Connecting Florida: Sawgrass Reflections with Cesar Becerra
There are many stories about the Everglades. Some are included in the standard histories. Others, often embellished, become part of our folklore. Still others become lost in the millions of acres of sawgrass. Historian Cesar Becerra strives to tell them all. So passionate that the Miami Herald named him an Everglades Evangelist, Becerra has paddled, hiked, swamp tromped, buggied, airboated, and flown over most of those acres. But his deepest dive has been collecting, researching, and contributing to the mountain of academia that, ironically, exists for a place that looks at times like a simple field of grass.
Kislak curators Dr. Carol Damian and Arthur Dunkelman join Becerra for a lively discussion about the River of Grass and its historical and ongoing effects on the lives of everyone in the state of Florida.
Historian Cesar Becerra is the author of half a dozen books that delve deeply into the soil and soul of South Florida, including Robert Is Here: Looking East for a Lifetime, A Fifty Year Love Affair with Frankie’s Pizza, and The Logging History of the Everglades. In Orange Blossom 2.0, informed by decades of research, Becerra tells the untold story of the city’s “other mother,” Mary Brickell, a major landowner, developer, and presciently savvy businesswoman, who is often largely overlooked and overshadowed in the pages of Miami’s past.
Dr. Carol Damian is an art historian, former Professor of Art History in the School of Art and Art History at Florida International University, and former Director and Chief Curator of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU. She has contributed to numerous publications and lectures frequently on Latin American and Caribbean art, and the local art scene. She is currently Curator of the Kislak Center, part of the Miami Dade College Special Collections, housed at the Freedom Tower; and of the Chapel of La Merced Colonial Collection at Corpus Christi in Miami.
Arthur Dunkelman is the curator of the Kislak Collection of the Early Americas, Exploration, and Navigation in Special Collections at the University of Miami Richter Library, where the exhibition Open New Worlds is ongoing at the Kislak Center Gallery. Before coming to UM, he was the director and curator of the Kislak Foundation for twenty-four years. In 2004, a portion of the Kislak Foundation Collection was donated to the Library of Congress, and Dunkelman managed the transition, research, and public outreach, and edited a comprehensive catalogue of the collection that was published by the Library of Congress in 2007.
MDC Special Collections’ programs are made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. They are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.