hero of World War II, was courageous by taking on the role of spy to report the information to the Monument Men alliance.

Moreover, Rose hid her spying deception pretending she couldn’t understand German. Rose Valland kept up this act for four years when the Germans infiltrated all prominent European Art while working at the Jeu de Paume. Thanks to Rose, the Monument Men discovered over 20,000 priceless Art, jewelry, and furniture hidden inside the Neuschwanstein Castle (2). For example, she had evidence that paintings were sent to places such as the castle of Neuschwanstein for when the war ended. As a result, Neuschwanstein castle was selected as headquarters for the “German art-looting organization,” said art historian Tanja Bernau. Moreover, its location near the Austrian border and far from Berlin or other likely Allied targets made Neuschwanstein an ideal depot. 

Furthermore, when the Nazis took over Je de Paume, they thought Valland was harmless, but little did they know she took multiple notes and photographs and recorded where the Nazis hid all the Artwork. Regardless of the danger, there was during the invasion of the Nazis in the 1940s, Rose Valland The Lieutenant took a long time to gain Rose Valland’s trust. This way, Lieutenant Rorimer utilized the evidence Rose had from the personal scrapbook of a Nazi chief of Staff (5). Therefore, in 1945, Rose Valland joined the Monuments Men in Germany to help ensure the proper restitution of the Artwork (5). Even with all the evidence where various artworks were located and kept in Europe, there are many still missing today, but the Monument Men and Rose Valland succeeded in returning more than 5 million artworks to the rightful museums, art sites, and owners (2).

Rose Valland, The Art Spy by the Center for Art Collection Ethics on February 17,2022.

My Experience With Rose Valland

Rose Valland was a brave woman in the 1940s. Regardless of her situation as a woman trying to battle the barriers that society placed against her to get to her desired career, she remained persistent and did not give in to settling for less. Rose’s love, dedication, perseverance, and passion for her career in Art and goal-oriented persona directed her to take on the challenging job of saving Art from the Nazis during World War II. Furthermore, given that men did not understand women’s power and intelligence, they misinterpreted such a remarkable woman, Rose Valland, who was overqualified and deserved a better position given her incredible education record. However, the misconception men had about her did not stop her from moving forward to fight against the most dangerous regime, which was the Nazis. The Nazi invasion of the Museum where she worked: Je de Paume motivated Rose to fight for her cultural preservation of all the artworks and museum exhibitions that the Nazis wanted to own and take away. Because of this, I was more than astonished by Rose Valland and her determination to prevent injustices to her own country and future generations that would have stolen their cultural identity.

Moreover, as a student in the Social Work field, I was inspired by her hard work from her educational pathway to push forward and obtain the most out of your passion and desired career to be as knowledgeable as one can be. For example, she started with the goal of becoming an art teacher. Since she studied hard, she received scholarships to study Art at the École Nationale des beaux-arts de Lyon and moved forward to top the competitive exam for art teacher training. Rose kept her pathway in art history at the École du Louvre and the University of Paris. She graduated in 1933 with a unique diploma from the École du Louvre and completed graduate studies at the Collège de France (4). Even with all her accomplishments, she was not given a paying position at first in Je de Paume. However, this did not stop Rose, and it has allowed me to respect and understand that back then, women did not have the proper representation nor were able to speak on their rights as we do today. But thanks to Women like Rose Valland, who was intelligent and willing to fight against all odds and injustices, we have reached the present point where many women have higher standings and are represented in influential roles.

Rose Valland at the Wiesbaden Central Collecting Point, 1946 April 24 / unidentified photographer. Thomas Carr Howe papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Conclusion

Rose Valland has allowed me to view both sides from the power of one’s passion and perseverance regardless of the perception others might have towards you. For example, even when many viewed her as incapable or harmless and not understanding just because she was a woman, she was the one person brave enough to help restore the most critical cultural identity of Europe once again, which is Art. Rose knew the power and how it defines one’s country, and if she did not take on the spy role during her time at Je De Paume, France’s history would be distinct, and no one will have the ability to trace back important information from Artworks. Her outstanding knowledge and intelligence skills permitted Rose to keep a profile from the Nazis, who were unaware that she understood German. Her talented abilities let her take detailed notes and descriptions of all the spoken information from the Nazis. 

Rose is indeed a heroine of World War II. Her courage and remarkable work have enlightened multiple people like me to defy all odds. As a student in Social work, it has given me the impulse to help and support visions, and ethical principles like Rose Valland did with cultural identity. It is in one’s power to prevent those injustices from occurring and stealing from any individual and group what they deserve and which people deserve and respect their ownership of their identity and cultural values from Art or designs that represent each society or a country’s history and background. I understand Rose Valland’s position more than ever since; as a student at Florida International University, the Artworks located in the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum, I treasured and had miscellaneous tours to understand the history and perspectives behind each Artist’s creation. It has been influential in my career development and learning experience, and I will want others to experience and understand it. I know how vital Art and meaningful it can be in one’s life, just as Rose Valland stated. Valland’s fearlessness should never be forgotten since she performed strongly to restore France and Europe’s deserving society with its cultural identity and the worthy ownership of all their exhibitions in their rightful location. It will permanently be embedded in me as I got to know Rose through rigorous research, from the root of her life to the last memorable day of an outstanding woman she will hold in history. I will forever remember her as the extraordinary woman she was, her efforts in her life, and her dedication since now we can appreciate and educate each other on the Artwork for generations to come. 

Video Taken by MJ Ramirez in FIU Patricia & Philip Frost Art Museum// CC By 4.0

Sources:

  1. Brooks, Kylie. (2018, January 31). Art Heroes: Capt. Rose Valland. https://moa.byu.edu/art-heroes-rose-valland/ 
  2. Cœuré, Sophie. Accessed April 24. 2022. “Cultural Looting and Restitution at the Dawn of the Cold War: The French Recovery Missions in Eastern Europe.” Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 52, no. 3, 2017, pp. 588–606, http://www.jstor.org/stable/44504064. 
  3. Deprez, Guillaume. (2020, January 14). Rose Valland: Art Historian Turned Spy To Save Art From Nazis. https://www.thecollector.com/rose-valland-art-historian-spy-nazi/https://www.thecollector.com/rose-valland-art-historian-spy-nazi/ 
  4. Early Life – Rose Valland: Guardian of Treasure. https://rvgot.weebly.com/early-life.html
  5. Herber, Lori. (2014, February 21). Neuschwanstein: A fairy tale darling’s dark Nazi past. https://www.dw.com/en/neuschwanstein-a-fairy-tale-darlings-dark-nazi-past/a-17442885 
  6. Ministere De La Culture. (2019, November 18). Liberate, Egalite,Fraternite. Rose Valland a portrait of a committed woman.https://www.culture.gouv.fr/en/Actualites/Rose-Valland-portrait-d-une-femmeengagee 
  7. Monuments Men Foundation. Reinstitution, Education, Organization. Rose Valland. https://www.monumentsmenfoundation.org/ 
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