history of miami

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Muhammad Ali with Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, his mother Odessa Clay and a crowd of fans at his home in Miami on February 28, just 3 days after winning his first Heavyweight title vs Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964.  

Photos by Tony Triolo

Muhammad Ali holding Malcolm X’s daughter Qubilah, surrounded by young fans at his training camp in Miami, January 1964.

The kids are holding up 8 fingers because Muhammad predicated he’d win the World Heavyweight Championship fight against Sonny Liston in 8 rounds as the underdog. The defending champ Liston predicted he’d win in 2. Ali ended up winning in 7 rounds on February 25, 1964.

3

Interama, a science and technology theme park that would have been built in 1968 in Miami. Interama stands for “Inter-American Culture and Trade Center.”

It would have been Miami’s “City of Tomorrow,” showcasing the culture of Latin America…think of it like a kind of permanent World’s Fair. It was designed by Hugh Ferriss, who designed many buildings in the 1939 World’s Fair.

The site where it was going to be built is now Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus. 

Not bloody vikings

So. 

I’m a Heathen because I live in North Lancashire, in the Danelaw, because my ‘ancestors’ were here - even though I’m Cornish born and bred. My one-eyed grandfather used to preach in Lancashire and Cumbria. My mum remembers holidays here and the Lake District. I’m one of the Hanged God’s cos I was hanged in the womb, but also because I began my proper magical life in Hanging Town.

When I can, I honour our literal peer, Baron Ashton,on Good Friday/Easter Saturday, with cigars and rum, at home, or at his memorial if I can.. This place’s dead are my dead now. Its water has nourished me for 17 years, its isotopes are in my teeth, my bones.

When Legba told this white Cornish boy the lwa weren’t his ancestors, but that he had ancestors here up North, that was what he meant. Dead in the ground, some become landwights, some just *here*.

And now my Mum’s ashes are here - she died in Preston. My Dad just moved to the building next door.

I’m not a Heathen cos I want to play Viking. I’m one cos this place got into my bones. And yeah, I’m a Brit, but moving 300+ miles from an an area where you’ve had traceable kin since 1400? That’s a wrench, for me. Sounds like nothing, but, it isn’t.

But what people forget is roots grow in all directions through the earth, Wherever there’s the water of memory. The proper nutrients. They’ll grow sideways, upward, downward. Find things to climb up, entangle round, embrace.

Connections, roots, they happen through the dead and the land. You just have to learn to notice them. And that’s a *skill*, it really is.

As a FB/Mugtome friend wrote, emphases mine:

If ancestors are considered at all, it is either in the narrowest possible terms - such as deceased family members who you knew in life but might not have had the best relationship with, or who might have been fundamentalist Christians that would disapprove of such practices, etc. Or else with this weird 400-year disconnect, where they want to edit out the whole complicated ugly history and horror of their ancestors’ actual lives in the Americas, and hark back to a romanticized idea of their ancestors as they were in Europe.

[…]

There often seems to be an underlying desire to absolve one’s ancestors of any complicity in genocide and slavery by conveniently skipping over that section of their ancestors and instead venerating “nice” imaginary idealized ones from before colonialism when their hands were clean. But nobody’s hands are ever clean, and certainly not within the history of Europe prior to colonization of the Americas.

Your ancestors are going to include some reprehensible fucking bastards, no matter who you are, and you have to own your own dead. You don’t have to condone their bullshit or justify what they did in their lives, or make excuses for them, or even sit in judgement over them - but you do have to own them. You are your ancestors - the sum total of all of the desperate day-to-day lives and entanglements that culminated in your birth - and you will always dance to the tune of your own nature and nurture. But you are also the only one with the choice and free will to decide where you’re going to take that ancestral inheritance from this point forward[.]

Our contemporary moment - right this instant - emerges out of our ancestral past and its myriad entanglements of joy and suffering, and it’s our responsibility to shepherd that moment into tomorrow. The conductor’s baton is in our hand for a minute, and you have to make that minute count. It’s harder to do that, or to do it constructively, if you are estranged from your own ancestors - or if you are in denial about who they were or what they did. 

[…]

To engage with the mysteries of landscape is to engage with the mysteries of the dead, and engaging with the mysteries of your own ancestral landscape can be a means of approaching your own ancestral dead, nameless or otherwise. The streets they walked down, the places where they drank, the types of food they ate. People always go on about how America doesn’t have history like Europe does, but it totally has history. If it has dead in the ground, it has history. Even Miami, which has less history than most pubs where I used to drink in London, is a landscape teeming with the dead.

 […]You are who you are, your ancestors did what they did. You can’t change any of that, but you *can* pay close attention to the voices of the dead as they emerge through landscape. You can take uncompromising ownership of the emergent process of human lives that culminated in your own life, however raw and ugly, and decide what the next sentence of that narrative is going to be. You can have an ancestral practice that is rooted in the realities of your actual dead within America, and the landscape and history that they weave through.

 Ancestor work is not really about that, [it’s] about giving the future a solid foundation - and that might not always be easy or comfortable to engage with as a process - but nobody else is going to do it. Thorny material may arise, but the strategies of ancestor work are replete with methods for mediating such difficulties. It’s not a half-hour sit-com, and you are not going to cheerily resolve all the gnawing torment and wickedness that wracks that landscape and churns through those dead, but you can do your bit. You can set your light in the darkness, and contribute to creating a foundation for the future that is a little more solid, a little more aware of its past, and a little less in denial about the realities of its history. It’s the work.