Courtesy St. Thomas University. Image appears in "The Catholic University of Havana" by Fr. John J. Kelly

In 1961, a year before St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens opened as Biscayne College, the school's founding president, Fr. Edward McCarthy, was in prison. 

"With people with machine guns, submachine guns, following our every move," he said in a 1989 interview with St. Thomas University professor Richard Raleigh, of the auditorium-turned-prison in Havana, Cuba where he was being held.

Eleonora Edreva / WLRN

At a heated commission meeting in April, Deerfield Beach city commissioners narrowly approved a townhouse development on the site of a former cemetery.

This three-acre plot of land was not just any cemetery. During segregation, it was the only place in Deerfield Beach where the black community was allowed to bury its dead. 


Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Since the shootings that killed nine people in Charleston, S.C., symbols of the Confederacy have been disappearing throughout the American South.

But the nation's southernmost city is restoring its memorials — to both sides of the Civil War.

That includes a white pavilion in Key West, which has stood in Bayview Park since the United Daughters of the Confederacy put it up in 1924. Many longtime residents, like Tom Theisen, never even noticed who had built it.

"I probably had seen it before, but it never crossed my mind until all the flag stuff," Theisen says.

Mark Stein / WLRN

This week, the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies hosts its 25th annual conference here in Miami. The society aims to study the history of Jewish communities persecuted during the Spanish Inquisition of the 14th and 15th centuries.

Miami Herald

Eldridge Williams grew up picking cotton in Texas. In 1942, he was commissioned as second lieutenant on Miami Beach, and then assigned to the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.

He wanted to be a pilot, but an army doctor grounded him, citing poor eyesight. Williams remembered it as a symbol of discrimination.
“He kept that exact same paperwork in his pocket. He carried it around in his jacket pocket for years and years,” remembered Richard Hall, a former Air Force pilot.

Miami Theater Brings A Lifetime Of Inspiration

Mar 29, 2015


This story, as told by Veronica Diaz, is part of an oral history series.

Let’s set the scene: It’s early 2004, and my mother is taking my younger sister and me to go watch Cats: The Musical at what was then known as Jackie Gleason Theater on Miami Beach.

Luis Hernandez / WLRN

It may be fair to say many of us today will take out our phones or simply log into our GPS units in our cars and allow a soothing, distant voice to guide us to our destination. 

There was a time though when finding our way meant pulling over and unfolding a 4-by-5-foot map littered with white lines for roadways. Highways and freeways were either red or blue, and small drawings marked different points of interest. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In the 1840s, Alexander Patterson was a notary public who recorded the depositions of shipwreck salvagers. He noted their accounts of efforts to save valuable cargos from ships that ran aground on the reefs along the Florida Keys.

Sometime during the 1860s and 1870s, someone — probably one of his daughters — used his logbook as a scrapbook, pasting onto its pages pictures and newspaper stories of the day.

DeWolfe and Wood Collection / Monroe County Public Library

 In the '60s, '70s and '80s, waves of Cuban immigrants crossed the Florida Straits, seeking political freedom and economic opportunity. Soon they were starting their own businesses and winning political office, infusing Cuban culture into the DNA of a South Florida city.

The city was Key West. And this was the 1860s, '70s and '80s.