Journalist and professor Madeleine Blais contemplates a move back to South Florida for a job teaching as a visiting professor at Florida International University. As part of her employment paperwork, she’s asked to sign an oath of loyalty to the state of Florida. As a journalist, this kind of thing makes her suspicious. She reflects on her previous years in Miami as she contemplates signing the oath and moving back:
My time in South Florida coincided with the worst period in its history. The F.B.I. called it the terrorist capitol of the world, thanks largely to Cubans attacking other Cubans for their political views. The cops called it the most dangerous place on earth: in the late seventies the drugs dealers were killing each other at such a rate that the coroner’s office had to rent a refrigerated meat truck from Burger King to accommodate the excess.
…When I decided to move back up north, a popular bumper sticker proclaimed: “Will the last American to leave Dade County please take the flag?”
Miami, it turns out, was not so easy to ditch.
Click on the player above to listen to Blais’s personal essay for Under the Sun.
Madeleine Blais is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. She won the award for her feature writing at The Miami Herald. This essay was adapted from a book she’s working on about “Miami today, as seen through the prism of its unsettling past.” Next fall, Blais will be back at Amherst University in Massachusetts, teaching a class called: “Florida: the News Capital of the United States.”