Historic Black Church program premieres G.W. Carver film

admin | 4/19/2012, 5:34 a.m.

The histories of many of South Floridas Black communities and institutions are often told as stories passed down from one individual to the next. The tradition allows for colorful, rich tales to be told but it is a method that is always in danger of being lost to the eroding effects of time on memory. To create lasting records of local Black historical events, the University of Miami (UM) School of Laws Center for Ethics and Public Service (CEPS) launched the Historic Black Church Oral History Project to educate future generations about the leadership role of churches in the Black/Caribbean-American communities of South Florida. Its important to have history to be archived and recorded, explained Cindy McKenzie, the CEPS program manager. And we focused on the West Grove because its got such a rich history. Each year, students research and prepare a documentary that will be screened publicly. On Thursday, April 5th, the Historic Black Church program premiered a viewing of their original documentary, G.W. Carver: A Community School. Led by three UM law school students - Quinshawana Landon, Erica Gooden, and Erika Kane - information and interviews were gathered by partnering with local institutions and organizations such as Ransom Everglades School, the Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance and the George Washington Carver Alumni Association. The screening was held at what is today known as the George Washington Carver Middle School. However, several years ago, the junior high school was once the George Washington Carver High School. It was one of the few schools in southwest Miami-Dade County that was open to Blacks in the Jim Crow era. In spite of the times and the racial prejudices, many former students fondly recall their days at the school. We took pride in our school, said James Bethel, a Carver alumnus. It wasnt a large school. It wasnt a large student body, but we took pride in it. It was our school. Integration took that pride away from us, dispersed us. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com