Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Shame of Coconut Grove

Number One in a series

I am on another one of my routes in Miami-Dade County and looking for Charles Avenue, a street my GPS tells me is only a few short blocks long, running west, less than a mile ahead of me. I am travelling northeast on what is laughingly called Main Highway. This small street, part residential and part commercial, begins at Grand Avenue in the north, near Coco Walk. Running on an oblique angle, parallel to the coast of Biscayne Bay less than a half mile away, it ends at South Douglas Road, aka Southwest 37th Avenue. That's a distance of one mile. Yes, that's right. Main Highway isn't either very Main, nor is it much of a highway to be perfectly honest.

I am in Coconut Grove, long since amalgamated into the city of Miami.

The GPS announces, "Approaching left turn. DING," and I make the swing onto Charles Avenue. Immediately upon my turn I spot an historical marker. I've always been a sucker for historical markers, stopping for as many as I see. It's extremely rare to find one on residential street, tho'. Naturally I stop.

It seems like providence stumbling across this marker, considering my life-long interest in race relations (which involves a massive book I am writing on just that topic).

Our new Attorney General Eric Holder says we are are a cowardly nation when it comes to discussing race relations. "Some people say" a picture is worth a thousand words.

Allow me to add these thousand words to get the discussion started. Here's the reality of how Florida's oldest Black community is honoured:


I'll be back with periodic updates on my new research obsession: Coconut Grove.

With all my love,
Aunty Em

Sunday, February 01, 2009


For Anisha

With all my love,
Aunty Em


After I had explored that little lakefront I took a leisurely walk back to the car. I was less than 3 feet away when I saw this paper bag on the ground. Naturally, I was attracted by the curious shape sticking out of the broken bottom. It wasn't until I was standing right over top of it did I realize it was a whole chicken (or other fowl; I didn't examine it that closely), which had somehow been flattened and left for posterity.

On some of my routes I have seen roosters in the city (really!), but this was my first chicken.
Q: What's the difference between kinky and perverted?
A: With kinky you use a feather. Perverted? You use the whole chicken.
I also see a lot of odd and interesting signs on my travels as well. This one is my most recent favourite.

I know I promised Charles Avenue next, but I've determined that to do it properly it's going to take a little research. Once that's done I'm going to have to put on my Investigative Journalist Hat, so please be patient with me. I see it as a 2 week project, if I have the time.

With all my love,
Aunty Em