Miami, FL Sept. 24, 2018 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower in downtown Miami has been selected to participate in the 2018 Partners in Preservation: Celebrating Diversity on Main Street, a national competition for a chance to win up to $150,000. The funds will be used to renovate the Cuban Exile Exhibit and transform the education room at the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) located inside the Freedom Tower.
Throughout its history, the Freedom Tower has embraced and served the communities that have made Miami home. Constructed in 1925 as a home for The Miami News, the Freedom Tower was modeled after the Giralda Cathedral Bell Tower in Seville, Spain. Striking in its architectural detail with its octagonal tower and richly ornamented facade, it remains one of South Florida’s most distinctive historic buildings.
MDC’s Freedom Tower, also known as the “Ellis Island of the South,” served as a reception center for Cuban refugees from 1962 to 1974. Though it operated in that capacity for only 12 years, the building has become an icon representing the faith that democracy brought to troubled lives, the generosity of the American people and a hopeful beginning that assured thousands a new life in a new land.
Today, the Freedom Tower continues its legacy of serving the community through the Museum of Art and Design, the MDC’s Special Collections Galleries – the Cuban Legacy Gallery and the Kislak Center, while also serving as the operational site for the Miami Book Fair, the Miami Film Festival and MDC Live Arts.
“Miami Dade College assumes its role as a leader in our community and we take pride in our efforts to safeguard and celebrate the historical facilities under our care,” said MDC’s President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “The Freedom Tower is a treasure because of what it represents. As the home of our city’s first newspaper, this building reminds us of one of the cornerstones of democracy – freedom of the press – and as the processing center for thousands of Cuban refugees who arrived in Miami in the 60s and 70s, it is a daily reminder of our country’s embrace of all who yearn to live the American Dream, free from oppression, and free to pursue happiness.”
MDC will host an Open House the weekend of Oct. 20-21 to rally local support. Details will be announced soon.
Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership, created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. This year’s campaign is focused on sites that celebrate diversity and the fight for equality.
To date, Partners in Preservation has committed over $22 million in support of more than 200 historic sites across the country. Drawing on last year’s success, this year the campaign will award $2 million in grants to historic sites on America’s Main Streets. Each of the sites featured in the campaign played a role in the development of a diverse nation or the struggle for equal rights. The public will decide which historic sites receive a share of $2 million in preservation funding. Winners will be announced on Oct. 29.
Each person can vote up to five times per day. Cast your votes by Oct. 26 at 11:59 p.m., at www.VoteYourMainStreet.org, hosted by media partner National Geographic.