Community Voices

Successful businessman keeps university pledge, receives doctorate

Bea L. Hines
Bea L. Hines

When I was a child, my mom used to say after someone had helped me: “Don’t ever forget the bridge that brought you over.” I must admit, I didn’t quite understand the phrase back then. But as I got older, I understood.

I tell you this because I learned recently from Enid Pinkney about Henry L. Coaxum Jr., who in 2014 pledged $250,000 to his alma mata Talladega College. He paid more than half his pledge when the college notified him he would be receiving an honorary doctorate degree in Humane Letters.

On May 8, the honor was conveyed to Coaxum at the college’s 141st commencement ceremonies in Talladega, Alabama. There, he presented a check for $120,000 to the college, paying off his pledge.

“And we were there,” Pinkney said. “He gave me and my husband, Frank, an all-expense paid trip to be there for the occasion.”

A graduate of Miami Edison Senior High School, Coaxum was mentored by Pinkney, who was his school counselor. “He had not planned to go to Talladega, an historic black college. Pinkney said. Then, one day, he got an admission letter from Talladega. He was surprised. He said, ‘Why are they sending me a letter from Talladega? I didn’t apply there.’ Then I told him I had sent in his application.”

During his acceptance speech, Coaxum, who graduated from Talladega in 1973, thanked Pinkney, who in 2014 was awarded a doctorate degree from Talladega, also her alma mata.

Coaxum lives in New Orleans, where he is president of Coaxum Enterprises and is he owner/operator of three McDonald’s restaurants. He serves as chairman of the New Orleans Business Alliance, the city’s first-ever public-private partnership for economic development. He also serves as treasurer of New Orleans’ Hospital Service District A Commission, which oversaw the redevelopment of New Orleans East Hospital.

In 2008, Coaxum received a Regional Outstanding Alumnus Award at the college’s Triennial Reunion held in Atlanta. In 2015, the college’s National Alumni Association selected him as a 2015 Hall of Honor recipient.

Coaxum was honored in 2014 by the Historic Hampton House Community Trust at its annual Homegrown Success Achievers Luncheon as a “Homegrown Success Story.”

In addition, he is a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and is a distinguished member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.


State Rep. Sharon Pritchett, D-Miramar, will host an “Empowerment and Networking Session” for all women veterans 10 a.m. May 19 in the banquet hall at the Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Pl.

The free event will feature a continental breakfast and information on housing, healthcare, financial services, insurance and online resources.

For more information call Renay Kinloch at 954-432-1557.


You are invited to join Friends of Girl Power at the “Spring Fling” kick-off event May 21 to support Girl Power’s programs that help “improve our world one girl at a time.”

The event will be an opportunity to mingle, network and enjoy live entertainment, music, vendors, give-aways, raffles, and drinks. Entertainment will be provided by DJ Fly Guy, who will also serve as master of ceremonies. Food will be provided by Morgan’s Food Truck.

The event will be 4 to 9 p.m. at The Bar at 1306 N. Miami Ave. Tickets are $25 each and includes one drink ticket, or $250 each and includes eight tickets and a bottle or 16 drink tickets. To purchase tickets, go to


A free lecture, “Living with Nature in the African Diaspora,” will be presented at the Historic Hampton House from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21.

The program will feature Dr. Edda Fields-Black, associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (2008). Fields-Black is the daughter of Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, local historian and founder of The Black Archives. Fields-Black will speak about her research into the history of West African rice production. She will offer new ways to think about how the environment has shaped Diaspora experience.

The event is co-sponsored by the Historic Hampton House, the Florida International University Colloquium; FIU’s African and African Diaspora Studies Program, and FIU’s Eco-humanities for Cities in Crisis Project. The Historic Hampton House is at 4240 NW 27th Ave.

Starburst Concert in Miami Shores

The second annual Starburst Concert presented by Saint Martha Concerts, will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at St. Rose of Lima church, 415 NE 105th St in Miami Shores.

The program will feature master pianists Anita Castiglione and Paul Posnak, who will be joined by soprano Virginia Mims and violinist Sophia Zheng.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $20, Blue Circle. For tickets and more information, call 800-595-4849; 305-458-0111 or 786-382-4495.


The inaugural Downtown/Brickell Education forum will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on May 23 at Miami Dade College’s Chapman Conference Center, 300 NE Second Ave., Building 3, Room 3210.

The forum will bring together community leaders, residents, educators, businesses and other stakeholders to address the state of education in Miami-Dade County.

The keynote speaker will be Miami Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. His topic will be “Public Education in the Urban Core: Charting a Course of Excellence.”

Other speakers will be Miami-Dade County Public School Board members Raquel Regalado and Martin Karp, and Dr. Richard Soria, president of the MDC Wolfson Campus.

The event will include a panel discussion on “The Future of Education in Downtown/Brickell Area: Challenges and Opportunities.”

Attendance is free but RSVP is required at or to Samuel Josephat,


Jacobson Sinai Academy of Temple Sinai of North Dade at 18801 NE 22nd Ave., will have its first JSA Fun Run and Color Run on May 19.

The Fun Run for PK3-4th grades, will be held in the morning, with the Color Run for 5th-8th grades to follow in the afternoon before school ends. Each race will last about one hour.

At the event, students will be raising funds for campus enhancements because the campus was devastated during the recent tornadoes.

If you would like to contribute to the fundraiser, call Veronica Evelson at 305-932-9011, ext. 228.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.