claiming power by one seaside

 

My name is Sharony Green. Below is a picture of me and my mother. We are at greater Miami’s Virginia Key Beach in the late 1960s. This seaside land was once a beach designated for people of African descent.

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Today, I am an Associate Professor of History in the Department of History at the University of Alabama. As a native of Miami, Florida, with roots in the Bahamas and the U.S. Deep South, I seek answers to this question: “How do oppressed groups in one region claim power by moving through space?” The space in question is Florida and specifically, Miami. Part of my journey in finding answers involved oral histories with several dozen people who lived in greater Miami. The oldest was 96-years-old. The youngest was eight.

My 2017 article on racial and spatial politics in greater Miami was published by the Journal of Urban History. A presentation I made as I continued conducting research can be found here

In 2020, I was awarded the PEN America Jean Stein Literary Oral History grant, which allowed me to deepen my focus on postwar black settlement in the “Baa Haas/Bajas,” a neighborhood formerly known as Carol City, now the City of Miami Gardens in northwest Miami-Dade County. The manuscript is presently being reviewed by a publisher. The University of Miami’s initial rise to prominence as a powerhouse football program by cornering football talent on the peninsula in the 1980s figures into the narrative.

My attention to Florida also includes an investigation of  writer-anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston’s understudied experiences in Miami during the winter and spring of 1950, which led to my interest in studying her postwar experiences in Honduras. Indeed, while famously working as a maid in Miami, she was actually trying to return to Honduras, a place she once said has “given me back myself.” This research is enabled in part by my Andrew W. Mellon Foundation fellowship at Chicago’s Newberry Library in the spring of 2021. 

A running thread throughout my work is my deep desire to sort through how human beings encounter one another in a modernizing world. This is the case even though the idea of “modern” has many meanings, some more pertinent to the questions before me than others. As true of some researchers, my queries often pose tensions with a good many of my personal experiences.

For more about my research,  please visit www.sharonygreen.com.

 

 

Greater Miami Map
Places of special import for the racial and spatial politics study. Courtesy of the University of Alabama Cartographic Lab.
Zora Neale Hurston Movements.jpg
Places of special import for my present research on Zora Neale Hurston’s time in Miami. Courtesy of the University of Alabama Cartographic Lab.