|Community Activist Gene Tinnie who organized the event.|
It was on May 9, 1945, at this site, which was then was then called Baker’s Haulover, as the present-day beach and park were being developed by Dade County for Whites Only, that a group of courageous African Americans engaged in a bold act of Civil Disobedience, fully a decade before such tactics became the emblem of the Civil Rights movement, by “wading in the water,” with the intent of being arrested and thus bringing public attention to their demand for a bathing beach for the Colored population by having their case addressed in the courts.I was speaking to a Black woman at this event (whose son is a lawyer) who disagreed with me and said Blacks shouldn't learn Spanish from an early age. She said "This is my country and THE HISPANICS SHOULD have to learn English." I said "It ain't going to happen (They have 60% of the population you have 20%) unemployment is at about 5% for other groups and about 20% for Blacks". I said: "See all those high rises around you, they are filled with South Americans. You have to learn Spanish to get a job to service their needs, i.e. sell them stuff, decorate their apartments, etc." Didn't register. It appears it was a big insult to this woman to admit that everyone must be bilingual and learn Spanish. It was pride. I said "Here is what you are doing" I walked into a garbage can a few times. So she was perfectly happy to stand on her principles even if it will just perpetuate the unemployment problem and hurt the future of children. If they don't learn a second language at a young age they never will, why doom children? I read the want ads today and there was a lot of: "Bilingual, Must speak Spanish."
Both the organization and the outcome of that demonstration seven decades ago (within the memory of some Miamians still living) reveal much about the Miami’s unique and special history, where the odious drama of Jim Crow segregation (sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896, the same year that the City of Miami was founded, with Black men comprising approximately half of the signers of the Charter) played out very differently from elsewhere in the South, yet with some chillingly typical similarities.
The very fact that such an action was deemed necessary at all in the first place reveals that racism, discrimination, and social disparities and injustice were still very much a reality in Miami at a time when World War II was ending and servicemen, who had fought for freedom and democracy elsewhere in the world, would be returning home to a country where they would rightly expect and demand fair treatment.
I just don't understand. Someone explain it to me.
|Enjoying Haulover Beach, most probably not knowing how he got there historically.|