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Florida's Historical Amnesia and the Real History of Miami

History is as much about remembering the past as it is about forgetting it. In this regard, Miamians have done more of the latter than the former, engaging in a peculiar form of historic amnesia that shortchanges Miami’s ancient roots.

Let me be clear. Many Miamians celebrate their history, but they largely limit their attention to the modern age. The city celebrates Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler as its founders, and tourists and residents visit the early twentieth-century homes and buildings at Vizcaya, the Deering Estate, South Beach, or the Downtown Miami Historic District. In doing so the “Magic City” has forgotten the magic of its ancient past.

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Interview with the Author

What sparked your fascination with Florida’s early history?

Being raised in South Florida, I truly thought my family was the first to live in my “neighborhood.” When I started studying history, I became fascinated with why South Floridians imagine their history as being so recent. How could I have grown up surrounded by Tequesta mounds, Seminole Indians, and slave plantations without knowing anything about them?

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