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Sundial

Forgotten Black cemeteries, Miami Marlins, Miami-Dade Schools’ search for a new superintendent

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Carl Juste
/
Miami Herald
Lincoln Memorial Park caretaker Arthur Kennedy spends his days cutting down invasive plants with a machete and refurbishing the graves.

Efforts to recover and preserve Black cemeteries. An update on the Miami Marlins. And Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ race to find a new leader.

On this Wednesday, January 19, edition of Sundial:

Forgotten Black cemeteries

Finding out where your loved ones are buried in Florida is a lot easier if you are white.

The state's historic and Black cemeteries that were so often segregated from the white cemeteries have not been as well preserved. In some cases, they've even been developed over.

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“As Miami filled up, the Black section of the cemetery became very valuable land. So what they did was they dug up a lot of the bodies,” said Dr. Marvin Dunn, who is a Miami historian and a former Florida International University professor. He wrote the book titled “Black Miami in the Twentieth Century.”

“Whenever there was a need for space for burial, for business or development, if there were Black bodies buried in a particular place, even inside a cemetery, they were moved for the purpose of expanding.”

There's been a renewed movement, recently, to find these erased or forgotten Black cemeteries, and to preserve them and the legacies of the people who are buried there.

A proposed bill moving through the legislature would make more of a dedicated effort to protect and find these abandoned cemeteries.

“I think it's a step in the right direction, but a step in the right direction doesn't quite get you there," said Malcolm Lauredo, who is the lead historian at the Coral Gables Museum and has been researching cemeteries in South Florida. "And I think unless we address what we do with cemeteries and bodies that are on private property and they're not being maintained, I think there needs to be some sort of mechanism so that the government can chip in and take hold and do these burial spaces some justice.”

Forgotten Black cemeteries
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Miami Marlins 

Two years ago, just as the world was shutting down because of the pandemic, the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as the general manager and made history.

She is the first woman to serve as a general manager for a professional sports team in the four major leagues in the U.S. (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA).

“She wasn't really able to do too much that first offseason,” said Miami Herald sports reporter Jordan McPherson.

“And then you fast forward to this offseason and you have the lockout that ensued a month into the offseason, month into free agency.”

Right now, the players and the MLB are in the midst of a negotiation session, which can slow things down.

“It's a lot of economic-based issues. Players want a quicker path to free agency is one of their big things. The way MLB is structured right now is players have to be in the big leagues or under team control for six years before they go into free agency,” said McPherson.

“The current structure benefits the owners, benefit the clubs in terms of how long they can control players, how much money they're paying out before they have to really start opening their wallets.”

He added that for that reason the season could be delayed by a week or two.

Miami Marlins
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Miami-Dade Schools’ search for a new superintendent

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is synonymous with Miami-Dade Public Schools. That’s about to change — after 14 years on the job, he is leaving for Los Angeles.

His last day is in just about two weeks. And school board members are hoping to name a new permanent superintendent by then.

They met Tuesday to move the search forward. During that five-hour meeting, they narrowed it down to three candidates Rafaela Espinal, Jose Dotres and Jacob Oliva. Read more about those candidates here.

“They received a lot of criticism from the community and from a couple of board members that they weren't going to hire an interim superintendent so they could take the time needed to search for a candidate vet the candidate,” said Sommer Brugal, an education reporter for the Miami Herald.

Superintendent Carvalho’s last day is Feb. 3, so the school board has just about two weeks to hire a new permanent leader.

Miami-Dade Schools’ search for a new superintendent
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Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.