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black history month

Robert Runcie

Robert Runcie

"The battle for quality education is the social justice cause of our time. If you believe that every child has the right to a quality education, then there is no more important work than providing the right leadership to dramatically transform public education in this country. I have found my passion and purpose in life – to improve the human condition by giving every child an equal chance to excel and achieve happiness. It all starts at the top with one of the most challenging and important jobs in America – the urban school superintendent." Robert W. Runcie

 As superintendent of the nation’s sixth largest school district – with over 270,000 students in 337 schools and approximately 30,000 employees – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie is committed to Educating Today’s Students to Succeed in Tomorrow’s World. Superintendent Runcie knows first-hand how a high-quality education can transform a person’s life. Born in Jamaica, he moved to the United States as a young boy and became the first member of his family to attend college, graduating from Harvard University and earning an MBA from Northwestern University. He later founded a management and technology consulting company and held several strategic leadership positions with Chicago Public Schools, including serving as its Chief Information Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Area Instructional Officer and Chief of Staff to the Board of Education. Superintendent Runcie proudly joined Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) in 2011. With the support of a dynamic School Board, Mr. Runcie developed a strategic plan for the District focusing on three key areas: high-quality instruction, continuous improvement and more effective communications.  As part of these strategic goals, Mr. Runcie spearheaded technology innovations in the classroom. Among the initiatives, the Digital 5: Pathways to Personalized Learning project, which provides a blended, personalized learning environment for students and teachers from 100 elementary schools with laptops, digital resources, online instructional materials, and other learning tools to maximize student learning. In addition, under his leadership, BCPS became the only Florida school district selected for a unique partnership with the national non-profit organization, to increase students’ opportunities to learn computer science in schools.  To ensure all students have the ability to complete their education and to eliminate the “school house to jailhouse pipeline,” Superintendent Runcie led BCPS efforts to become a national model for ending zero tolerance policies for non-violent offences in schools. With the support of the School Board and through collaborative community efforts, BCPS has instituted new, effective practices for handling student behavior incidents, without resorting to law enforcement involvement. Student-related arrests are down by 65% since Runcie’s arrival. Superintendent Runcie’s leadership has netted the District numerous distinctions including 26 BCPS high schools recognized as “America’s Most Challenging” by The Washington Post, 16 BCPS high schools ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, 10 BCPS magnet programs earned the prestigious National Merit Awards from Magnet Schools of America, Advanced Placement (AP) pass rate is the highest in more than 10 years, the graduation rate is the highest in five years, and in the 2015/16 school year, BCPS technical college students earned the most industry certifications in the state. In addition, BCPS is the first fully-accredited K-12 and adult school district. In addition, Superintendent Runcie has increased the District’s investment in music and art programs, launched the redesign of underperforming schools, expanded vocational and technical centers, where students earn over 6,000 industry certifications annually, introduced K-8 school models and established the District’s first military academy. Utilizing his strong business background, Superintendent Runcie has implemented operational efficiencies that have allowed the District to reinvest millions of dollars back into classrooms. A few areas seeing significant transformation: reductions in healthcare costs, enhanced wellness programs for employees, facilities management realignment and improvements to transportation services. His commitment to collaborating with stakeholders and creating partnerships has earned Superintendent Runcie state and national recognition, including being selected as 2016 Florida Superintendent of the Year, 2015 ALAS Hispanic Serving Superintendent of the Year, 2014 Florida Virtual School Superintendent of the Year, 2014 Consortium of Florida Education Foundations Superintendent of the Year, Champion District Superintendent of the Year for Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, the Florida Department of Education's District Data Leader of the Year Finalist, and a 2014 Leader to Learn From by Education Week.  Runcie is actively involved in the community and serves on the board of several organizations, including, Council of the Great City Schools, United Way of Broward County, Urban League of Broward County, Children Services Council, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. He is also a frequent speaker for numerous community-based organizations. With students from over 200 countries, speaking more than 130 different languages, Superintendent Runcie values diversity. He supported the creation of South Florida Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents (ALAS) and works closely with the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NASBE) and the Council of the Great City Schools. Runcie credits the District’s success to the support of the School Board and a talented leadership team that shares his philosophy that “the true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own.”

Source: Wikipedia

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (i/ˈmaɪ.ə ˈændʒəloʊ/;[1][2] born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees.[3] Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was an actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she earned the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-SalemNorth Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" (1993) at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961.

With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture. Attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries, but her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. Angelou's most celebrated works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics consider them to be autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel.

Source: Wikipedia

Dwight Lauderdale

Dwight Lauderdale

Dwight Lauderdale (born in Columbus, Ohio)[1] is a former TV news anchor. He was the first African American news anchor in South Florida and became one of the state's most watched and longest running anchors.[3]

At age 17, after winning an oratorical contest, Lauderdale received a job offer from the news director at WTVN-TV (ABC) in Columbus.[2][5] He accepted the job and started work in November 1968, part-time at night, processing film.[5] (Some sources claim it was WSYX-TV).[5] He did not have to drop school to accept the job.[6] He did everything from processing film, to writing news copy, to producing, and for on-air talent. He completed his education at Ohio University, majoring in Communications and graduating cum laude in 1973.[2]

In 1974, Lauderdale moved to South Florida for a reporting opportunity at Channel 7 (WCKT-TV, at the time). Two years later, WPLG offered him a three-year contract as a reporter/weekend anchor, and he accepted the job. He quickly established himself as a prolific street reporter, working half a dozen stories per day, including the Mariel Boatlift. He also managed to score the first one-on-one interview of Bill Clinton's presidency. More than anything, he remembers the rigid ground rules: " Seven minutes only, and they were standing there with a stopwatch".[7] He was bumped up to the weeknight anchor desk in June 1985 on an interim basis, which was made permanent the following January.[6] His first anchor partner was Ann Bishop and later shared anchoring duties with Diane Magnum, Kristi Krueger and Laurie Jennings.

Dwight Lauderdale has been awarded the N.A.T.A.S Silver Circle Award, The Ohio State Award, and two Florida Emmy's, as well as a Sun-Sentinel reader's award in 1998 as the number one Anchor in the market. South Florida Magazine named him best news anchor in 1990.[5] Additionally, Dwight Lauderdale has a scholarship in his name (The Dwight Lauderdale Scholarship) at Barry University which is awarded to students in broadcast communications each seminar.[10]

Source: Wikipedia

Simone Biles

Simone Biles

Simone Arianne Biles (born March 14, 1997)[4] is an American artistic gymnast. Biles is the 2016 Olympic individual all-around, vault and floor gold medalist. She was part of the gold medal-winning team dubbed the "Final Five" at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She also won the bronze medal for the balance beam during the Olympics. Biles is a three-time world all-around champion (2013–15), three-time world floor champion (2013–15), two-time world balance beam champion (2014, 2015), four-time United States national all-around champion (2013–16), and a member of the gold medal-winning American teams at the 2014 and 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Having won a combined total of nineteen Olympic and World Championship medals, Biles is the most decorated American gymnast, taking over from Shannon Miller, who had held this record since 1996. With her win in Rio, Biles became the sixth woman to have won an individual all-around title at both the World Championships and the Olympic Games. With four Olympic gold medals, Biles set an American record for most gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single Games.

Source: wikipedia

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

The South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) helped bring an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights. A member of the African National Congress party beginning in the 1940s, he was a leader of both peaceful protests and armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa. His actions landed him in prison for nearly three decades and made him the face of the antiapartheid movement both within his country and internationally. Released in 1990, he participated in the eradication of apartheid and in 1994 became the first black president of South Africa, forming a multiethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. after retiring from politics in 1999, he remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world until his death in 2013 at the age of 95.


Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954) is an American media proprietortalk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.[1] She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011.[5] Dubbed the "Queen of All Media",[6] she has been ranked the richest African-American,[7] the greatest black philanthropist in American history,[8][9] and is currently North America's first and only multi-billionaire black person.[10] Several assessments rank her as the most influential woman in the world.[11][12] In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama[13] and honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard.[14][15]

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.[16] Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime-talk-show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place,[17] she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.

Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication,[18] she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized[18][19] the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue,[18] which a Yale study says broke 20th-century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream.[20][21] By the mid-1990s, she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Though criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas,[22] and an emotion-centered approach,[23] she is often praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others.[24] From 2006 to 2008, Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Barack Obama, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race.[25]

Source: Wikipedia

Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo Mourning

Alonzo Harding Mourning, Jr. (born February 8, 1970) is an American retired professional basketball player, who played most of his 15-year National Basketball Association (NBA) career for the Miami Heat.

Nicknamed "Zo", Mourning played at center. Following his college basketball career at Georgetown University, his tenacity on defense twice earned him NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and perennially placed him on the NBA All-Defensive Team. Mourning made a comeback after undergoing a kidney transplant and later won the 2006 NBA Championship with the Heat. Mourning also played for the Charlotte Hornets and New Jersey Nets. On March 30, 2009, Mourning became the first Miami Heat player to have his number retired.[1]Since June 26, 2009, Mourning has served as Vice President of Player Programs and Development for the Heat. On August 8, 2014, Mourning was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[2]


Gwen Cherry

Gwen Cherry

Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry was born in Miami, Florida in 1923. She was a woman of many firsts. She was the first Black woman law student to attend the University of Miami. She was the first Black woman to practice law in Dade County, Florida. She was one of the first nine attorneys who initially served at Legal Services of Greater Miami in 1966. In 1970, she was elected as a state representative, becoming the first Black woman to serve as a legislator for the State of Florida.While in the State House of Representative, she introduced the Equal Rights Amendment, the Martin Luther King, Jr. state holiday and other legislation. She was elected to four terms and served until 1979.

During her lifetime, her other accomplishments included, but were not limited to, chairing both the Minority Affairs Committee for Democratic National Convention and the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1972, serving as legal counsel for the Miami Chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and co-authoring Portraits of Color with Pauline Willis and Ruby Thomas.

Ms. Cherry was also an active member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and served on numerous boards and organizations. She worked with many to remove the barriers to equal opportunities for women and persons of color.

In February 1979, she died in a car accident in Tallahassee, Florida. Former state governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham delivered her eulogy and called her “a champion for the rights of all people and a voice of reason and concern.” As a result of her lifetime achievements, she was honored posthumously in the State of Florida’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986. On June 5, 2008, the FAMU College of Law, in Orlando, Florida, announced the dedication of the Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, Esquire Lecture Hall, which will be used for classrooms and practices for mock trial competitions.

Source: gscbwla

Dr. James Franklin Sistrunk

Dr. James Franklin Sistrunk

James Franklin Sistrunk was born in Midway, Florida (near Tallahassee) in 1891.

He graduated from Meharry Medical College, in Nashville, Tennessee in 1919. He later served in World War I before relocating to Dunnellon, Florida to practice medicine.

Dr. Sistrunk moved to Fort Lauderdale in April, 1922. Although he was a qualified surgeon, he was not allowed to perform surgical procedures in white hospitals.

In 1938 he joined Dr. Von D. Mizell to establish Fort Lauderdale’s first medical facility for blacks, Provident Hospital. He is credited with delivering over 5,000 babies during his 44 years of practice. Throughout Broward County, Dr. Sistrunk would make house calls and assist those who were financially strained.

Northwest Sixth Street in Fort Lauderdale bears his name, "Sistrunk Boulevard." In addition, a bridge over the north fork on Northwest Sixth Street is named the "J. F. Sistrunk Bridge."

Dr. Sistrunk died on March 20, 1966. He is still honored today, every February, with The Sistrunk Festival which runs along the boulevard that bears his name, in the heart of Broward's oldest black enclave, the Sistrunk district.

Source: Fortlauderdaleobserver

Gabby Douglas

Gabby Douglas 

Gabby Douglas made her second Olympic appearance on Sunday, August 8, in Rio de Janeiro, where she and her fellow U.S. gymnasts qualified for the team all-around final. The 2012 gold medalist unfortunately didn’t qualify for the individual all-around competition, but based on what the Douglas Family Gold star told Us Weekly about her back-up career, she’ll be on hand to make Team USA qualifiers Simone Biles and Aly Raisman laugh all the way to the top. 

Prior to Douglas’ showing in Rio, she shared fun facts about herself with Us Weekly in this 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me video.

“I’d definitely be a comedian,” the 20-year-old athlete tells Us (while giggling!) of what she’d be doing if she weren’t an Olympic gymnast.

The Gabbymoji creator, who chatted with Us in the living room of her family’s Tarzana, California, home also introduced her pets to the world.

“I have two dogs. One is a Morkie; he is a mix with a Maltese and a Yorkie,” says the two-time gold medalist while petting her pups. “And then I have a black Lab mixed with a Rottweiler, and then I have a tabby cat. Their names are Toby, Zoway and Chandler.”

Other reveals from the Raising the Bar author include her favorite part of gymnastics — “getting dressed up and just, like, competing out on the floor and just being in character” — as well as what she dislikes most.

Source:US Weekly

Luther Campbell

Luther Campbell

Luther Roderick Campbell (born December 22, 1959), also known as Luke Skyywalker and simply Luke, is an American record label owner, rap performer, promoter, and actor. He is best known as a one-time member and leader of rap group 2 Live Crew, and star of his own short-lived show on VH1Luke's Parental Advisory. As a result of one of the group's songs, which used a parody of Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman", Campbell was party to Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., which was argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Miami New Times described Campbell as "the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech".[1]


Barabara Sharief

Barbara Sharief

Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief was born in South Florida, raised in Broward County and is a long time resident of District 8. In her personal life, Barbara is a mother of five children and an active volunteer in Broward's schools.

Commissioner Sharief comes from a family of 10 with seven siblings. Her father was a self-employed clothes salesman and her mother assisted her father in the financial workings of his clothing company. Both parents have given her strong values, morals and ethical beliefs.

Professionally, Barbara is an accomplished self-made business woman. Her career began after she graduated from North Miami Senior High School and immediately enrolled at Miami Dade Community College. She later graduated from Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and obtained an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Miami Dade Community College. She continued her educational pursuit and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Masters of Science in Nursing and an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Degree from Florida International University. Commissioner Sharief is one of the youngest people to have passed the RN board exam in the State of Florida.

She has more than 22 years of experience in the specialized field of issues pertaining to medically complex children. Through this invaluable experience, Barbara was successful at creating and managing a variety of companies and has a strong success record for making non-profitable businesses profitable. In 2001, she visualized and created what is now known as South Florida Pediatric Homecare, Inc. “SFPH”. Barbara has a passion to enhance the quality of care for the elderly and children of Broward County.

As a business owner and active parent, her commitment to her community led to public service. Prior to her election to the County Commission, Barbara proudly served as Vice-Mayor and City Commissioner for the City of Miramar.

As a County Commissioner, Barbara promotes job creation, economic development, tourism, neighborhood revitalization, education and quality care for the elderly and children. She has spent her first term advocating for the much needed funding of programs to reduce homelessness.

Barbara was given the honor of serving as Mayor in 2014. Her theme "Broward Means Business" promoted several County, State, and Federal programs that help mentor and finance Broward County businesses.

Recently elected to serve her second term in office, Barbara remains committed to improve the quality of life for residents. She continues to advocate for reduction of the homeless population, help people facing foreclosure, and assist entrepreneurs.


Barack Obama

10 Fun Facts About Barack Obama


1. Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu. His first name, Barack, means "blessed" in Swahili and was also his Kenyan father's name.


 2. He says he hasn't liked ice cream since working at Baskin-Robbins as a teenager.


 3. His childhood nickname was Barry.


 4. Obama was the third African-American senator since Reconstruction.


 5. He married Michelle Robinson, also a Harvard Law School graduate, who supervised him while he was working as a summer associate in a Chicago law firm. They have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.



 6. As an Illinois state senator, he sponsored a bill to require the police to videotape interrogations in capital crime cases. Illinois was the first state to do this.


 7. A school in his father's hometown near Lake Victoria in Kenya has been renamed the Senator Barack Obama Secondary School.


 8. He loves playing Scrabble.


 9. Obama and his wife bought a house on Chicago's South Side in June 2005 for $1.65 million. It has four fireplaces.


 10. His heroes are Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Pablo Picasso, and John Coltrane.






  • Current Biography
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  • Associated Press
  • Politics in America 2006


    Shirley Gibson

    Shirley Gibson

    Shirley Gibson is the First Mayor of the City of Miami Gardens; the third largest city in Miami-Dade County, Florida. In 1996, Shirley Gibson had a vision of political self-determination and civic empowerment for her community. Mayor Gibson has a diverse background in the public and private sector. She was first elected to public office in 1996; where she served on the Miami Dade County Community Council Three and was elected for two consecutive terms. Ms. Gibson is a retired sixteen year veteran of the Miami Dade Police Department. In addition to fifteen years as an entrepreneur, Mayor Gibson is skilled in community organizing. Mayor Gibson is an extraordinary individual and leader. Her leadership, determination and selflessness, as evidenced by the recognition she has received, provide a template for all men and women aspiring to better their community.



    Rosa Parks

    Rosa Parks: The Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights MovementRosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 - October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement."On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her action was not the first of its kind: Irene Morgan, in 1946, and Sarah Louise Keys, in 1955, had won rulings before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Interstate Commerce Commission respectively in the area of interstate bus travel. Nine months before Parks refused to give up her seat, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to move from her seat on the same bus system. But unlike these previous individual actions of civil disobedience, Parks' action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.Parks' act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement.At the time of her action, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for workers' rights and racial equality. Nonetheless, she took her action as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years for her action, she suffered for it, losing her job as a seamstress in a local department store. Eventually, she moved to Detroit, Michigan, where she found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to African-American U.S. Representative John Conyers. After retirement from this position, she wrote an autobiography and lived a largely private life in Detroit. In her final years she suffered from dementia and became embroiled in a lawsuit filed on her behalf against American hip-hop duo OutKast.Parks eventually received many honors ranging from the 1979 Spingarn Medal to the Congressional Gold Medal, a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Her death in 2005 was a major story in the United States' leading newspapers. She was granted the posthumous honor of lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda.Source: wikipedia