Miami Stories

Miami Stories
9:56 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

A Cuban Rafter Looks Back, 20 Years Later

Pedro Fournier holding a picture of himself in Cuba.
Credit the Miami Herald

This story, as told by Pedro Fournier, is part of an oral history series.

I was born in Guantánamo in 1956. I moved to Havana as a teenager to study and ultimately graduated with a math degree. In 1994, I decided take a raft to the United States. 

I had to leave Cuba. I had no future there.

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Miami Stories
3:45 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

For 89 Years, A Charmed Life In Miami

The author with a dolphin that he caught while fishing.

Miami Stories is a project by WLRN, the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and HistoryMiami. To share your story, click here.

In 1925, my parents and I disembarked in Miami after a three-day train trip from Chicago, and went to stay at a cottage surrounded by a grapefruit grove that belonged to my mother’s aunt. I was three years old, and it marked the beginning of my nearly nine-decade-long adventure in South Florida.

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Miami Stories
2:05 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

The Many Different Smiles That Make Up Miami

Oliveira with his daughter when he first moved to Miami.

This story, as told by Marcos Oliveira, is part of an oral history series. 

My experience here in Miami has shown me that here you have the opportunity to make relationships with many kinds of people. This gives you ample possibility to be flexible with people and at the same time with yourself. 

Why? Well at the same time that you’re at a meeting, you can sit in a table with someone that’s from Colombia, another from Venezuela, another from Chile, another from here in Miami, another from Europe. Then you have to maintain a dialogue with those kind of people.

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Miami Stories
7:05 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Tooling Around Miami As A Teen In The ’60s

The author as a teenager in the 1960s.

This is the story of Joe Arango as told by him.

My Miami story began the day my KLM flight touched down from Cuba at Miami International Airport.

I was traveling alone in 1961 at the age of 11. I was going to some unknown destination, which turned out to be an orphanage in Colorado, arranged by Operation Pedro Pan. I was reunited with my mother and two younger sisters almost two years later in Miami (we were some of the lucky ones).

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10:55 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Plunging In: How Miami's Beaches Were Integrated

Garth Reeves was a young World War II veteran when he came home to Miami and went to work at his father’s newspaper, the Miami Times.

He bought property, paid taxes and voted in elections. But the beach at Virginia Key was the only one where black residents could go without trouble.

“It wasn’t a very good beach. But right down the street there was Crandon Park - beautiful beach, beautiful clubhouse. Everything was first class.”

So a meeting was arranged with the county commission.

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Community Contributor
7:41 am
Tue July 16, 2013

After No Goodbyes In Cuba, Exile Makes Miami Home

This article, originally published in the Miami Herald, is part of HistoryMiami's Miami Stories project.

When I arrived in Miami in the early 1970s, I never could imagine that I would end up calling this city home.

We came to Miami after a short stay in Spain. I came with my parents, Isabel and Ramon Santos, and my younger sister, Ana. Like many young children, we were excited about moving into a new place, learning a new language and making new friends.

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Community Contributor
6:38 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Superintendent Learns Lesson: Where You Are From Doesn't Dictate Where You Can Go

Alberto Carvalho
Credit Miami-Dade Schools

Every day I wake up with a spirit of excitement and anticipation of what the day may bring, in large part because of the incredible community that has become my adopted home, Miami.

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Community Contributor
7:04 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Veteran Takes A Chance On 1950s Miami

This article, originally published in the Miami Herald, is part of HistoryMiami's Miami Stories project.

Somewhere in the middle of 1951, my father, Cpl. Norman Segermeister, emerged from his commitment to the U.S. Army.  


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Community Contributor
5:35 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Early Settler Recalls Miami's Bustling Black Neighborhood Called "Colored Town"

A postcard from Overtown, 1907.

My maternal grandparents, Sam D. and Ida Ellen Roberts Johnson, were born in Harbour Island, Bahamas. It is believed that their foreparents were among the millions of black slaves forced from West Africa and sold in the West Indies.

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Community Contributor
8:11 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Former City Commissioner Recalls Uncharted Waters From Cuba To Coral Gables

This article, originally published in the Miami Herald, is part of HistoryMiami's Miami Stories project.

For me, the most important journeys have led to South Florida.

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Community Contributor
10:22 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Former Franklin Roosevelt Campaign Manager Settled In Pioneer-Era Coral Gables

The iconic Coral Gables City Hall.

My father, Ernest Peyton Jones, worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was his campaign manager for the southeastern United States and became the associate commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration.   My mother, Betty Schwab Jones, was the secretary for Sen. George Norris of Nebraska. They married in 1936 and lived in Washington.

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Community Contributor
8:30 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Big Milt's Story Has Its Share Of Pathos, Just Like Miami

Milton Brand wasn't welcome everywhere, but he found solace at the racetrack.

I can imagine my dad's excitement leaving gritty Newark behind him and hitting the highway in his old Studebaker bound for paradise . . . Miami Beach. I can see the bathing suit postcards guiding his way and hear the ocean calling his name: M-I-L-T-O-N B-R-A-N-D, come on down!

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Miami Stories Project
8:10 am
Fri May 17, 2013

After Bay Of Pigs And Pedro Pan Campground, Cuban Exiles Build Family In Miami

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Our family came from Havana, a beautiful city that some have called a tropical paradise.

My brothers and I came to Miami on a Pan American flight and were taken to a campground that the Pedro Pan organizers had set up in Kendall, near where Town & Country Mall now stands. We were there for about two weeks before being sent to Albuquerque, N.M., where we were taken in by the family of Dr. Eugene Purtell.

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Community Contributor
2:21 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Early Miami Pioneer Recalls Early Days Of South Florida

Flagler Street in downtown Miami in 1935.

  I was born Martha Anne Peters in Victoria Hospital on Dec. 20, 1937, a second generation native-born Miamian.

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Community Contributor
8:27 am
Mon April 29, 2013

Desegregation Pioneer Recalls School Integration In Miami

A woman escorts her two daughters to Orchid Villa School in Miami during desegregation.

I was born in Nashville and spent the first four years of my life in Tuskegee, Ala.

My father, Dr. John O. Brown Sr., moved to Miami in 1955 to begin his practice in ophthalmology. To this day, I'm glad he did.

We had neighbors who were white and black. Our next-door neighbor was an older white lady who inspired my mother's love for growing orchids and my brother's passion for collecting butterflies.

I attended schools -- Jackson's Toddle Inn and Floral Heights -- that were all black. I remember those as happy years.

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