I’ve been writing articles about aspects of South Dade history since early 2015. Some of my articles are on the website of the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum. Effective May, 2018, I decided to go out on my own because I no longer wanted to be limited to the history of Homestead. Other communities in South Dade, including Eureka, Florida City, Longview, Modello, Naranja, Princeton, Redland, Silver Palm and Goulds all have a lot of history that has never been told. Articles that I have written up to and including Forgotten Workers of Early Homestead – II appear on both the Museum website and Historic South Dade. Subsequent articles only appear on this website.
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Writing about the past in South Dade is quite a challenge. The biggest reason for this is that this area has always had a very transient population. When people left, they obviously took their history with them and if those stories weren’t documented prior to their departure, they have been lost. Another reason is that so much documentation, artifacts and photographs have been lost in fires and hurricanes. Historians working in this area have their work cut out for them. I’ve been very fortunate in making contact with a number of people who have been extraordinarily gracious and generous in sharing what they know.
The history of South Dade is almost virgin territory. Jean Taylor wrote a book called The Villages of South Dade that has been something of a “go-to” resource for many people interested in the history of South Dade. Over a period of 12 years, starting in about 1969, she interviewed hundreds of pioneers and their children and published her work in 1984. Her book was mostly based on oral history, which has to be used with great care. In the pre-Internet age, she did not have access to the resources historians now do. She also had no training in writing (her degree was in fine art) nor did she have an editor. For these reasons, among others, her book has to be used with caution as there are many errors in it. Her book is an essential starting point for historians working in the field of South Dade history but it, like any work, should not be treated as the ‘last word’ in the historiography of this area. No published work, including mine, is exempt from being subjected to critiques. There is no ‘truth’ in history, only a variety of perspectives. All of this said, if she had not published her book, we would all know significantly less than we do so we owe her a great debt of gratitude for her efforts.
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