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: E E R F E B i L L m A a i L M L ’ f E o W n o Y i t A a D g E e r M g se SO e D The MIAMILAW

am rogr JECT P h O rc Chu FILM PR k c la ric B HISTORY o t s i H L ORA


Photo by Michael L. Carlebach*

“I think it was absolutely necessary. I think you would have had to live through the experience to truly understand.� ~Prof. Laverne Pinkney Director of the Education Advocacy Clinic, Florida International University Law Center Visiting Senior Fellow, Center for Ethics & Public Service, University of Miami School of Law

Contents The Historic Black Church Oral History Film Project 2 Ransom Everglades School Partnership 4 History of Desegregation 5 Featured 8 Leona Cooper Baker 8 Altansas Brown 8 Dean Colson 9 Wesley Sylvester Dallas 10 Daton Fullard 10 Valencia Gibson 11 Jesse Hill 11 John Holmes 12 Richard Holton 12 Dr. Joanne Hyppolite 13 Alfred Johnson 13 Dr. Shirley Johnson 16 Professor Thomas Korge 16 Houston Marshall III 17 Charles McCoy 18 Laverne Pinkney 18 Justice Peggy Quince 19 David Rowe 22 Linda Smith 23 Randy Spratling 23 Sheila Upson 24 Norris White 24 Alfred Williams 25 Linda Williams 25 Screening of SOMEDAY WE’LL ALL BE FREE: The Desegregation of Miami 29 Special Thanks 31

* Select photos provided by Michael L. Carlebach Photograph Collection, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida Copyright © Michael L. Carlebach. All rights reserved. “Busing for school integration, Ida Fisher Jr. High School, Miami Beach Florida, 2/24/72”

"So for each one of us, I think the challenge was 'how do I get my education in this kind of a constraint?'…you had people who literally hated your guts, and they were protesting; they were outside the schools… there was a lot of tension." ~Daton Fullard West Grove resident

Photo by Michael L. Carlebach*

The Historic Black Church Oral History Film Project The Historic Black Church Oral History Film Project signals an unprecedented campus-community partnership intended to preserve the rich cultural and social history of faith-based communities of color in South Florida, support university-wide interdisciplinary collaboration, and educate a new generation of high school, college, and graduate students about the crucial leadership role of Historic Black Churches in AfroCaribbean-American communities.

In the 2012-2013
 academic year, four
law student
fellows— Amanda Darlington, Alexa Philossaint, Jewell Reddick, and Christine Tudor— led a research team of
first and second year
law student interns in
an effort to document
the important history
of desegregation in Miami. The team collaborated with students and faculty from Ransom Everglades School,
the University of Miami’s School of Communication and Otto G. Richter Library Department of Special Collections, the George Washington Carver Alumni Association, and the Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance. By the late 1950s, Florida was one of only seven states that did not yet implement desegregation. It was


not until 1959, five years after Brown, that African Americans began enrolling in all-white public schools. Professor Laverne Pinkney observed:

“I think it was absolutely necessary…I think you would have had to live through the experience to truly understand how difficult it was. Children today, they can see the videos and … everything. But until you actually … walk through that and experience that, there really is nothing else that you can compare it to.” ~Prof. Laverne Pinkney Director of the Education Advocacy Clinic, Florida International University Law Center Visiting Senior Fellow, Center for Ethics & Public Service, University of Miami School of Law

During the academic year, the Oral History Film Project team met with high school students from Ransom Everglades School and explored the themes
of cultural and social history, particularly the unanticipated effects of desegregation and integration. Ransom students in turn interviewed individuals who lived through desegregation in Miami, presented their archival findings at a bi-weekly
on-campus seminar, and produced a written report for forthcoming publication. In addition, the Project team worked closely with students and faculty from the School of Communication to design and create an Oral History Film Project website, as well as with University librarians to create an archival exhibit. The Project team gives special thanks to its partners—Ransom Everglades School, the School of Communication, Richter Library Special Collections, George Washington Carver Alumni Association, and the Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance—for their assistance and enthusiasm. The team also thanks Program Manager Cindy McKenzie for her constant support and tireless effort. Fellows Amanda Darlington Alexa Philossaint Jewell Reddick Christine Tudor First-Year Volunteers Michelle Carter Ariel Mitchell

Interns Pamela Adewoyin Dayna Johnson

Ransom Everglades School Partnership The Oral History Project has truly evolved into an exceptional endeavor seeking to guarantee that the history of Coconut Grove, the West Grove in particular, is protected. One of the special parts of this project is the involvement of high school students from Ransom Everglades School and their vital role in preserving the rich culture of the West Grove that continues today. Our students have enjoyed talking to such a diverse group of people and have been thoroughly engaged in the stories that depict the growth of the West Grove. And while these stories are both happy and sad, our students have been able to portray how a community played such a vital role in our country’s history. We have seen how new Bahamian families found a better life, how the Civil Rights Movement created hardships and opportunities, and how a community came together and made a difference. When Paul Ransom arrived here in 1897, it is well documented that he knew of the significant Bahamian culture and the pioneering people who called this area their new home. As neighbors, we have a deep respect for the history and the culture that continues to support us as we support them. It is our goal to make sure this project is sustainable and continues to enrich the lives of this community and the greater Miami area. That is why it is an honor, a privilege, and our duty to serve this community and ensure that its strong history is never forgotten. Dr. Donald A. Cramp, Jr., Dean of Students, Ransom Everglades School 4

History of Desegregation By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

In 1865, slavery was abolished and there were three new provisions added to the constitution to reflect black people’s new legal status.1 However, state law and private action prevented integration in schools, transportation, recreational facilities, and the armed forces.2 In 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson was decided and the Supreme Court upheld the separation of blacks and whites with the separate but equal ideology.3 In the early 1950s, many southern states including Florida, launched efforts to equalize educational facilities.4 The south wanted to ensure equality in order to maintain racial separation. The NAACP Miami Chapter led the way in Miami to end Jim Crow laws, and was a driving force in the enforcement of desegregation of schools, handed down by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.5 Reverend Theodore Gibson was elected to head the Miami chapter in 1956 and believed his position as a minister would help him advocate for his community.6 Reverend Gibson was responsible for opening the

lines of communications which led to the desegregation of Miami schools.7 By the late 1950s, Florida was only one of seven states that had not complied with desegregation; it was not until 1956 with action brought by Reverend Gibson that the process began.8 With desegregation came busing students to other schools in order to maintain unitary status. Many in the black community felt they were asked to bus their students more than the white students, which led to protests at the school and national level.9 As desegregation began to be implemented, the effects on Miami, mainly the Coconut Grove area, were great and not easily executed or welcomed. These are some of the stories from individuals in the Coconut Grove community who experienced desegregation first hand. This documentary details their tales of hardship and triumph throughout a major shift in our country's policy.

1 2

7 8 9

3 4 5 6

U.S. Const. amends. XII, XIV, XV University of Miami School of Law, Center for Ethics and Public Service, SOMEDAY WE’LL ALL BE FREE: The desegregation of Miami, Oral History Documentary (May 18, 2013), Plessy v. Ferguson, 16 S.Ct. 1138 (1896) University of Miami School of Law, supra. Brown v. Board of Ed. of Topeka, 74 S.Ct. 686 (1954) University of Miami School of Law, supra.

Id. Id. Id.


“As we prepared to come to school, we were searched by the National Guard, because there was information about riots and bombs…. that was our first day.” ~Prof. Laverne Pinkney Director of the Education Advocacy Clinic, Florida International University Law Center Visiting Senior Fellow, Center for Ethics & Public Service, University of Miami School of Law

Photo by Michael L. Carlebach*

FEATURED LEONA COOPER BAKER By Sofia Butnaru Ransom Everglades School

The matriarch of the family, Leona Louise Cooper Baker was born to parents from the Bahamas on December 26, 1939. Ms. Cooper Baker attended George Washington Carver from 1st grade to 12th grade. Looking back at her life at Carver, she remembers a time of hardships and second-class treatment. She later attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. After graduating in 1960, she came back to South Florida and began to teach at Rainbow Park in Opa-Locka. Three years later she went to teach at Bunche Park. Due to her mother’s deteriorating health she moved closer to home and taught at her alma mater Carver Elementary. In 1970, full faculty integration took place and Ms. Cooper Baker and her friend Fanny Hall, were sent to work at Shenandoah Elementary. She described the day she was sent to Shenandoah as “the coldest day I’d ever experienced.” Nevertheless, she would remain at


Shenandoah Elementary for 22 years. During her time as an educator, Ms. Cooper Baker realized the failures of segregation as a result of the inability of some teachers to teach different races. She recalled numerous behavioral problems and difficulties due to integration. Ms. Cooper Baker is retired and living in the same plot of land in which she was born in Coconut Grove. n

ALTANSAS BROWN By Amanda Darlington University of Miami School of Law

Altansas Brown was born in 1952, and raised in Coconut Grove. Ms. Brown attended Saint Albans nursery school, Carver Elementary, Frances S. Tucker Elementary, and Coconut Grove Elementary for different grades of her adolescent education. Her first experience with integration was during her time at Coconut Grove Elementary. Ms. Brown’s parents hoped integration would be advantageous to her development and future opportunities. Not remembering any

Photos by Michael L. Carlebach*

preconceptions of attending an integrated school or times of differences in treatment at Coconut Grove Elementary, Ms. Brown describes the experience as having been a positive one. However, she remembers the loss the Coconut Grove community felt upon losing the once segregated George Washington Carver High School. She laments that the connection the Grove community felt with the school can still be felt and seen today in the alumni that reside around Miami Dade and other parts of the state and country. When Ms. Brown remembers her childhood in the Grove, she remembers her favorite Motown musicians like Mary Wells and Bobby Lewis. She remembers hearing the music she loved blasting all around Virrick Park in the Grove. Having been a career teacher, and a student of integration, Ms. Brown believes that students have the capability to take advantage of the education provided to them in any classroom setting. n

DEAN COLSON By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Dean Colson was born and raised in Coral Gables. His father was from Miami and ran a successful law firm. Throughout his childhood Mr. Colson was conscious of racial discrimination due to his father’s advocacy and involvement in the civil rights movement. At an early age, Mr. Colson’s father instilled in him the importance of the black middle class. Due to Mr. Colson’s upbringing he had already experienced integration long before it occurred at school. He had often played basketball with children of other races and cultures at the Southwest Boys Club. He also remembers being a young child and having Cuban immigrants integrated into his class on almost a weekly basis. Mr. Colson remembers how it was not unusual to get a new student in the classroom who spoke no English. In 7th grade, when his class was integrated at Ponce Junior High, it came as no big change. Mr. Colson acknowledges that integration was harder on the black


students than the whites because the blacks were uprooted from their comfort level while the white students were able to go on with their daily lives at their same school in their neighborhood. Mr. Colson has very fond memories of his childhood and experiences with other races. He feels that because of his upbringing he was able to have the positive response and memories of desegregation. n

WESLEY SYLVESTER DALLAS By Jewell Reddick University of Miami School of Law

Mr. Wesley Dallas is a 1966 graduate of Mays Senior High School. He remembers the Miami School Board starting the integration of schools in 1967. Mr. Dallas left Miami in August of 1966 after joining the Army. When he returned to Miami in August of 1970, Miami schools had been integrated. After returning to Miami, Mr. Dallas joined the Metro-Dade Police Department where he worked for 30 years. Mr. Dallas’ first exposure to integration was when he joined the military. He was surprised that his white friends from the military totally accepted him without ever questioning his race. He realized that not all whites were devils like he had thought in high school. Mr. Dallas eventually became an officer and commanded an artillery unit in Germany where he commanded both white and black soldiers. Mr. Dallas believes integration was both good and bad for the Black community. He stated that integration was good in the sense that the community got streetlights, sewer systems, and parks, but he believes


that integration was bad because there is no such thing as communities in Miami anymore. He believes that the village raised everyone during his childhood, but that village no longer exists. Mr. Dallas hopes to live long enough to see a shift in consciousness happen, where we can all embrace each other as human beings. n

DATON FULLARD By Carter Shoer Ransom Everglades School

Daton Fullard grew up in a very eventful time in American History. Whether it was the civil rights movement, integration, or the Vietnam War, Mr. Fullard saw the effects of the changing times during the 50’s and 60’s. Born in 1950, Mr. Fullard grew up in South Carolina, Washington D.C., and Florida. He lived in South Carolina until he was 6 years old, witnessing segregation at a very young age. He attended an all African American school in South Carolina and had almost no interaction with white people. When he lived in Washington D.C. he thought it was interesting “that there was a lot of change in terms of how society was behaving.” D.C. was a more progressive part of the country than South Carolina. As a child with a thirst for knowledge, Mr. Fullard started to ask questions and learn more about segregation. Mr. Fullard moved to South Miami and attended school at George Washington Carver in Coconut Grove. He liked the atmosphere at Carver and the strong black community that was connected through the school. He said that “all of the little pockets of African American communities” went to Carver and created a larger and stronger

black community. He was disappointed that he had to leave Carver when he and his classmates were part of the first class at Carver to integrate with the white schools. Mr. Fullard’s class was integrated to Miami Southwest Senior High School for 11th grade. Mr. Fullard did not like Southwest Miami High School because he had to “fight” every day to receive his education. The racial tensions between the black and white students were still strong, even though it appeared that integration was going well. Although the schools were integrated at this time, the system was still set up for black students to have fewer opportunities than the white students. n

VALENCIA GIBSON By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Ms. Valencia Gibson is originally from Puerto Rico and was born on September 16, 1958. She is a cousin of Miami civil rights leader Reverend Theodore Gibson. Ms. Gibson grew up in the Coconut Grove area with her mother and father and was integrated in school by the 3rd grade. She started her education at Frances S. Tucker and was then integrated into West Lab. She then attended high school at Coral Gables. After she graduated from Gables she went on to North Dade Community College where she took mortuary science classes. Ms. Gibson is someone who likes to have fun. Her experience with integration was very positive due to it beginning so early in her life. Full of personality, she was constantly motivated by her teachers at her integrated school. Ms. Gibson would like to

see the black community become more of a village and connect as it was when she was growing up. She feels that with a strong sense of community and continued effort with integration the children of the neighborhood can become anything they desire. n

JESSE HILL By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Jesse Hill was born in Fort Valley, Georgia on October 24, 1928. He then moved with his family to the Coconut Grove area shortly thereafter. Mr. Hill grew up in a property purchased by his family in the Grove on Hibiscus Street in the 1930s. He attended Carver from 1st grade until he graduated high school. While at Carver he ran track and enjoyed music. After graduating from Carver, Mr. Hill went on to study at Fort Valley State in Georgia. After leaving Fort Valley, he began to look for employment. An application for playground supervisor turned into a long career in law enforcement. Mr. Hill was a police officer for 28 years, with 10 to 12 of those years in the Grove. As an officer, he faced racism—from not being able to attend the police academy to his authority being challenged by white offenders. Through it all, Mr. Hill persevered and was able to have a long career in law enforcement that included the opportunity to teach criminal justice. Today Mr. Hill is retired and still lives in the Grove. He has two sons and two daughters whom he raised in the Grove. He feels desegregation had positive effects but is far from being fully executed. n




By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

By Adrian Grant-Alfieri Ransom Everglades School

Mr. John Stephen Holmes was born on March 28th, 1952 in Miami and was raised in Coral Gables. His father was a medical doctor from Mississippi and his mother was a homemaker from Georgia. Mr. Holmes resided in Coral Gables until the late 1940s when he relocated to Tampa. He comes from a long line of educators, including his uncle, a superintendent of Dade County schools; his grandmother, an Honors English teacher for over 40 years; and his great grandmother, who started the first public school library system in Florida. Mr. Holmes continued in the family tradition and taught at the Corporation for the Development of Communities in Tampa where he taught business plan writing to aspiring entrepreneurs. When Mr. Holmes attended Coral Gables High School, it was fully integrated and he remembers being placed next to a black student, due to assigned seating by last name, who ended up becoming one of his good friends to this day. He felt that integration was initially uncomfortable, but changed with time and allowed continued exposure to those of other cultures. Overall Mr. Holmes feels integration was the way to go but it should not have been forced. He believes desegregation was a process that needed to happen and there were many hurdles to overcome because of it. He believes the best thing to result from integration was that “we’ve all learned to live together.” n

Dr. Rick Holton, born on May 17, 1952, has been a Coconut Grove resident since he was a child. He attended many of the local schools as a kid, starting out at Carver Elementary in first grade, switching to Tucker Elementary from first to fourth grade, and then again back to Carver. His parents were a strong moral presence throughout his childhood; his mother was an educator and his father a custodian. Dr. Holton’s high school experience came right at the beginning of the desegregation and integration movements. In 1967 he, along with many of his classmates, were transferred from Carver High School down the road to Coral Gables High, a historically all white school. This transfer was a huge letdown from his point of view, as he had always felt that Coconut Grove was a true family, and some of the most integral parts of that family were those who worked in the school system. To his family and many others in the Grove community, Carver was a school to be proud of. When Dr. Holton finally arrived at Gables High, he viewed it both as an end of his childhood in the Grove, as well as a new beginning in an entirely different setting. Although there were some incidents with Gables students, overall the experience was fairly peaceful and exciting. He believes that desegregation was successfully accomplished; however, integration was never fully attained. Although both sets of students, from Coconut Grove and Coral Gables, were forced ‘elbow to elbow,’ they


were never ‘heart to heart,’ which only truly existed at Carver High. n

DR. JOANNE HYPPOLITE By Carter Shoer Ransom Everglades School

Joanne Hyppolite has lived in Miami since 2004, and she currently works as the chief curator of History Miami. History Miami is a regional history museum that has a strong focus on South Florida's past. The museum has multiple areas addressing segregation and integration including a permanent one in the main South Florida history exhibit and a special exhibition called “Team Miami.” Recently, the museum hosted a seminar discussing five black high schools in Miami. This history of the black high schools starts in the 1880s where many black students had to leave Miami to go to Jacksonville just to get an education. The seminar then discussed Booker T. Washington High School, the first black high school which opened in 1926. Kids from all around the city would have to take a long trip to school. Other black schools like Carver and Miami Northwestern emerged as alternative options for black students. The high schools were the heart of each black community. In the early 1960s when schools started to integrate, the black population knew it was an important thing to do and the first step towards fairness, but integration hit the black communities fairly hard. Black students had to be bused into formerly all white schools. This shift of people changed the communities, and each school was no longer as strong of a neighborhood center as it once was. The best black

teachers were even switched with white teachers who were less experienced and less talented. Many sit-ins and protests occurred in the newly integrated schools. The whole dynamic of Miami changed once schools integrated. Joanne Hyppolite and all of the History Miami staff did an incredible job of finding so much information about the integration of Miami schools. Joanne is a scholar and leader of the community, and has done much for Miami’s local history. n

ALFRED JOHNSON By Wesley T. Villano Ransom Everglades School

Alfred Johnson was born August 9, 1953. In 1964 as a 7th grader attending Carver elementary, desegregation uprooted him from his desk at Carver and into a new world: the foreboding and distant Coral Gables High. Lost and scared, Alfred had no idea what to expect. Many of the teachers didn’t care about him or the other black students; they treated the black students as if they were small or less important. The most pressing problem, according to Alfred, was that the teachers and administrators didn’t understand their culture, and were shocked by black students. Alfred, being frequently suspended for arguing with teachers in his earlier years, recalls telling the principal “to stop trying to place us all in one particular bag and generalize us on everything.” Although fighting the idea of going to Coral Gables as a student, he now realizes the opportunities integration afforded him were unique. During high school he was able to travel around the


Photo by Michael L. Carlebach*

“We feared it, and then we thought, it may be something good.� ~Dr. Richard Holton West Grove resident

state with his choir (although he often had to eat separately from them during trips). After high school he was able to attend Kansas State and it was because of his high school government teacher that he was motivated to get his Master's at Barry University. Although desegregation granted the black communities more opportunities, it helped to destroy the black community, the same black community that fought so hard to achieve. Mr. Johnson does not believe the problem was because the Grove’s businesses closed down; the businesses were already owned by whites. They closed because the blacks had the freedom to shop where they wished, not just in the Grove. Mr. Johnson cites the death of the black community due to the loss of family ties; very few families now have ties, “Coconut Grove is a ghost town” not because of lack of people and buildings but because of the lack of history and passion filling the space between the people and the buildings. “(Desegregation) destroyed family values, I guess, because we had to fit in, start fitting in.” n

DR. SHIRLEY JOHNSON By Jewell Reddick University of Miami School of Law

Dr. Shirley Bailey Johnson was born on November 27, 1946 and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She became involved in the fight for civil rights at a young age because of her father’s involvement in civil rights. By the time she started her career as a teacher, she had already been arrested for drinking from “white only” water fountains and for sitting on benches that were “white only.” Her


father filed several lawsuits to integrate both the Jackson Mississippi Public Schools and the transportation system. Dr. Johnson’s experiences with integration continued when she relocated to Miami where she became a teacher at Miami Gardens Elementary. At Miami Gardens Elementary, Dr. Johnson remembers having to learn Spanish to communicate with the Hispanic students who did not speak English. She believes that her experiences early in life prepared her for her teaching career and helped to shape her life. Dr. Johnson’s message to the younger generation is that “education still is the number one tool to success.” She wants the new generation to stand up and fight as hard as she and her generation fought for good schools. Dr. Johnson believes that every child deserves a highly qualified teacher and highly qualified administrators. She charges the new generation to fight hard for the next generation. n

PROFESSOR THOMAS KORGE By Christine Tudor University of Miami School of Law

Thomas Korge is a practicing tax attorney in Coral Gables, Florida and an adjunct tax law professor at the University of Miami School of law. He was born in Miami, Florida in 1949. Korge graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Finance in 1971, a J.D. in 1974 and an LL.M. in taxation in 1976. Thomas Korge was raised in Coral Gables and began grade school in the 1950s, just before the Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of schools in 1954. However, it was not until the 1960s that Miami began

issuing court orders mandating the actual desegregation of schools. Korge recalls that this was done through implementing the busing of students to public schools. Korge recalls his cousin’s parents discussing integration and school busing, which was considered very disruptive to many at that time. Thomas Korge attended Saint Peter and Paul Catholic School, which was a private school and not subject to the new desegregation laws. He notes that from about his sixth through eighth grade years, there were very few black students attending Saint Peter and Paul Catholic School, and these few students were of Cuban descent. Korge also remembers an incident that occurred when he was a little boy at Virginia Key Beach, which was still segregated at the time. There was a side designated for whites and a side designated for blacks depending on what side of the bridge you were on at the beach. On a day Korge and his family were visiting, a group of black men swam under the bridge to the white side. A group of older white men swam to where the black men were and confronted them. The situation soon escalated and became violent, and Korge’s mother had to yell for Korge to get out of the water where the men were fighting. This brawl ended up making the local news. Around this time, Korge’s mother also had to explain to her son the difference between white and black water fountains, which Korge did not understand as a young child. During the period in which Korge was growing up in Miami, many whites also began leaving Miami because of what they felt was too large of an influx of Cubans and other minority groups.

Korge believes that there was a price that had to be paid to cure the problem of segregation, but desegregation was not meant to destroy communities. Rather, it was meant to build new communities. He notes, however, that many communities within Miami remain essentially segregated even today, but a society with different classes along color lines is ultimately detrimental for society. Korge finally adds, nevertheless, that society is in a much better place than it was before integration. n

HOUSTON MARSHALL III By Adrian Grant-Alfieri Ransom Everglades School

Houston Marshall III, a current Coconut Grove resident, was born on January 1, 1949. As a child, he attended George Washington Carver Elementary, Middle, and High School until he was 17 years old. His family lived close to Carver in the Coconut Grove community throughout his childhood; his mother working as a domestic worker and his father as a porter. In 1965, Marshall made the switch from Carver High School to Coral Gables High School, a previously all white school. As part of the Class of 1966, he would have been in the last senior class of Carver High, yet he was one of the few to change schools for his senior year. Although changing schools presented a significant challenge to finishing high school, Marshall accepted the challenge and ended up enjoying it. His prime reason for the change was that he believed he would gain a better background for college and for his future. His mother and father organized the switch and fully supported his decision,


especially due to the fact that they had always worked well with white folks in the neighborhood where they worked. Marshall’s experience at Gables High was altogether a pleasant one, without any major incidents, albeit one disturbance in his government class, which quickly resolved itself. Marshall believes to this day that his decision to change high schools exposed him to more integration earlier than his peers, and allowed him to gain a better background leading into his adult life. n

CHARLES MCCOY By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Charles McCoy was born in Jacksonville, FL on February 27, 1948. He graduated from high school in 1965 and was drafted to the army the next year. McCoy went on to serve two years in the army returning to the States in 1968 at age 21. Upon returning to the States, he began to work as a teacher in the Miami Dade Schools, a career that lasted 35 years. When McCoy was in high school desegregation had not yet been implemented. He was told that before he graduated high school desegregation would be implemented. McCoy remembers not seeing the effects of desegregation until his return from the military. While in the military he was exposed to cultural diversity even finding friends from other cultures. McCoy feels there was some good in the separate but equal doctrine because there was such a close relationship within the black community especially between the parents and teachers. He also stated that he felt


desegregation opened up opportunities that were not available before. Overall McCoy feels desegregation was twofold and included those who were satisfied with the status quo and those who were eager to move forward and work with people of different races. McCoy's experiences in the military and as a teacher had a positive effect and left positive memories of interacting with people of different cultures. n

LAVERNE PINKNEY By Sofia Butnaru Ransom Everglades School

Laverne Pinkney, the daughter of migrant farmers, was born by chance in 1951 in Pocono, Maryland. Shortly after her birth, her family moved back to their home in Pahokee, Florida. Pinkney describes Pahokee as “completely segregated” and lacking many amenities. But within this segregation was a very tight knit community in which everyone helped each other. Due to her parents’ work as migrant farmers, Pinkney had the opportunity to visit different areas of the United States and witnessed segregation first hand. In the Carolinas, Pinkney would be subject to a great deal of prejudice and racism. She would be called names such as “land crawlers” due to their labor intensive work that would force them to be on their knees to harvest vegetables. Further, since schooling was mandatory for all the children of the migrant farmers, she would be put on trucks and would be sent to a large gymnasium that was transformed into her school.

When integration occurred Pinkney was 13 years old. Integration in Pahokee was first done through a voluntary process in which people who wished to desegregate could. This occurred for one year and had very little participation. Pinkney attended Pahokee High School until her freshman year and then forced integration took place, which resulted in the closing of the black school. All students now attended the white high school that had better facilities but as a consequence many African American teachers lost their jobs. On the first day of school in her new integrated high school the National Guard came to school and searched all the black students due to rumors that they were bringing weapons to school. Of course, this was a complete fallacy but Pinkney would be subject to this attitude of distrust and hostility throughout her first year. Pinkney recalled that many white families moved their children to private schools in order to avoid desegregation. Pinkney would later attend MiamiDade Community College where she would get her Associate's degree in the arts. She immediately enrolled in Florida International University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then a Master’s in public administration. She entered the workforce as an administrator in the Department of Justice which inspired her to go to law school. She was one of four African Americans who entered St. Thomas University School of Law as a pupil of the charter class. Laverne Pinkney is a professor of law at Florida International University and the University of Miami. n


Justice Peggy A. Quince was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1948. She is married to Fred L. Buckine, (retired) attorney at law, and they have two daughters. Justice Quince graduated in 1970 from Howard University with a B.S. Degree in Zoology; she received her J.D. Degree from the Catholic University of America in 1975. While a law student she was active in Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and the Black American Law Students. She received an award for her work with Catholic’s Neighborhood Legal Services Clinic. In 1999, she received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the Stetson University College of Law. In 2004, she received an honorary doctor of laws degree from St. Thomas University School of Law and Nova. Justice Quince began her legal career in Washington, D.C. as a hearing officer with the Rental Accommodations Office administering that city’s new rent control law. In 1977, she entered private practice in Norfolk, Virginia, with special emphasis in real estate and domestic relations. In 1993, Justice Quince became the first African-American female to be appointed to one of the district courts of appeal with her appointment by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Second District Court of Appeal to a term effective January 4, 1994. She was retained in office by the electorate in November 1996. On December 8, 1998, Justice Quince was appointed by the late Governor Lawton Chiles and Governorelect Jeb Bush to the Florida Supreme Court. Presently, Justice Quince is on the executive


"Other people recall being called names and being left out of clubs—school clubs and activities, and that kind of isolation. I always called the students who actually integrated those schools, particularly in those early years, sort of the 'foot soldiers of integration.'" ~Dr. Joanne Hyppolite Chief Curator, HistoryMiami

Photo by Michael L. Carlebach*

counsel of the Appellate Section of The Florida Bar and is the Supreme Court liaison to the Small Claims Rules Committee and the Supreme Court Library Committee. She is also liaison for the following State Courts System Advisory Committees; Commission on District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability, the Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Task Force and the Local Rules Advisory Committee. n

DAVID ROWE By Christine Tudor University of Miami School of Law

David Rowe is a Jamaican-born litigation attorney practicing in Miami, Florida who is also licensed to practice law in Jamaica, West Indies. Rowe is a respected media commentator, as well, and has been serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law, teaching courses in Caribbean law since 1989. Rowe previously worked at the prestigious Holland and Knight and Greenberg Traurig law firms before beginning his own practice. Rowe first came to Miami in May of 1980 after receiving the John F. Kennedy Academic Scholarship to the University of Miami School of Law. In that year, Rowe was one of only two blacks in a class of 338 students. Rowe had previously studied law at the University of the West Indies. While studying, Rowe lived on the University of Miami campus. He learned of the riots and gained a sense of the deep racial tensions within Miami by watching television and by engaging in discussions


with the few black undergraduates and employees at the University of Miami. Rowe experienced racial discrimination while at the University, but he notes that many of the white students he encountered and came to know were very kind to him. His roommate, who was white, once lent him his suit so that he could be dressed for his first professional interview. Other students went out of their way to give him a ride because he did not have a car while studying. However, other students were openly hostile and racist towards him and resented him as a black law student. The only other black student in Rowe’s class year ended up leaving to study in Chicago, making Rowe the only graduating black law student in his class. Although Rowe was fortunate to experience kindness and acceptance from some white students, he would not describe his experience at the University of Miami as completely welcoming as there was still a great deal of racial tension at that time. Although Miami was desegregated during this period, Rowe notes that there were certain areas where blacks were not welcome. If he were to walk into a wealthy area of Coral Gables, he would almost certainly attract police attention. It would only be after displaying his University of Miami identification that he would be left alone by the police. After graduating from the University of Miami, Rowe was the first black member of the Bath Club and Riviera Club. This made the front page of the Miami Herald at the time. Rowe points out that for such clubs to still be segregated in the year 1984

is telling as to the racial exclusivity that Miami continued to harbor decades after desegregation was implemented. Rowe lastly notes that blacks are still very much racially marginalized in Miami. However, he believes that black communities in Miami will begin to see a positive change if they organize as one and speak with a united voice against racism. n

LINDA SMITH By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Ms. Linda Rosalyn Smith was born on May 17, 1950. She has lived in Coconut Grove since 1953 in the house her parents built and currently resides there today. Ms. Smith has three children and worked for the Dade County Schools for 35 years. She is a graduate of Nova University and Miami Dade College, and has a degree in elementary education. She began her career as a teacher's assistant then transitioned to teach special needs children. Ms. Smith was, and still is, an advocate for the rights of special needs children and was one of the first to advocate on their behalf for a right to education. As a girl growing up in the Grove, Ms. Smith did not feel the effects of segregation. She often played with neighboring white children that would visit her side of the Grove to play with her and her friends. Those perceptions all changed once she was forced to attend Coral Gables High School due to desegregation. Ms. Smith was one of the first students sent to Gables High from Carver after integration was enforced. She details the

selection process of how the initial students were chosen to attend Gables High, stating they were chosen by academic excellence or economic status. While there, she recalls having to deal with issues including being scrutinized for cultural differences and not feeling welcomed or encouraged by the staff. Through it all, Ms. Smith feels desegregation and her time at Gables High were worth it, so that everyone could realize they were all the same. n

RANDY SPRATLING By Wesley T. Villano Ransom Everglades School

Ms. Spratling was born March 31, 1952. As a freshman at Carver Senior High School, she had dreams of being a cheerleader. However she would never be a cheerleader as integration forced her to transfer to Coral Gables Senior High School. Upon arriving at Coral Gables, Randy was so upset and hurt, she never participated in anything at Coral Gables, as she didn’t want to be there in the first place. During her time at Gables she had some students and teachers who were nasty and mean, going out of their way to embarrass her and her black friends. But at the same time others went out of their way to make her feel welcome and Coral Gables afforded a better education and helped her with getting into Florida A&M University. She experienced one specific incident: she would sometimes help her mom with work at the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and she developed a friendly relationship with a white girl her age at the club. Randy


noticed the girl at Coral Gables High School, but whenever she tried saying, “hi” to the girl, she was ignored. One day the girl told Randy, "don't act like you know me in front of my white friends." Ms. Spratling feels integration as a whole terrorized the black community. Not so much in terms of businesses but in the raising children, specifically the boys, as many of them refused to go to a white school or quit school all together, leaving them to become criminals and “fall through the way side.” Many of the boys lost their foundation, as previously they had the entire community to bring them up, but now they had nobody except the people living in their house. n

SHEILA UPSON By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Ms. Sheila Upson was born on August 18, 1949. She lived in Coconut Grove from 1949 to 1969. In 1969, she began to serve in the United States Air Force and returned home from service in 1987. Ms. Upson grew up in the Grove and was supposed to graduate from Carver in 1969, until she was forced to transfer to Coral Gables High School in the 10th grade. Ms. Upson faced difficulty while at Gables, mainly due to the awkwardness of being in a new place and being the only black student in class. She continued to face difficulty while being among the first students integrated, but felt it was worth it because it made people realize that they were humans like everyone else. Ms. Upson did connect and make


friends with white students at Gables and continues to believe that desegregation was better in the long run, but she would have preferred to continue her education at Carver. n

NORRIS WHITE By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Norris Henry White was born in Miami on September 6, 1952. Mr. White grew up in the Coconut Grove community and lived there until he went off to serve our country in the military. Upon his return from the military, he opened up his own business on Douglas Road, a handmade clothing store. During Mr. White’s high school years he was a part of the wave of students who were forced to integrate into Coral Gables High School. He was devastated with the news of having to attend a new school because he was looking forward to playing baseball his remaining years at Carver. During his time at Gables, he was unable to play baseball but was able to complete high school, unlike many of his counterparts who either dropped out or moved from the neighborhood. Mr. White felt desegregation was a double-edged sword, but was ultimately beneficial. He also recalls stories on how he was embraced by the white students during his time at Gables. Mr. White would like to see the black community, especially the males, come back to the strong family structure he and his peers grew up with in the Grove.



By Amanda Darlington University of Miami School of Law

By Ariel Mitchell University of Miami School of Law

Alfred Lee Williams was born in Attapulgus, Georgia in 1943 and went to school in Coconut Grove, Florida. Mr. Williams graduated from George Washington Carver High School when it was still segregated. He attended a national meat-cutting school in Toledo, Ohio. Later he used his sharp cutting skills to work for the University of Miami's moving and hauling department, in various local butcher shops in Overtown, and for Winn-Dixie supermarkets in the meat department. He remembers being uncertain as to whether integration would work in schools and in people’s daily lives. However, he describes himself as having been a product of integration, as he was the first African American to work in the meat department at Winn-Dixie. Of his many personal achievements as a community butcher, Mr. Williams is specifically proud of having hired and trained the first African American female butcher in the history of Winn-Dixie. Mr. Williams remembers his time at WinnDixie fondly, with instances of discrimination not affecting his determination to be successful and proud of his position with the company. While he did not align himself with any organized protest groups, he and his family did make it a point to sit at the lunch counter in McCrory’s diner, and in seats closer to the front of the bus to show their support for integration. n

Ms. Linda Williams was born on July 25, 1953. She was raised in the Coconut Grove area and is still a resident today. Ms. Williams lived in the Grove with her mother during her high school years when she was forced to integrate to Coral Gables High School. She was a part of the set of students who integrated into Gables in the early 1960s. As a freshman at Gables, Ms. Williams remembers a fun and exciting time filled with acceptance. While at Gables, she was the first black court captain majorette. Her experience with integration started long before high school at Gables. Ms. Williams had grown up with white god parents and often was a babysitter for white families, even going on a summer vacation with them to Nova Scotia. Ms. Williams is thankful for her experience with desegregation and credits her mother with introducing her to other cultures, especially whites, at an early age. She believes that in order to achieve integration you have to involve everybody, and that integration was a move forward towards that goal. n


Photo by Michael L. Carlebach*

"So when we talk about segregation, desegregation, integration… integration is heart to heart. Desegregation… is elbow to elbow. We’ve got to come closer.” ~Dr. Richard Holton ­ est Grove resident W

SOMEDAY WE’LL ALL BE FREE: The Desegregation of Miami Featuring The 2013 Oral History Film Screening of Someday We’ll All be Free: The Desegregation of Miami took place on the evening of May 18, 2013 at Elizabeth Virrick Park in Coconut Grove, Florida. The film captured the effects of desegregation on the Grove area and the experiences of those who endured the process that came with desegregation.

Leona Cooper Baker Altansas Brown Dean Colson Wesley Sylvester Dallas Daton Fullard Valencia Gibson Jesse Hill John Holmes Dr. Richard Holton Dr. Joanne Hyppolite Alfred Johnson Dr. Shirley Johnson Professor Thomas Korge Houston Marshall III Charles McCoy Professor Laverne Pinkney Justice Peggy Quince Professor David Rowe Linda Smith Randy Spratling Sheila Upson Norris White Alfred Williams Linda Williams

Select photo provided by Bob Simms Collection, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.


Program WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS Professor Anthony V. Alfieri Director, Center for Ethics & Public Service Donald A. Cramp, Jr. Dean of Students, Ransom Everglades School Amanda Darlington Alexa Philossaint Jewell Reddick Christine Tudor Historic Black Church Fellows Reverend Jeffrey Hamilton President, Coconut Grove Ministerial Alliance SCREENING OF SOMEDAY WE’LL ALL BE FREE: The Desegregation of Miami AWARDS PRESENTATION PANEL DISCUSSION CLOSING REMARKS


Photo by Michael L. Carlebach*

To view the film, SOMEDAY WE’LL ALL BE FREE: The Desegregation of Miami, visit

Special Thanks CITY OF MIAMI DISTRICT 7 Commissioner Xavier Suarez



Professor Kim Grinfeder, Cinema and Interactive Media



Students Brittany Camper Lynn Fang Scott McCartney Caridad Tabares



Vicky Covington Travis Swain

HEAVY AIR MEDIA GROUP Javier Carrion, Film Editor Gerald Tiangco

NEW WAVE DEPO Jan Correggio

RANSOM EVERGLADES SCHOOL Dr. Donald A. Cramp, Jr., Dean of Students Sandra Nino, Administrative Assistant to Upper School Deans Angela Sellati, Director of Library Services

Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections BĂŠatrice Colastin Skokan, Librarian, Special Collections Bob Simms Collection, Special Collections Michael L. Carlebach Photograph Collection

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW Professor Anthony V. Alfieri, Director, CEPS and Founder, Historic Black Church Program Cindy McKenzie, Program Manager, CEPS Ebonie Carter, Administrative Assistant, CEPS Professor Charlton Copeland Professor Laverne Pinkney, Visiting Senior Fellow

Students Sofia Butuaru, Junior Max Dimitrijevic, Senior Adrian Grant-Alfieri, Junior Carter Shoer, Sophomore Wesley T. Villano, Sophomore



Contact Us University of Miami School of Law 1311 Miller Drive Suite G287 Coral Gables, Florida 33146-8087 Ph: 305.284.3934 Fax: 305.284.1588


Center for Ethics and Public Service

“Someday We’ll All Be Free: The Desegregation of Miami”  

Read bios and background on this film covering desegregation in Miami.