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Becoming Friendship Park : the History of Border Field State Park
History of Border Field State Park
Faber, Jackson James
Passananti, ThomasBen, PabloEsbenshade, Jill
On the western edge of the U.S.-Mexico border is an area known as Friendship Park. Located on a bluff near the Pacific Coast, this unique space provides public access to the border fence, currently serving as a space for cross border visitation and celebrations of bi-national unity. Today this space challenges the hegemonic narrative that portrays the border as a dangerous space that is in constant need of military presence. Helicopters fly overhead and Border Patrol agents dictate when visitors can access the area nearest to the fence. Ironically, it was the Federal government who gave this land over to the California State Park system over four decades ago, with the purpose of creating a bi-national recreation area. Pat Nixon personally traveled to what would become Border Field State Park and even cut the barbed wire fence separating the two countries. The very existence of this space demonstrates that current border policy was not predetermined. The history of this park is not only a story of the transformation of a public space, it reveals how the border became a focal point for racial anxieties and misplaced notions of national security.
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2015
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