February is Black History

I AM Black EXCELLENCE #BlackHistoryIsAmericanHistory

Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed in Ireland, and the United Kingdom. 99 JAMZ is paying homage to Black Leaders in South Florida. Below is a list of leaders we are highlighting within our community.

A special thank you to our community partners, Planet Fitness – Home of The Judgement Free Zone®

Symeria Hudson

99Jamz Celebrates Black History Month with the first Black woman CEO of United Way Miami, Symeria Hudson. As a former healthcare executive, she is devoted to leading with compassion and innovation. @HarvardHBS



Peter London

South Florida dance pioneer Peter London founded the Peter London Global Dance Company, which recently celebrated their 10th anniversary as Miami’s leading multicultural contemporary dance company and is now the longest running Black owned dance company in South FL. The PLDC gives Black and Brown youth from underserved communities the opportunity to learn, grow and become professionals in the Arts.



Honorable Carrie P. Meek

The first African-American lawmaker to represent Florida in the United States House of Representatives. Carrie P. Meek also served on the influential Appropriations Committee during her decade-long career in the U.S. House of Representatives.



Barrington Irving

Barrington Irving, an aerospace student at Broward College, in 2007 he was the youngest person to pilot a plane around the world solo. He was also the first Black person and first Jamaican to accomplish this feat. Floyd Johnson was the first Black County Administrator in Florida.



Jerry Rushin

Radio Pioneer Jerry Rushin - In 1980, “Super Jerry J” was appointed General Manager of WEDR-99Jamz, becoming the first African American in South Florida to operate a radio station Jerry Rushin - “Super Jerry J” Former VP and General Manager of CMG Miami.



Rodney Jacobs

Rodney Jacobs is the Executive Director of the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel. Which conducts investigations into police officers involved in misconduct. Mr. Jacobs is also an Adjunct professor at FIU and Army Captain. Rodney received his Law degree from the University of Dayton, and two Master’s degrees, one in Public Health and another in Public Administration from the University of Miami (FL), he received his Bachelor’s degree from Hiram College.



G. Eric Knowles

Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, G. Eric Knowles has continued to separate the Chamber as a significant force in the business community and has advocated membership to exponential growth.



Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson proudly represents Florida’s 24th Congressional District. She is also a former educator, elementary school principal, community leader and school board member.



Dr. Marvin Dunn

A former naval officer, Dr. Marvin Dunn is a Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology at Florida International University and retired as chairperson of the department in 2006. He has published numerous articles in leading newspapers on race and ethnic relations including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Orlando Sentinel and the Miami Herald.



Ted Lucas

Slip-N-Slide Records founder and CEO Ted Lucas has built a Miami music empire. Lucas founded TechNolij, a Florida-based non-profit organization that works to prepare and introduce women and minorities to workforce and entrepreneurial opportunities in emerging and advanced technologies.



Lanetta Bronté-Hall

Lanetta Bronté-Hall, MD, MPH, MSPH is responsible for strategic planning, scientific, and administrative oversight of the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research (FSCDR). She is a leading national and international researcher and population health scientist in the field of sickle cell disease, rare blood disorders, community-based participatory research, and chronic disease management.



Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton

After the tragic loss of their son, Trayvon Martin in 2012, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton turned their pain into purpose by creating The Trayvon Martin Foundation which helps stop senseless gun violence and to encourage peaceful resolutions. Tracy created The Circle of Fathers which offers fathers and sons the opportunity to build the relationships between young men and fathers. Sybrina created The Circle of Mothers to bring together mothers who have lost children or family members due to senseless gun violence.



Dr. Steve Gallon III

Dr. Steve Gallon III is the Vice-Chair and elected District 1 School Board Member for the Miami-Dade County Schools in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Dr. Gallon is a lifelong educator who served as a teacher, assistant principal, elementary and high school principal, district administrator, and superintendent of schools.



Bishop Victor Tyrone Curry

Bishop Victor Tyrone Curry is an exemplary pastor, preacher, author, teacher and social activist who epitomizes focused leadership. As a civic and community leader, Bishop Curry has previously held substantive leadership roles, which include a multi-term presidency of the Miami-Dade branch of the NAACP, Chairman of Social Justice within the Florida General Baptist Convention and a member of the National Board of Directors for National Action Network.



Rep. Alcee L. Hastings

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, a charismatic civil rights lawyer who became Florida’s first Black federal judge the first African American from Florida since the post-Civil War era to be elected to the United States Congress. Representative Hastings was a member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.



M. Athalie Range

M. Athalie Range was a Bahamian American civil rights activist and politician who was the first African-American to serve on the Miami, Florida City Commission, and the first African-American since Reconstruction and the first woman to head a Florida state agency, the Department of Community Affairs. M. Athalie Range, also fought against segregated schools, which launched a historic political career that took her to City Hall, Tallahassee and Washington D.C.



Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh

Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh In 2006, she was appointed as the only woman to lead an Urban League affiliate in Florida and is credited with several achievements including the opening of a $9 million Community Empowerment Center, located in the historic Fort Lauderdale Sistrunk Community.



Thomas J. Reddick, Jr.

Thomas J. Reddick, Jr., was the first black attorney to open an office and practice law in Broward County, and was the first Black circuit court judge in Florida.



T. Willard Fair

T. Willard Fair is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc. A powerful voice in the effort to improve his community, he has worked for the Urban League since September 1963.



Les Brown

As one of the world’s most renowned motivational speakers, Les Brown is a dynamic personality and highly-sought-after resource in business and professional circles for Fortune 500 CEOs, small business owners, non-profit and community leaders from all sectors of society looking to expand opportunity. For three decades he has not only studied the science of achievement, he’s mastered it by interviewing hundreds of successful business leaders and collaborating with them in the boardroom translating theory into bottom-line results for his clients.



The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”.

This week was chosen because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and that of Frederick Douglass on February 14, both of which dates Black communities had celebrated together since the late 19th century

Black History Month was first proposed by Black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State a year later, from January 2 to February 28, 1970.

Six years later, Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers, both great and small, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month in 1976, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”

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