A Powerful UM Event About Black Miami, Immigration and Identity

Tera Hunter speaking at Mapping Creole Miami symposium while panelists Nathan Connolly, Edda L. Fields-Black, Anthony Jack, Jemima Pierre, Kevin Quashie, Juana Valdes and organizer Donette Francis listen intently.

How has Miami and its educational, social and cultural institutions shaped the racial/ethnic identities and intellectual formations of some of the nation's leading scholars and artists?

Mapping Creole Miami FLyerThose are the important questions that Mapping Creole Miami: Black Intellectual and Artistic Trajectories symposium aimed to answer at this spring event led by UM Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies, Dr. Donette Francis. 

“The story of Miami as place orients us in multiple directions simultaneously: everyday interactions remind us of the old world meeting the new, the north meeting the southern U.S. and the broader global souths. But, perhaps the singular most transformative feature is that Black Miami prompts a more careful consideration of the implications and meanings of these various geographic and embodied proximities. ”
—Donette Francis, Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies at the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences as quoted by College of Arts and Sciences article Stories from the City.   

In this powerful and, at times emotional, full-day event partially funded through a University of Miami Institute for Advanced Studies of the Americas' Interdisciplinary Research Group faculty grant, former Miami resident scholars and artists now at top institutions around the country talked about their experiences with Caribbean diaspora, establishing roots in Miami and the forming of these new immigrant identities. Powerful words were said about understanding ethnic and racial identities. they shared their childhood stories about "growing up on the edge of society," as Juana Valdes so eloquently put it. HIV, skin bleaching, black life in Miami in the 60's, culture, food and maintaining one's roots through processes of assimilation where all discussed.

These are some of the most impactful quotes of the event.