Stories of Resistance from Black Miami: From Civil Rights to BLM is an oral history project co-created by HistoryMiami Museum and individuals involved in past and contemporary racial justice movements. The project explores Black Miami’s long and ongoing struggle, resistance, and resilience in response to racial injustice within Miami’s diverse Black communities, including African Americans, Haitians, Bahamians, and Afro-Latinos. Stories of Resistance from Black Miami features storytellers who offer culturally diverse perspectives on the trajectory of racial justice efforts in Miami from the 1920s to the present.

This project is generously sponsored by Julie and Michael Weiser.

Thelma Gibson

“We were separate and definitely not equal in the days that I was coming along.”

Thelma Gibson, born and raised in Coconut Grove, recounts her upbringing in a segregated Miami and her impactful work in education, property acquisition, and public health.

Commissioner Betty Ferguson

“A 16-year incumbent was forced into a runoff by a Black female who had no experience, no money, no name recognition at all at that time.”

Commissioner Betty Ferguson, community activist and county commissioner for over a decade, recounts her entry into the political arena after a call to action from her community.

Yvonne and Stanley Caleb

“I believe him being at the union and the direction he was taking cost him a lot. It cost him his life.”

Yvonne and Stanley Caleb, widow and son of labor unionist Joseph Caleb, recount their family history, Joe’s groundbreaking work with Local 478, and the events that led to his assassination.

Leona Cooper Baker

“It was our purpose to realign our community with love.”

Leona Cooper Baker, a lifelong resident of Coconut Grove, recounts her experience as a Black teacher during segregation and reflects on her critical work preserving the historical and architectural heritage of her community.

Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields

“It’s going to be up to you and your generation to save the history.”

Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, public historian and historic preservationist, delves into her family’s rich history and shares her invaluable work documenting Miami’s Black community through the Black Archives.

Romania Dukes

“I’m doing this for all our loved ones. The ones that are here and the ones that passed away.”

Romania Dukes, founder of “Mothers Fighting for Justice,” shares how the devastating loss of her son De’Michael propelled her into activism and community organizing.

Barbara Jimeno

“I noticed that we had to sit in the back. I did not understand why.”

Barbara Jimeno, born in Cuba in 1954, settled in Allapattah in the early 60s and recounts the racial segregation and discrimination she faced as a Black Cuban immigrant in Miami.

Lonnie Lawrence

“It was the beginning of progress happening in the Miami-Dade Police Department.”

Lonnie Lawrence, a native of Overtown, reflects on his life and his illustrious 30-year career with the Miami-Dade Police, including his fight for equitable representation within the force.

Dr. Walter T. Richardson

“The Black church remains the most powerful force in America.”

Dr. Walter Richardson, minister and civic leader, recounts how his segregated upbringing marked by the Civil Rights movement led to him advocating for equity, social justice, and the preservation of history.