Friends and Neighbors

Reunion will remember Liberty Square before it became ‘Pork ’n’ Beans’


When my mom moved to Miami from Williston, Fla., with two children under 7 in tow, the Liberty Square Housing Project was where we went to on Sundays after church. At that time, the project had the only playground for "colored" children in Miami. I can remember waiting in line for a chance at one of the swings, while my brother Adam, waited his turn at the sliding board. It was great fun for us

Later, when I was 13, my mom qualified for an apartment in the project at Northwest 65th Street and 13th Avenue. One of our neighbors, who was like another brother to me, became the Very Rev. Richards M. Barry, rector of the Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Overtown.

We had fond memories of living in project. We left doors unlocked and at night slept with only the screen door between us and the outdoors. We courted on the front porch of the apartment because there was no such thing as a drive-by shooting. Children played unafraid in the park and on their front porches and in their yards.

All that has changed now. The project I grew up in no longer exists. Oh, the buildings are there, but locals now call the project “Pork n’ Beans.” I'm not sure why. But it's not the same place, where residents were once proud to say "this is where I live." It's not a safe haven for children; several have been shot and even killed by drive-by shootings.

Still, Louvonia F. Robinson and some others remember how it used to be and have organized the Liberty Square Reunion to take place at 3 p.m. on Dec. 7, at The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 1835 NW 54th St.

Robinson and her committee have come up with a program that will include a banquet a guest speaker and several people will be honored. The admission is $35 per person.

If you are a former resident of Liberty Square Housing Project, you and your family and/or friends are invited, To make your reservations and for more information call Robinson at 305-835-8337.

Classical concert

Here's something for the entire family: The Alhambra Orchestra will present Ritual Fire Dance by DeFalla, the Dvorak Cello Concerto featuring Spanish cellist Maria Martinez, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade with concertmaster Lars Holm, at a free concert to be at 7:30 p.m. today at Ransom-Everglades School, 3575 Main Hwy. in Coconut Grove.

The orchestra is Miami's community orchestra and is conducted by Artistic Director Zoe Zeniodi.

Florida City celebrates 100 years

Florida City is getting ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary in December of 2014 and, in keeping with that, the city's Florida Pioneer Museum, which highlights the city's history, has reopened.

According to a press release, until Florida City was incorporated, it was known as Detroit. At the museum, visitors will be able to see early photos of Detroit and Florida City, postcards, and a newspaper published by the developers of the community - the Miami Land and Development Co.

The museum also has a collection of the earliest known photos, dating back to 1912 and will be put on display at a later date.

Entry to the museum is free. It is open and staffed by volunteers from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The Museum Association is looking for new volunteers to train for the coming season. To volunteer call Meda Jensen at 305-248-0976 or email

Lecture on ghosts

Local author and Homestead native Dr. John Gadway will be the guest lecturer at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Old City Hall Museum in downtown Homestead.

Gadway, who has developed an easy-to understand model intuitive model of near-death experiences (NDEs) will argue that everyone encounters ghosts and angels in a a real physical space.

The lecture is free and open to the public and the program will include a question and answer session to be followed by a book signing of Gadway's book Here Be Angels: Sojourn in a Different World, which will be available at the event.

Tribute to Cuban composer

A Musical Gift, a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Cuban Maestro Ernesto Lecuona, will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 23, in the Shepard and Ruth K. Broad Performing Arts Center at Barry University's main campus, 11300 NE Second Ave. in Miami Shores.

Presented by the university's Department of Fine Arts and Institute for Hispanic/Latino Theology and Ministry, the program will pay tribute to famed Cuban composer Lecuona with performances by the university's Brazilian Percussion Ensemble, Repertoire Dance Ensemble, and classical vocalists. The program will also include selections from Robert Ray's Gospel Mass

The concert is directed by Dr. Giselle Elgarresta Rios and will feature guest conductor Maestro Alfredo Munar. Admission is free and open to the public.

Call 305-899-3100 for more information.

Jewish Book Month

The Second Annual Miami Beach JCC Jewish Book Month will be celebrated through Dec. 12, at the new Miami Beach Jewish Community Center at 4221 Pine Tree Dr.

On Wednesday, the event will feature "An Evening with B.A. Shapiro", author of The Art Forger, which tells the story of one of the largest unsolved art heists in history.

On Nov. 24, the community is invited to meet storyteller Caren Niele, who will tell stories that demonstrate the beauty and meaning of Hanukkah. It's free and is sponsored by the center's Hanukkah Festival.

The last lecture of the four-part series "Religious Perspectives on the Holocaust” will be at 7 p.m. Thursday Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.

The program will feature Mehnaz Mona Afridi, director of the Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College in New York. She will discuss anti-semitism within the Muslim community, her work educating Muslims about the Shoah, and little-known narratives that show connections between Muslims and Jews during that dark period in history. It's free and open to the public.

Law professors to discuss race and urban culture

Donald Jones, professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law and author of Fear of a Hip-Hop Planet: America's New Dilemma, will lead a panel to discuss race, place and urban culture at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Newman Alumni Center, 6200 San Amaro Dr. in Coral Gables.

Charles Ogletree, professor of law at Harvard University will moderate a panel including Kenneth B. Nunn, professor of law at the University of Florida, and discussants University of Miami law professors David Abraham, Osamudia James and Kunal Parker.

For more information call 305-284-1689.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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