Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Little Rock Nine member to speak in Miami about desegregation

"The Little Rock Nine" gather on the steps of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., with President Clinton, top right, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, center, and Little Rock Mayor Jim Daley, Thursday, Sept. 25, 1997. "The Little Rock Nine" from left, are Thelma Mothershed Wair, Minnijean Brown Trickey, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts (Thomas), Carlotta Walls LaNier, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford and Melba Patillo Beals.
"The Little Rock Nine" gather on the steps of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., with President Clinton, top right, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, center, and Little Rock Mayor Jim Daley, Thursday, Sept. 25, 1997. "The Little Rock Nine" from left, are Thelma Mothershed Wair, Minnijean Brown Trickey, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts (Thomas), Carlotta Walls LaNier, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford and Melba Patillo Beals. AP File

The name Terrence Roberts brings back many memories of a time long since passed, but still so relevant in the minds of many. Roberts was one of the infamous Little Rock Nine — the group of black students who in 1957 attempted to integrate the all-white Little Rock Central High School, one of the largest schools in the nation.

I remember the story well. I had graduated the year before from Miami’s Booker T. Washington High, then an all-black school. Integration wouldn’t come to our city’s schools for another decade. So, I followed the Little Rock Nine’s story with pride. I delighted in their courage and wondered if I would have been brave enough to do as they did.

Roberts, now a doctor of psychology, will be here from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 4, speaking at a Facing History and Ourselves presentation at HistoryMiami Museum, 101 W. Flagler St.

At the event, Roberts will share first-hand his experiences as a 15-year-old student at Little Rock’s Central High at the height of the city’s desegregation.

Roberts first attended segregated schools at Dunbar Junior High and later at Horace Mann High School. When he learned of the plans to desegregate Little Rock Central High, he volunteered to be one of the nine students, who, after Sept. 4, 1957, would forever be known as the Little Rock Nine.

On that fateful day, if Roberts and the others had any dream of peacefully enrolling in the all-white high school, their dream ended when they saw members of the Arkansas National Guard, under orders from the governor, and the angry mob of about 400 surrounding the school, preventing them from entering. On Sept. 24, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took control of thousands of members of the National Guard and sent soldiers to accompany the Little Rock Nine to school. While the soldiers stayed the entire year at the school, they couldn’t protect the students from the hate they endured while inside the school.

So determined was Little Rock to keep its schools segregated, the following year, the high school was closed for the 1958-59 school year. Roberts completed his senior year at Los Angeles High School in California. He continued his education and received a bachelor of arts in sociology in 1967 from California State University, and later a masters from UCLA. In 1970, Roberts received his Ph.D. in psychology from southern Illinois University.

His lecture is free and open to the public. However, pre-registration is required. To register, click here, email Jeremy_Simon@facing.org or call 617-735-1673.

Historic Hampton House to reopen May 8

It’s actually going to happen, ya’ll. The grand reopening of the Historic Hampton House will be at 10 a.m. May 8, thanks to the unwavering efforts of Enid Pinkney and many others, who remember Hampton House in its heyday. It was one of the gathering places for blacks — young and old — who danced to the music of live bands. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of violence, if I remember correctly, except for an occasional drunken brawl, usually outside the establishment. I can’t ever remember a shooting incident that happened there.

The theme for the grand reopening is “Honoring the Past — Saluting the Future.” There may be time for you to put an ad in the historical journal. The ads cost $150 for a full page; $100 for a half page; $50 for a quarter page; $35 for business card size; and $25 for a mention in the Friends of the Hampton House.

If you wish to be an underwriter, platinum goes for $3,000; gold, $2,000; and silver is $1,000. All sponsors will have special seating at the grand reopening. Please have your ads camera-ready and mail them with checks to Historic Hampton House Community Trust, 2525 NW 62nd St., Suite 4132 B., Miami, FL 33147.

Other activities in relation to the reopening include a Home Grown Success Achievers Luncheon at 11 a.m. May 30 at the Church of the Open Door, 6001 NW Eighth Ave. in Liberty City. Tickets for this event are $60 each. Call Pinkney at 305-638-5800 for luncheon tickets and for more information about the reopening.

Zonta Club of Miami Lakes ‘Claws for Celebration’

The Zonta Club of Miami Lakes will have its “Claws for Celebration” event at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at the Roberto Alonso Community Center, 16500 NW 87th Ave. in Miami Lakes.

The event will feature a stone crab dinner or beef tenderloin dinner for $125 per person each. Also, there will be cocktails, a silent auction and dancing.

To make your reservations, go to www.zontamiamilakes.org. All reservations are based on postmark or date of transaction online. There will be no refunds.

You may send your check payable to The Zonta Club of Miami Lakes Foundation, C/O Peggy Hicks, 13481 SW 36th Ct., Davie, FL 33330.

All proceeds from this event will benefit local women’s charities and Zonta International.

North Miami Chamber to honor ‘Women of Inspiration’

The Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce will celebrate “Women of Inspiration” at its fourth annual recognition luncheon from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in Florida International University’s Kovens Center, 3000 NW 151st St. in North Miami.

The luncheon will honor five women, who will be recognized for their “outstanding” contributions to the Miami-Dade Community. They are:

▪ Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. She is being honored for her dedication to provide awareness of the adverse results of lung disease.

▪ Raquel Regalado, Miami-Dade County School Board member, for her “hard work” as a civic and community leader.

▪ Soraya Trujillo, vice president of Holy Cross Lutheran School, for her dedication to education.the

▪ Michaele Chery, officer of the North Miami Police Department and assistant director of the PAL Board, for her efforts in community service.

▪ Ana Rijo-Conde, deputy chief, Facilities and Eco-sustainability Department, Miami-Dade County Schools.

Tickets to the luncheon are $45 each and may be purchased online at info@northmiamichamber.com

Kendall Orchestra to perform at church service

The Kendall Orchestra featuring soloist Masfumi Nakatani, a University of Miami doctoral candidate, will perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue at 9 a.m. during a special worship service April 26 at Kendall United Methodist Church, 7600 SW 104th St. in Pinecrest.

The service will begin with the orchestra music Ceremonial Opening, followed by Be Thou My Vision with the choir and orchestra, and will end with Nakatani’s piano solo with the orchestra.

Tom Proctor is the director of the Kendall Orchestra.

Organ concert Sunday at FIU concert hall

A concert featuring organist William D. Hardin will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center concert hall at Florida International University, Modesto Maidique Campus, 11200 SW Eighth St.

The concert is presented by FIU School of Music in collaboration with the American Guild of Organists, Miami Chapter. Admission is $5 at the door.

Business and Professional Women scholarship luncheon

The Business and Professional Women, South Florida Club, will present its 38th Founder’s Day Scholarship Luncheon at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 25. For tickets and more information, email daythurston@aol.com.

Footprints Foundation fundraising concert

To benefit the Footprints Foundation, the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami at Miami Dade College, Kendall Campus, will present “Amen” at 4 p.m. April 26 in the William and Joan Lehman Theater, Miami Dade College, North Campus, at 11380 NW 27th Ave.

Dr. Kenneth Boos is artistic director of the chorale and Dr. Rober Gower is associate conductor.

The Footprints Foundation is an organization dedicated to empowering and educating women. Its motto is “Saving women and children one little footprint at a time.”

Tickets to the concert are $10 for adults; $10 for seniors; $5 for students with ID; and free to children 6 and under, and are available at: www.civicchorale.info or at the box office.

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 bea.hines@gmail.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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