Over Under Paris by Fabian Rodriguez



Coming from a city where the use of a metro system is unheard of, one of the things that impressed me the most in Paris was the efficiency of their metro system. We like to think of our country as one of the most progressive and advanced when it comes to technology, but after experiencing how something as simple as a metro it makes you wonder.

Things I saw in every train ride!

As in any other mean of public transportation, the metro receives people from all genders, races, ages, and ethnicities. It was surprising to see how many people, young or old, were reading books or magazines in each ride. Moreover, when riding the metro, one thing that for sure it’s lost is personal space. It took me some time to adjust to the fact that people might bump into me or that they might be standing closer than normal during the entire ride.

Paris metro

Many people visit Paris and go home talking about the Eiffel-Tower, The Louvre or the Arc of Triumph. Just like every other tourist, I will do the same. However, unlike many of them I will talk about the 113-year-old Parisian metro. The metro that consists of 14 lines, 303 stations, and covers a distance of 205 kilometers. It is the largest and most complex station in the world. Moreover, the Parisian metro is the 7th busiest subway in the world with 1.5 billion passengers every year, roughly 4.5 million per day.

Purpose of the Project

The purpose of the project was to familiarize myself with Paris metro system. This is a way to understand the importance of a metro system as public transportation. The project also enhances the idea that one could find a completely different environment and culture in between each station. I will take you into a journey of ten stations in Line 2 of the Parisian metro system. I will be discussing the demographics and many different things that I encounter in each stop.

Paris Metro Line 2

Line two consist of 25 stations and as the name suggests it was the second line constructed in the Paris metro. The line runs from Porte Dauphiné to Nation and it is the 7th busiest line out of the 16. The line has a length of 12.4 kilometers. The easiest was to find what to do at every station is to look at a map of the area which highlights important landmarks and other places to visit which can be found five minutes away from the station.


CC BY-SA 3.0

Metro Station: Porte Dauphine

 This station is very important since it marks the end of line 2 in the western side of Paris. The station also has a connection to the RER. The entrance of the metro station is one of the most astonishing ones in line two since it lays right in the middle of a park. “The Porte Dauphine gives its name to this neighborhood that is a perfect meeting point between relaxed and relaxing since it allows a retreat to the countryside thanks to its garden of acclimatization” (Dauphine. (n.d.). The town is also well known for its amazing schools which attracts a lot of family life (Dauphine. (n.d.).


This town was rich in open areas which was really refreshing after exploring cities like Lyon and other neighborhoods in Paris where they were covered with buildings. As soon as I got off the train station I was at a park. There were many young people having a picnic there. You could also see families playing with their kids and even pets. Compared to the other neighborhoods that I had visited, Porte Dauphine was like a ghost town. Moreover, adolescents were displaying great skills at a soccer field nearby.


I always try to find sculptures throughout my exploration of the town. As someone who is really into cars and even NASCAR I was staggered to find a sculpture of Jean-Pierre Wimille, a Grand Prix motor racing driver, who after doing some research I found out was a member of the French Resistance during World War II.


Metro Station: Charles de Gaulle-Etoile

 It was named in 1970 after the death of president Charles de Gaulle. Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station connects to metro station 1, 6 and the RER. It is one of the most visited stations in line two since it has the Arc of Triumph just a few meters from it. Near the station, there is also Champs-Elysees which is one of the twelve avenues that connect to the Arc of Triumph.


This is a town with great live, the many cars honking and the immense amount of people gives it a sense as if it were a city of its own. People from all ages gather to admire the Arc of Triumph. Tourists, school groups, older people and even locals come to visit this place everyday.


Another landmark near the Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station is the avenue of Champs-Elysees. One of the busiest streets in Paris and a crucial one if any brand wants to legitimize their business. Through this street one can find people from all over the world and of all ages as well. There are also many street performers who try to earn a living by displaying their talents. Alongside the street, one can find many prestigious brands like Louis Vuitton, Apple, Zara, etc.


Metro Station: Rome

The station was opened on October 7th 1902 and was named after the Italian capital, Rome. This is not a touristic area as there are no attractions or great buildings to explore.


Even though this was a huge town, there were not many people in it. The streets were pretty much empty, which might be the reason why this was one of the cleanest towns I have visited in the city. The uniformity throughout the city was astonishing. It was really hard to determine the population demographic since there weren’t many people outside, but from what I got to see wealthy people in their late forties are the ones that live in this town. The small groups of people that I got to see were mostly white.


As I set off to discover the unknown, I came across a University. It is a college well recognized for their Literature, Physics, and Technology departments. It was incredible to see how a college of such prestige could be found in the center of the town right next to a supermarket and even residential areas for non-students.


Just a few minutes from the station, I came across the Temple des Batignolles. It is a Protestant church constructed in 1895. Its structure has a neo-Roman style to it. After seeing all those Catholic Churches, it was refreshing to admire a Protestant temple.


Metro Station: Blanche

The station was opened back in October 21, 1902. “There are sex shops and dive bars, you’ll find chic cocktail lounges, barista cafés, gastro-bistros, and trend-setting hotels that make a visit to the neighborhood feel like a discovery” (Ladonne, 2017).


The neighborhood’s naughty appeal dates back to the 1880s, when everyone from down-and-out artists to British royalty flocked to a slew of watering holes, including Moulin Rouge, for a night of drinking and dancing” (Ladonne, 2017).


As a result, many tourists visit the neighborhood hoping to have a good time or to see something that they have never experienced before. People from all ages can be found in this area, especially the younger population who are more open minded about this topic. In these streets, I was able to witness something of a culture shock as I saw some Parisian walking their kids, who were maybe 8 years old, next to sex shops and night clubs. This would have caused a riot back in the United States, which puts things in perspective, and makes me question how open minded we really are.


However, this town did not only have to offer naughty entertainment, in fact it had a rich artistic culture. A few minutes into the outskirts of the town, one can find many theaters and comedy halls. A few minutes from the main street and it was as if I were in a different city. There was no tourists, no big crowds and no sex shops. This is a very modern city which is one of the reasons why the younger population is prominent.


Metro Station: Anvers

The Métro station, Anvers, was named after square d’Anvers which received its name from the Belgian city of Antwerp (Anvers Metro Station). By the end of the 19th century, the town (Montmartre) became a popular area for artists, singers and late-night revelers to hangout (Davidson, 2019). “The area welcomes daily throngs of tourists, who continue to be charmed by the essence of “old France” that still hangs in the air”(Davidson, 2019).


The hill on which Montmartre, and the basilica, Sacré Coeur, stand, was used for protection in battle (Davidson, 2019). During the Siege of Paris in 1590, it became the prime spot for Henry IV to fire artillery down onto the city below and it was later used in 1814 by the Russians (Davidson, 2019). There were many tourists from all over the world; people from all ages came to see the Basilica and the town of Montmartre.


The fact that there were many souvenir shops enhanced the idea that this was a town for tourists. There were many artists selling their work on the streets. However, these were not ordinary artists since their artwork was unique to them. There are not many towns that give me a sense of authenticity in France, but the town of Montmartre gave me that. The old cars, the narrowed streets, the music playing in the background, and even the architecture made me feel like a real Parisian.


This town has a huge amount of culture and art within it. There are many theaters and music halls like the Theatre de L’Atelier and La Cigale. This was all caused by the many artists like Monet and Picasso who lived in the area.


Metro Station: La Chapelle 

 A great number of people get off at la Chapelle but a great number of people also get on. The community did not seem to be very developed. La Chapelle, commonly referred to as “Little Jaffna” just like the capital of Sri Lanka (Davison, 2019). Here, one can find shops and restaurants reflecting the presence of Sri Lankan and South Indian culture and one can even hear the Tamil language (Davison, 2019).


While walking on the streets it was very clear that the population of the town was composed mainly by immigrants. There was a big population of Southern Indians and Sri Lankans. The big Indian community was reflected on the many Indian stores they had, like supermarkets, restaurants and shops.


Just a few minutes from the station a catholic chapel can be found, Chapelle Notre Dame Des Malades. I was surprised to see how different this chapel looked from the other ones I had visited in Paris. From the outside it looked like a normal building where people lived their normal life. Who would have thought that after walking in I would have found a small piece of Notre Dame. I was captivated by the fact that I now understood how to identify each movement displayed in every building I saw. This church, just like Notre Dame, had a gothic style and the stone structure of the church, the sharply pointed spires, and the stained glass reaffirmed this. However, the fact that the arcs had a more oval shape instead of pointy, suggested that the church was also influenced by the Renaissance movement.


While exploring the town, I came across the Theatre des Bouffes du Nord. After seeing the many Indian stores, I was intrigued to see whether the plays were French or Indian plays. To my surprise the plays were French. It was really amazing to see something that reminded me that I was still in France.


Metro Station: Stalingrad

The architecture is classic Parisian but a little rundown and threadbare, which together with the lack of tourist sites, is one of the reasons why the streets and sidewalks aren’t cleaned as often (MinibarRaider, 2008).


There does not seem to be a great interest in this station by tourist groups. It was eminent that the young population was underrepresented in this town. The majority of the citizens in the area seemed to be much older, from their 50s up. The town was not very clean as there was a lot of trash in the streets. There was a great balance between the African American community and the white community. As I moved away from the station, a much younger population was perceived, and the city was much cleaner.


A few minutes from the metro station, I came across the 10 Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad which is a square named after the Battle of Stalingrad that took place during WWII. Many people think of the French as arrogant people, however, the fact that they named a square after a battle that happened in Russia and that they even named the station as such suggests otherwise. These memorials reaffirm the love that the French have for nature and fountains which date back to Louis XIV.


As I walked through the town, I came across an Office Depot. I was very surprised but then again, I realized this was another statement of how well the French mix with other culture.


I discovered the Fontaine du Conservatoire Municipal. The fountain was completed in 1987, by the architect Fernand Pouillon. It is a pretty impressive fountain and of great stature. However, it was not working due to vandalism.


Metro Station: Colonel Fabien

One of the stations that I had to check out was Colonel Fabien since it had my name. The station was named after Pierre Georges, best known as Colonel Fabien. He carried out the first assassinations of German soldiers during WWII (Calves, 1996).


Just in front of the metro station, one can find the Place du Colonel Fabien, which also commemorates the colonel. This square had exercise machines where a couple of older people where working out.


A town of much younger people. This could be seen in the modern structures of the buildings and the daycares and parks for little children that they had.


Near the Colonel Fabien square, there was a statue celebrating the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the French philosopher, Albert Camus. The statue stimulated the modernization of the town as it appeared to be abstract.


Metro Station: Pere Lachaise 

 The Pere Lachaise metro station was a station with a lot of movement. One of the reasons for this is the fact that nearby one can find the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. The younger population was palpable. Most of them were from their twenties to their late thirties. Lots of people get off at this station.


There were lots of tourists visiting the cemetery since there are many famous historical figures buried there, including Oscar Wilde and Jean-Francois Champollion. Another important person, who I thought was interesting to be buried at this cemetery was Colonel Fabien.


Just across the street from the cemetery, the Notre Dame Du Perpetuel Secours can be found. This is a beautiful church hidden within the town. Once again, I was able to identify its gothic structure with the sharply pointed spires, and the stained glass.


Metro Station: Nation

“Some of the most lively places in the capital, you’ll always be able to have a good night at one of the many bars and restaurants” (What to ser and do in Bastille).

Nation is one of the busiest stations in line 2 as it connects to line 1,6,9 and the RER. This station is also very important since it marks the end of line 2 and 6 in the eastern side of Paris. Today, the neighborhood is best-known for its active nightlife, the Opéra Bastille, a modern opera house, and the Promenade Plantée, an elevated park walkway that sits atop the train line, stretching eastward and splitting the district in two (Bastille).


The younger population was well represented; however, it was made up mostly by white people. This was a really clean neighborhood. It seems like a wealthy area. The modern twenty and twenty first century architecture was compatible with its young population.


Something that is never missing from these neighborhoods in Paris, are parks and gardens where people go to socialize with friends and families and even lovers while admiring the view. As soon as you climb the stairs out of the station your eyes meet the Square de la Place de la Nation. The square is widely known for having the most active guillotines during the French Revolution (Bastille). Right at the center of the Place de la Nation, one can find The Triumph of the Republic, a large bronze sculpture that celebrates the triumph of the republic.


As someone who is going into the medical field, I was wondering how private clinics looked here in Paris. I found the answer to my question in the outskirts of the neighborhood in nation. I was astonished to see how different these clinics where from the US. Normally, in the US, a private clinic is found in a building with other private clinics or business. However, here I found some clinics that were blended into the city apartments.




Anvers Metro Station – What can be found nearby? (2019, January 22). Retrieved from https://job-in-france.babylangues.com/metro-expo-resto/4-anvers-metro-station/

Dauphine. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.junot.fr/en/neighborhood-paris/Dauphine

Davidson, C. (2019, June 26). Paris to South Asia in a Metro Ride: Exploring the La Chapelle Area. Retrieved from https://www.tripsavvy.com/la-chapelle-little-sri-lanka-1618685

Davidson, C. (2019, June 03). A Full Guide to Montmartre, One of the Artiest Paris Districts. Retrieved from https://www.tripsavvy.com/guide-to-the-montmartre-neighborhood-1618711

Ladonne, J. (2017, January 04). A Neighborhood Guide to Pigalle, Paris. Retrieved from https://www.fodors.com/world/europe/france/paris/experiences/news/neighborhood-guide-pigalle-paris-12218

MinibarRaider. (2008, September 11). 19th / Stalingrad area? – Paris Forum. Retrieved from https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k2244867-19th_Stalingrad_area-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

Calvès, André (1996). “La Colonne Fabien”(in French). Retrieved 2015-04-04.

What to See and Do in Bastille/République/Nation Neighborhood. (2017, May 29). Retrieved from https://www.france-hotel-guide.com/en/blog/bastille-republique-nation/

Bastille – Nation Neighborhood, Paris. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.urbansider.com/discover-plan/paris-at-a-glance/bastille-nation/


Fabian Rodriguez: France as Text 2019


Photo by Alex Gutierrez

Fabián David Rodríguez Riera is currently studying biology at Florida International University. Fabian’s plan is to go to medical school where he can pursue his longtime dream of becoming a plastic surgery. He is a junior who came from Cuba about six years ago in search of a brighter future. His hobbies are dancing, playing sports, especially soccer, and listening to music. Fabian’s as texts can be found.


“Religion and power in Paris” by Fabian Rodriguez of FIU in Paris, France on 07/08/2019.IMG_7218

Paris is a well known city throughout the world. I was excited to come to one of the most visited cities in the world, however, I was a little worried to interact with a society whose language and culture is different from mine. In a city that is more than 2000 years old it is very difficult to pick a place as my favorite. Between the Eiffel Tower and it’s revolutionary ambitions; the arc of triumph and its glorification of Napoleon and his soldiers; the Louvre and it’s unique pieces of artwork that cemented history; and the Sainte-Chapelle and it’s political reasons for construction; I would definitely have to pick Sainte-Chapelle. As I walked into the servant’s part of the Chapelle I was not that impressed since it looked like every other gothic Chapelle I have seen. However, as soon as I walked into the main part of the Chapelle, where the crown of thorns was displayed, I was astonished by its beauty. I was even more surprised to learn that the entire story of the Bible was implanted into the stained glass. The high ceilings made me feel like a fly and the unique gothic structures intrigued me very much. I felt privileged to see how many people come to this beautiful building and just see it like that, a beautiful building, without knowing the reason it was built and the many stories it tells. 


“The eccentricities of a king” by Fabian Rodriguez of FIU in Versailles, France on 07/08/2019.56558E3C-81BC-42F8-A78A-5CB934024FD4

Seeing Versailles for the first time is overwhelming. As soon as I laid eyes on the palace I felt such a glamour and I knew then why the French are so proud of their culture. Seeing the long lines reassures Louis’ purpose for building the palace. He wanted to create something that would transcend through time. 

If someone asked me what is the most eccentric place I have ever been, i would definitely say it would have to be Versailles. This palace, contrary to many other buildings in Paris, is not a political statement but a building that showed the power of France and the greatness of Louis the 14th. An evidence of this is the hall of mirrors, where king Louis used to receive diplomats and tried to make an impression so they would invest in the greater good of France. When I first walked into the hall, I felt as if time had stopped and I pictured how shocking would have been to walked into the room back in the 15th century and see the king in his throne and the gardens being reflected on the hundreds of mirrors that were there. This eccentricity can be seen in the many sculptures and paintings that portray Louis as Apollo and Mars. Seeing the gardens designed by Andre Le Notre was formidable. The symmetry, the fountains, and the music made it seemed like we were visiting a palace whose host was the sun king: Louis XIV. 


“Montluc: a dark place within a beautiful city” by Fabian Rodriguez of FIU in Lyon, France on 07/15/20197B1CBF53-1A2E-4E14-B3D9-7F66529D834B

Just a few hours to the south of Paris, the city of Lyon can be found. The city is the home of over two million people and it is the third largest urban area in France. Over 2000 years ago, Lyon was the capital of the Roman Empire in Gaul.

In my opinion Walking through Lyon is like walking through time. There can be seen architectural structures from the Roman Empire like the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière; or La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière which contains gothic roots. Moreover, the city of Lyon played a huge role in the Second World War, as it became the center of the French resistance. 

One of the things that interested me the most of Lyon was our visit to the Montluc prison since it is evidence of the horrendous acts committed by the Nazis during WWII. Montluc was built in 1921 after WWI as a military prison for French soldiers who were condemned there or were waiting to be sentenced. For the time, this prison had good living conditions. However, after the German invasion of the “Free Zone” in November 1942 it served as a prison were Jewish people or Resistance fighters were waiting to be deported or executed. Just like Adrian told us, the prisoners weren’t allowed to go outside and there would usually be up to eight of them in one cell. It is hard to imagine how they were able to survive this for up to two month most of the time. As I walked through the doors of each cell and saw the faces of some of the people and even children that were imprison there, I couldn’t help but to feel devastated but at the same time ashamed for letting some of these events repeat themselves. 


“Such a tragedy needs to be remembered” by Fabian Rodriguez of FIU in Izieu, France on 07/15/2019.E26F131E-9D7D-4484-91B6-29203D46C996

The Izieu Maison was founded by Sabine Zlatin and Miron Zlatin as a way to hid and protect “Jewish” children from the Nazis in World War 2. The home is found in what was considered the Free Zone before November 1942. Therefore, this was thought of by “Jewish” parents as a safe place to send their kids during the war. 

As I walked into the house I couldn’t help to think how those children, who were just between four to seventeen years old, must have felt walking into the house. It must have been a very sad moment for them knowing they had to leave their lives behind but I think that deep down they must have known that their parents did it for a reason. I know that the circumstances were not the same, but I felt a connection to these kids since I had a similar feelings when leaving my Native country, Cuba. I also felt an empty soul when my dad left but I knew it was for a better future. Children from different backgrounds, like Polish and even German, were welcomed in Izieu; and just like me they had to learn another language that was not their native tongue, in their case it was French. Reading some of the children’s letters like the one who was thanking an anonymous person for a gift, shows how genuine and mature they were. The best part of the house was the little room with fourteen chairs and two black boards that served as a way to stop the Nazi’s goal of dehumanize Jews. In 1944 Izieu was raided under the orders of Klaus Barbie and 44 children were arrested together with seven adults. I felt so much rage knowing that these were just children, not resistance fighters, and that the war was already over.

In my opinion this monument and all of the documents inside serve as evidence of the despicable actions carried by the Nazis. It also serves as a way to remember those children and to never forget their story so that something like this won’t happened ever again. 

“ Who is not forgotten is not dead” by Fabian Rodriguez of FIU at Normandy, France on 2019.Bn7yc5zkQPK+q54YJis+Ww

Thomas Dry Howie

Rank: Major

Battalion Commander and Infantry Officer in the 29th Infantry Division  

Branch: U.S. Army

Entered from: Virginia

Samuel Butler once said: “To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead”

Just so you don’t forget:

In the spring of April 12th, 1908, the state of South Carolina had the honor to welcome you to the world, Thomas Dry Howie. You grew up to be an exemplary scholar, and after obtaining a high school diploma, you went off to a military college in South Carolina, the Citadel (Bedingfield, 2017). Your academic potential showed as you made the Dean’s List as an English Major (Mebane, B.). However, you also exceeded in your extracurricular activities as the captain of the baseball team and All State Halfback on the football team (Bedingfield, 2017). At this young age, you demonstrated Herculean amounts of tenacity and leadership which are clearly perceived in the hunger strike that you led in order to protest the poor quality of food in the mess hall at the Citadel (Mebane, B.).

The contrast between courage and grief must have been palpable the day you parted for England. Tears probably flowed down Elizabeth’s eyes, while Sally looked confused, as you two embraced, since she was too little to understand the magnitude of your mission. Your head must have been spinning from all the commotion. And your heart must have been torn. But if you were certain about something, it was that this war was necessary in order to ensure the wellbeing and the future of your little daughter. 

A little over 75 years ago, on July 6, you and the rest of your comrades landed on Omaha Beach. After surviving the assault, you were sent to take control of St. Lo together with the third battalion. Sadly, at the still young age, 36, on July 17 1944, a mortar shell took your life. But not your legacy. 

Just so I don’t forget: 

Your denunciation of the quality of the food back in college that has implemented a sense of leadership and dignity in me. These same values are the ones that I hope to pass on to my fellow citizens of Cuba with the goal of fighting a dictatorship, just like you did.  Your stance against racism gave me the opportunity to migrate to a strange country where I could feel comfortable and positive about a better future.  Your fearless actions in the battlefield paved the way for our citizens, who now know they have a responsibility to stand up for what they believe in.

 “To die completely, a person must not only forget but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead”

And through this piece of writing I expect to remember you.

I expect to let your will of fire burn in our citizens.

I will be forever in your debt for allowing me and millions of people to live free from oppression.

Thank you Major!


Major Thomas D. Howie (. (2017, November 26). Retrieved from https://www.geni.com/people/Major-Thomas-D-Howie-The-Major-of-St-Lo/6000000031900553704

Bedingfield, G. (2017, August 6). Baseball’s Greatest Sacrifice. Retrieved from http://www.baseballsgreatestsacrifice.com/biographies/howie_thomas.html

Mebane, B. (n.d.). REMEMBERING A FORGOTTEN LEGEND – THOMAS DRY HOWIE, “THE MAJOR OF ST LO”. Retrieved from https://thecitadelmemorialeurope.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/remembering-a-forgotten-legend.pdf


“Who We Are” by Fabian Rodriguez of FIU @Pere_Lachaise

Photo credits to Alex Gutierrez 

I intend to honor and explore the life of one of the most influential writers of the 20th century in the battle against oppression towards minorities, especially African Americans. Back in the 20th century, Americans were still victim of oppression and the mistreatments of certain groups based on their gender, color, and even ethnicity was still in effect. However, through his writing, Richard Wright became the person that we all aspire to be; a person who fought for the rights of all minorities, regardless of the consequences.

Richard Nathaniel Wright was born in September 4, 1908 in Mississippi. He was a writer who focused his work on novels and short stories. His father left home when he was just five years of age (Britannica). Wright’s grandparents had been slaves but obtained their freedom after the war (Britannica). After his mother was left paralyzed, due to a stroke, Wright was always moving from place to place, and by twelve, he had only completed one year of schooling. At just sixteen years of age, Wright published his first short story (Britannica). His collection is very extensive, including works like Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son and his notorious autobiography, Black Boy (Britannica). After moving to Chicago, Wright joined the Communist Party in 1933. After World War II, he moved to Paris where he lived until his death in November of 1960 at 52 years of age.

At first it was not easy to find similarities to someone who lived over eighty years ago. However, upon close consideration, I came to the realization that today is not so different as when Richard Wright was alive. Even though, sad to say, I have endured some of the challenges Wright denounced decades ago. As an immigrant who left Cuba for political reasons, it was hard for me to understand why I was judged by society in the land of the free. As an alien who didn’t understand the language, I still could understand how other members of society looked at me as an inferior being. Those same hardships Wright describes in his autobiography Black Boy were the same hardships I experienced as other kids did not interact with me because of the clothes I was wearing. When I first came to the United States, I went to three different schools in a period of 12 months, so I can relate to Wright feeling like an outsider everywhere he went.
Below is a poem exemplifying how we both felt by falling victim of oppression, and how White America can’t comprehend our feelings because they have never been in our shoes. The poem is titled “Who We Are”.

Like you, I know what it feels like to be looked at with hatred.
Like you, I know what it feels like to be judged based on my ethnicity.
Like you, I know what it feels like to be their laughing stuck.
Like you, I know what it feels like to think life is not fair.
Just like you, I know the struggle of constantly moving from school to school.

They don’t know what it feels like to be an outsider.
They, don’t know us…
They don’t know what it feels like to wake up and try to prove them wrong every day.
They, don’t know us…

But how can they know us?
How can they understand our struggles?
They, who are born with privilege.
They, who are taught to hate us.
We need to teach them otherwise.

Richard Wright and I have differences like the color of our skin and the periods in which we lived. However, that would be too superficial. People endure life and perceive differently based on their experiences. Richard and I are no so different! As someone who has experienced the lies and horrifying actions of a communist regime, I was not pleased to read that Richard Wright became a member of the communist party. However, I tried to looked at it with an open mind. I know for a fact what it is to be blinded by an ideology that promotes a society for the people and by the people, yet fails time and time again. If I could, I would let you know, Richard Wright, that those ideals have many hidden secrets that only benefit those at the top. If I could, I would let you know that this regime oppresses homosexuals, religious groups, and even people of color, and women. Those whom you tried to help through your writing. If I could, I would let you know that communists have killed millions simply for opposing their ideals, and even more people are dying everyday of hunger.


Richard Wright. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.biography.com/.amp/writer/richard-wright

Britannica, T. E. (n.d.). Richard Wright. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Richard-Wright-American-writer

France as Text
Miami as Text
France Study Abroad

John William Bailly  28 June 2019

Impacting Generations: Nicolas de Condorcet by Fabian Rodriguez



The purpose of this project is to go back in time and explore the life of one of the most important figures in the fight towards social reforms and gender equality. I will be exploring Condorcet’s early life experiences and how they shaped him to become such a radical thinker for his time, and even today, for his views on women’s rights. By exploring big ideas like gender, race, women’s right and perfection, I will be able to discover how Condorcet’s contributions to society so many years ago has affected my personal and social life today.  I based my research on this figure, since as a man I have been impacted by strong women such as my mother and sister, throughout my entire life. I saw this as an opportunity to appreciate Condorcet’s contribution to society and how he helped my mom and my sister have a voice that can be heard.  

Early life of a revolutionary thinker: Nicolas de Condorcet

Named Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet, but known as Nicolas de Condorcet, Nicolas was born in 1743 in a small town in France called Ribemont (1). His father was killed, in battle, shortly after his birth (2). Nicolas de Condorcet, was born from the ancient family of Caritat, who took their title from Condorcet, a town in Dauphiné (3). After the death of Nicolas’ father, his mother assigned him for protection to the virgin, where he wore white dresses until the unconventionally late age of eight (4). At the instigation of his paternal uncle, the orthodox-leaning bishop of Lisieux, Condorcet began his formal education at age nine (4). In his scholar years, he went to the Jesuit college in Reims and to the College of Navarre in Paris, where he excelled as a mathematician (3). He wrote papers on different subjects like mathematics after he became a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1769 (3). French philosopher and mathematician of the Enlightenment and advocate of educational reform and women’s rights (3). At only 21 years of age, his work on integral calculus, was praised by the Royal Academy of Science earning him the recognition by many as one of the top Europeans mathematicians of his time (4). In 1777, he was appointed secretary and spokesman of the French Academy of Science (2).  Another remarkable highlight in the life of Condorcet was his biography of a biography of Voltaire, and his mentorship of Auguste Comte accredited as the father of Sociology and with whom he had similar ideals regarding the progressive interpretation of history (1)

French Revolution: role of a radical thinker

Nicolas de Condorcet was very supportive of the French Revolution, since he saw this as the perfect time to strive for social reform (3). He helped draft the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the citizen (2). Condorcet was elected into the National Legislative Assembly in 1971, where he advocated to end the privileges of the monarchy, and proposed reforms for state education in France (4). However, he unsuccessfully tried to have girls educated alongside boys in colleges and universities, since he stated that gender has nothing to do with intellectual differences, the lack of educational opportunities is what affects women (4). 


Race vs Ethnicity

Race is still a very delicate topic in today’s society. Nicolas had a huge impact in the abolitionist movement in France through his work “Reflections on Black Slavery” and later by being the president of the Society of the Friends of Blacks (4). I decided to relate how equality of race has affected me as an immigrant of a different ethnicity. It is very hard to live in a place where you are looked down upon and feel like you don’t fit in. Even though, I still go through these uncomfortable situations, I feel like the battle of Nicolas against racism and slavery really made it much simpler. 

Women’s rights

“I hope that everyone who attacks my arguments will do so without using ridicule or declamation, and above all that, that someone will show me a natural difference between men and women on which the exclusion could legitimately be based”

“The rights of men stem exclusively from the fact that they are sentient beings, capable of acquiring moral ideas and of reasoning upon them. Since women have the same qualities, they necessarily also have the same rights. Either no member of the human race has any true rights, or else they all have the same ones; and anyone who votes against the rights of another, whatever his religion, color or sex, automatically forfeits his own.”

Nicolas de Condorcet discussed the fact that the obstacles that women face in society are based on their lack of education and opportunity just because of their sex. Furthermore, he states the equality of not just women compared to men but also racial and religious equality and how by putting someone’s right over others just based on these simple things as gender, race, or religious affiliation you are basically relinquishing your own rights. 

Condorcet’s battle against the oppression of women has really impacted me in a profound way. I was raised in an environment where my mom was a role model for me. She was able to become a doctor and I can’t stop thinking about the fact that she was able to achieve her dream due to the sacrifice of figures like Nicolas de Condorcet. The fact that I have the opportunity to be sitting next to my sister, studying in a university working to achieve a better version of ourselves each day. It is shocking to me to think about how the work of someone more than 300 years ago has allowed my mom and my sister to have a voice and important place in society. 


“It has never yet been supposed, that all the facts of nature, and all the means of acquiring precision in the computation and analysis of those facts, and all the connections of objects with each other, and all the possible combinations of ideas, can be exhausted by the human mind.”

One of Condorcet’s major focus was humankind strive for perfection; and we can see that in his work titled Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind, where he listed nine stages that the human race has gone through and states that the following step is going to be perfection. Even though, a perfect human race cannot be truly achieved, I believe that Condorcet’s ideals towards the better of humanity has helped me personally by inspiring me to become a better person every day, and by becoming a more capable member of society I can have a more direct impact in my surroundings. 

Reflection: How Condorcet’s life impacted mine


As I was doing this project, I found it very hard to connect my personal life to the work of another person that lived over 300 years ago. However, after some hours of research and an open mind, I was able to create a bond and a sense of appreciation for the sacrifice and the contributions Nicolas de Condorcet made to society. As I sat here reflecting how Condorcet’s life impacted mine I can honestly say that the first and most important thing that comes to mind is the fact that I get to sit next to my sister in a classroom where she has the same opportunities as me and where her voice matters as much as mine. I will forever be in debt to people that spend their lives in search of a more inclusive and “perfect” world like Nicolas de Condorcet did. 


  1. Beck, D. (n.d.). EMECC Early Modern Forum 1450 – 1850. Retrieved April 04, 2019, from https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/ecc/emforum/projects/brieflives/nicolas_de_condorcet/
  2. Smith, P. (2013, March 20). The Marquis de Condorcet: 1. Life and Times. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMjW1dNwXLU
  3. Acton, H. B. (2019, March 25). Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas-de-Caritat-marquis-de-Condorcet
  4. Landes, J. (2016, January 20). The History of Feminism: Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/histfem-condorcet/
  5. Nicolas de Condorcet Quotes (Author of Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind). (n.d.). Retrieved April 09, 2019, from https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5820660.Nicolas_de_Condorcet
  6. Race Versus Stereotypes, Which One Is The Real Problem? (2014, September 07). Retrieved from https://thenotsoobvious.com/2014/09/07/race-versus-stereotypes-which-one-is-the-real-problem/
  7. Smith, P. (2013, May 21). Condorcet: 3.1. The Rights of Women (part 1). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsDI-Td9PMw
  8. Aubin, M. (2019, March 12). Nicolas de Condorcet, a scientist serving the public interest. Retrieved from https://blog.open-agora.com/en/nicolas-de-condorcet-2/
  9. The Myth of Perfectionism; How to Stop Being Your Worst Critic. (2017, October 25). Retrieved from http://mayowaoluyede.com/the-myth-of-perfection/
  10. (10)Condorcet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.emaze.com/@AQOQCZZL
  11. The First Essay on the Political Rights of Women by Nicolas de Condorcet. (2011, March 24). Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20990730-the-first-essay-on-the-political-rights-of-women