A Historical Journey From Provident Hospital & Tin Can Alley To Commission Leader
On November 17, 2021, Vice Mayor Michael E. Carn made a major step in the historical journey from his humble beginnings by taking the oath of office as Mayor of the City of Oakland Park (FL). This night was unprecedented in that it placed a triple-crown entry into the historical ledger of Oakland Park. Carn is the first Black man to be elected to serve (two terms) on the Oakland Park Commission and selected as Mayor. Second, Mayor Carn & Vice Mayor Aisha Gordon are the first two people of color to serve together on the Commission. And, thirdly, Mayor Carn & Vice Mayor Gordon are the first duet of Blacks to serve the city as Mayor and Vice Mayor.
Mayor Carn opened his remarks with, “We’ve come tonight as a team. We’ve come to celebrate you. We come not with any semblance or sense of individuality. Tonight is not about either one of us singularly, but tonight is about this tribe. Tonight is about the opportunity afforded to us by you, the citizens of Oakland Park, to serve you in servant leadership at this time, in this place and in this space. We are grateful for you.”
Mayor Carn was delivered to his mother in Provident Hospital on Sistrunk Boulevard by the late Dr. Sistrunk. Michael attended Rock Island Elementary School, Everglades Junior High School (now William Dandy Middle) and graduated from Boyd Anderson High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering on a full academic scholarship with University Honors from Tennessee State University in 1982. He returned to Oakland Park after a 10-year electrical engineering career (missile guidance systems) with Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, California. Upon returning, Michael founded the DATABRIDGE Corporation, a computer and systems engineering consulting firm that he led for 20 years. He is also the former President and CEO of Metro Broward Economic Development Corporation, a not-for-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), that he led for 13 years – providing loan capital, incubation and mentoring to early-stage black owned businesses in Broward County.
Mayor Carn is a longtime resident of Oakland Park. His family moved from NW 6th Avenue (Tin Can Alley) in Fort Lauderdale to the Lakeside Estates community of Oakland Park in 1963 which was later annexed into Oakland Park in the 1970’s. Michael and his 3 siblings lost their mother early in life and was raised by their father, Richard Carn, who retired after a long career with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Union 1526. Michael’s brother, Gregory (known as Hotdog) is currently a member of the same Union. Michael owes a great degree of the successes in his life to the villagers of Lakeside Estates who embraced him and his siblings by offering guidance, exposure, discipline, and love. He considers it an honor to now serve them as surrogate parents – taking them to doctor’s visits, shopping for them, household chores & repairs, etc.