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Let’s not forget our local heros this Black History Month

Queen Brown | 2/13/2014, 9 a.m.
Black History is officially recognized during the month of February. Schools, businesses and communities throughout the United States will celebrate ...

Black History is officially recognized during the month of February.   Schools, businesses and communities throughout the United States will celebrate the lives of well-known African American leaders such as the late Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Mary McCloud Bethune, Malcolm X. and a host of others who carved out a path for all people of African descent.  African American leaders of the 21st century such as President Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Ben Carson, Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson, School Board Member District 2 Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall and other African American Achievers will also be celebrated during the month of February.  In fact all African Americans need to use this month to reflect and celebrate their lives and accomplishments.

South Florida is home to some of the country’s most distinguished African American leaders. South Florida’s very own former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek is the first African American female elected to the Florida Senate and the first Black Lawmaker elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington.  Another great hometown notable is the late, Jessie Collins Trice who was a champion in the field of health care and known for her dedication to eliminate disparities in health care services to African Americans and Hispanic populations. She is the first African American to graduate from the University of Miami School of Nursing and the recipient of many other awards and honors.

Another trailblazer in the field of healthcare and hometown notable is Dr. W. B. Sawyer, the founder of Christian Hospital, the County’s first Black Hospital.  Sawyer’s daughter, the late Gwen Cherry, was the County’s first Black female attorney and first African American woman elected to the Florida Legislature in 1970.  Another African American trailblazer from our hometown is the late Henry S. Reeves, the founder of South Florida oldest and largest Black newspaper, The Miami Times.  Garth Reeves Senior and the Reeves family continue the legacy by providing South Florida community with news from a Black perspective and relevant to our community.  

The list of local African Americans hometown leaders go on and on.  It is important that we take the time and get to know the history behind the names and faces on landmarks, streets and buildings in our community.  Even more important is for our children who were not around during initial years of the African American struggle learn to appreciate the lives and stories of African American Leaders such as Althalie Range, Theodore Gibson, Jefferson Reaves, Joe Caleb and Wilke Ferguson. As our children walk the hallways in their schools, and travel on the local streets and boulevards they must know the story behind the men and women whose names are represented. Take them on a tour and show them where the first Black Hospital in the County was located or the house where Gwen Cherry lived in Brownsville.  Our children can become motivated and inspired by African American leaders who have made a difference in their hometown and the South Florida Black community and know they too can become a great leader by learning about even past great local leaders.