Trailblazers’ memorial construction targets new unveiling date
A group of these dedicated community members is pictured here in front of Dillard Elementary and High School, now known as the Old Dillard Museum. Mary Laramore Smith, who spearheaded the move to have the school declared a national landmark, is seen standing directly behind the fourth teacher from the left on the front row. Many of you will recognize your teacher on this picture.
By Lillian E. Small
The Trailblazers of Broward County have set a new date for the unveiling and presentation of its Memorial Legacy Project to the citizenry and others who have a vested interest in this endeavor. Construction of the memorial at Sistrunk Park experienced some technical delays but has now resumed.
The completion is expected well in advance of the event which has now been scheduled for March 26, 2016 at Sistrunk Park (near the east coast railroad tracks) from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon.
The program for this event will fondly and reverently pay homage to the many early settlers who laid the ground-work for the northwest area of the city. It will commemorate the establishment of a multi-disciplinary community that began building in response to the needs of the families who had settled in this area. The knowledge and understanding of the whys and wherefores of our past is a fitting reminder of whose shoulders we stand on, and the importance of acknowledging how those relationships impinge upon our present lives in this community.
The sculpture is that of the Sankofa bird whose head faces the opposite way of its body. This mythical bird flies forward with its head turned backward. For us, its literal meaning is, “We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward.” Its symbolism is the belief that the past serves as a guide for planning the future; thus it is this wisdom of learning from the past which ensures a strong future. It is meant to inspire as we come into the fullest under-standing of who we are and what our lives should add to the legacy of our being.
The northwest community, though striving to provide for immediate needs of survival as its community building progressed, understood that education would be a priority concern for the many residents who were also building their families. Teachers and a place to teach were needed. The humble beginnings of our education community are well documented. Sometimes however, we neglect to recognize those dedicated teachers, those tireless members of our community who touch the lives of all other professions, unsung and unheralded, and many times unappreciated.
In the manner of Sankofa, The Trailblazers salute these teachers, those who came before them, and those who have followed in their footsteps to serve our youth. We are the benefactors of great teachers who were there to instruct and inspire, enrich and enhance our lives.