SUNRISE JUNE 17, 1937-SUNSET JUNE 30, 2020
By Charles Moseley
It’s been often said, “Leaders are born not made.”
Every so often, an individual comes along who touches the lives of their fellow man, not for personal gain but out of the goodness in their heart. Walter “Mickey” Hinton was one such individual. He spent his life operating oftentimes behind the scenes, without fanfare.
Hinton opted instead to shed light on a community in need. His appointed role in life was to serve. His recent passing will leave some big shoes to fill. His love of family and commitment to this community will be sorely missed.
His family, friends, and public officials took time to share what Walter “Mickey” Hinton meant to them in their own words in an effort to reflect how special he was and the legacy he left behind. Hinton will go down in history among the great civic leaders in South Florida.
The following excerpts reveal who and what Walter “Mickey” Hinton meant to others:
A TRIBUTE TO WALTER “MICKEY” Hinton-
“To my husband. We have had many ups and downs. But through it all you have stood right by my side. There is no one I would rather have spent the last 60+ years with. I know you’re not gone because the memories I have with you will live on inside my heart for an eternity. Thank you for being my rock and my best friend. I may have lost a husband, but Heaven gained another Angel. Tell my daughter and other loved ones to take care of you for me. Until we meet again, Love your wife,” Joan Hinton.
Daddy- “A knight in shining armor, a character builder too. Kind and understanding, the world’s greatest DAD, is YOU.”
Granddaddy- “Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard but always near… Still loved, still missed, and held so dear. There are so many stories and lessons you’ve taught us, but the one that sticks out the most is, “Once, we asked you why you never say, ‘I Love You’”? And you told us, “it’s because you show your love for us every day by your actions.”
Mrs. Janá Gray-Williams, as did many others, also grew up under the wing of Walter “Mickey” Hinton. She shared many of her experiences of one of Fort Lauderdale’s “UNSONG HEROES.”
Mickey’s Tireless Efforts to Effect Change as One Voice to Represent His Underserved Community of Color within The City of Fort Lauderdale has Now been Silenced Forever, but He will Never, Ever, Be Forgotten. His Legacy will Live on in the Lives of All Generations Who was Afforded the Honor and Pleasure to Meet Him, and Become Better Acquainted With A True Legend Warrior of Our Time, The Who’s Who of Broward County.
He was an Icon Forever Remembered, Who has Graced Our Community with His Presence and have Left Us Much Better Off than He Had Originally Found Us, in His Humbled Beginnings, Right Here in Broward County, and in The City of Fort Lauderdale, as well as, in the Great State of Florida.
My Experiences Growing Up into My Adulthood with “Daddy Mickey” has been a Lifelong Lesson. I have had the Privilege to be A Personal Witness of His Selfless Love, Servitude and Character. He has been Kind, Generous, and Compassionate, by Donating Items, Food, Water, Ice, Clothes, Money, Disaster Relief Items, Homeless Care Packages, Back-2-School Supplies, Thanksgiving Turkeys, and even Toys for CHRISTmas, to Neighbors all throughout the Community.
I’m Grateful to GOD, for Allowing Me the Opportunity to have been in His Midst as He was the President of Durrs Homeowner’s Association, as He was on the Board of the Northwest C.R.A. and later evolved to The Northwest-Flagler Village-Progresso C.R.A., as He ran unsuccessfully for Political Offices, and as He fought until almost His last Months in Life with The Environmental Fight of Injustice and Contamination causing High Rates of Physician Diagnoses of Massive Sicknesses, Terminal Illnesses, Diseases, Premature deaths, and victims of years of lies, distrust in Politics, inconsistencies, ineffective Leadership, and band-aid approaches to A
Huge Problem that was Not going away Quietly.
“Mickey” was Repeatedly threatened with tricks of intimidation, He was Sold-out, Called-out of His Name, Disrespected, disassociated with, and Worst, black-balled against, from Every level
of Jurisdiction, Public Administrations, and within Our very Own Inner-City Community of Color.
“Mickey” suffered seizures, nightmares, cold sweats, heartache, memory lapses at times, but nothing, greater hurt him so than to see his very own people, including his elected local officials to turn opposition, once in office to his personal and communal fight.
As an Invited Guest of “Daddy Mickey”, to be in Chambers, to be in the Middle of Debates, Forums, Town Hall Meetings, Workshops, Seminars, and Community Association Meetings with Him was Priceless. I have sat in on Numerous Meetings to Learn the Political Lingo, the inside dealings without Community input or with very little Community input. I’ve become Well-versed, become a Fighter, an Advocate, A Community Stalwart, A Servant of GOD, Compassionately Committed likewise, to the Struggles of My Communities of Color that have for too long been taken Advantage of, taken for Granted, Abused, Offended, and downright Misappropriated and Redirected Funds Away from Our Communities of Dire Need for Way too Many Generations and Change is Warranted, and Self-Evidently Right Upon Us.
Through The Racial and Systemic Injustices, We as a People, Inclusive of “All People”, are Coming Together to Create Change, Impose Penalties, and Terminate Contracts, Employment, and Association With Individuals, Companies, Corporations, Municipalities, and Governmental Bureaucracies, Who Will Continue to Hide Behind their Years of Corruption, Inequalities, Unfair Practices, Economic Devaluations in Communities of Color, and Outright Discrimination of All People to have Freedom, A Pursuit of Happiness, Liberty and Justice for All!
Matthew 6:18-21 (K.J.V.).
Who would’ve Ever Thought that His Last Actions on this Earth before being Hospitalized, would’ve been to Be A Witness of His Tireless Efforts, as He and “Momma Joan” Signed Their Litigation Paperwork For the Success of The Lawsuit from The City of Fort Lauderdale for The Environmental Contamination of The “Baby Wingate” for All of those Almost 190 People of the Northwest Section, of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Who Have Finally Won VICTORIOUSLY
Now, Once And For All, Mr. Walter “Mickie” Hinton, and All the Other Plaintiffs Who are still Living with Sicknesses, Terminal Illnesses, and Diseases Today or Who has Died Already and are Resting Temporarily In their Graves, have Been Vindicated and Their Many Years of Fighting, Hard Work, Praying, Fasting, Studying GOD’S WORD, AND Praising GOD, For A MIRACLE, Can Say HALLELUJAH, Job Well-Done, Their Lives Were Not Lived In Vain!!!
The Next Individual Shared, Now, As A Classmate of Walter “Mickey” Hinton at Dillard High School Class of 1955, in our Grades 9th-12th, We had Class Numbers #1, #2, and #3. I can’t speak for other person’s perception, but I Always assumed, that those in Class #1, was the Higher Academic Students in All of Our Classes, followed by Class #2 and Class #3, in which All had a Combination of Academics, various Talents, Musical Abilities, and Sports. Ironically, Yes, “Mickey” was in Class #1, and I was in Class #2.
“Mickey” has been a Good Steward over his Northwest City of Fort Lauderdale Communities. We Do Appreciate, Mr. Walter “Mickey” Hinton, for His Powerful Leadership in the Durrs Community Association, for being a bold Leader in trying to help his Community to be recognized, just like the other Communities on the other side of the Railroad Tracks. As hard as Our Ancestors have worked and as Many Sacrifices that They Made, The Question always Resurfaced, “Why Shouldn’t All of Our Children and Generations have it Better”?
As I’ve been A Longtime Member of the Mount Olivet S.D.A. Church, Our Members and Friends were truly saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Walter “Mickie” Hinton. Mickey and Joan Hinton, had been very supportive of Our Previous Annual Event, “Say No To Drugs Parade”, in Memory of Our Son, the Late Major Jerome E. Gray, Esquire, and the Annual event was Sponsored by The Health and Temperance Ministries of The Mount Olivet S.D.A. Church for Almost 20-years, under the Original Pathfinder Club Leadership of Mr. Ansel McIntosh and Mr. John Rachel.
As Our Pathfinders Trailblazer’s Club and Other Guest Clubs, Bands, Cheerleaders, Drill-Teams and Step-Teams, from Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, Drummed, Marched, Stepped, Cheered, and Paraded through the Streets of Fort Lauderdale distributing Healthful, Societal and Life Literature, Gifts, Small Tokens, as well as, Candies, and Snacks to the Children. “Mickey” and Joan, and sometimes His Team of Volunteers, would be Stationed at each Corner, Passing out Cups of Ice Water, and Water Bottles to All of the Participants of the Parade. We Thank Them for Their Diligent Service.
In the City of Fort Lauderdale, “Mickey” and Joan both wanted, as well as, the rest of the Entire Community, All wanted and deserved to Live in a Community with No Pollution and No Contamination, affecting Their Health Generationally, and Challenging Their Livelihoods, Economically.
“Mickey” fought a Long hard Battle, and many times, He would say, He was getting Old, and He was getting Tired.
Well, Mr. Walter “Mickey” Hinton, as one of the Presidents of Our Dillard High School Alumni Class of 1955, We Love You, Our Forever Classmate and Friend, You Fought A Good Fight and Finished Your Race, GOD Bless Your Heart! —Mrs. Juanita Avant Gray
Walter “Mickey” Hinton and I grew up together, and Joan and I, graduated from Dillard High School in the same Class of 1959.
“Mickey” has always been an innovative, caring, active, and industrious person.
His Participation and Activism in the Community showed many of us that we must give to our community so our Children would have a Better Life, and they can Learn from us that giving your Time and Efforts makes for a Better Community. He was a Fighter, and did Not give up easily and had great stamina. He will Always be remembered for His hard work.—Ms. Margaret Haynie-Burch
Mickey” is a grassroot hero, who never gave up. As an entrepreneur, civic leader, and family man, “Mickey” spoke up for the unspoken. He was unselfish to a fault. He made sure that he did not transition until he took care his family and community. My Kappa Brother quietly impacted the community and leaders for over 50 years with Action.
When I was a Football Coach at Dillard High School in 1973-1974, My Path First Crossed with this Vibrant and Energetic Man, Walter “Mickey” Hinton, who was Intricately Involved as an Effective Leader of the Strongest Dillard High School Panther Alumni Association in Fort Lauderdale.
Over the years, Our Friendship have Grown, as I have Watched “Mickey” Utilize his many Talents of being Active on the various Political Campaign Trails, in the Brotherhood of The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, in Coordinating and Helping Implement Candidate Forums, to Rally the Best Candidates for Our Communities to Demand Better, and to Help Our Communities Get Ahead, as well as, to Lead his Community Homeowner’s Association for many years.
My Heart and Prayers goes out to Joan and The entire Hinton Family. If I had One More Opportunity to Say Anything to “Mickie” Today, it Would be to Say: Thank You “Mickey”, My Brother and My Friend, Job Well Done, You have Been A Blessing to Our Entire Community and We are Better Off, All-Around, because of Your Services, GOD Bless You! —Mr. Art Kennedy
After My Family Relocated from Georgia to Fort Lauderdale, around 1947-1948, the School We All Attended as a Child was Dillard Coloured School which had a Nursery by Mrs. Watson, but the School was Pre-K to 12th Grade which was located on N.W. 4th Street at “the Former Old Dillard Museum”.
The Best part about the School having Multiple Grade levels were that the younger students had an Opportunity to Watch and Follow behind the much older Students that were Stronger, Faster, and Better Athletes Perform on the Football Field, like Mr. George Sims and Mr. John L. Gray, in Football and Baseball, and James Samuels, in Football and Track too. Also, on the Basketball Courts like Mr. Walter “Mickey” Hinton, Eugene Peoples, and Johnny Burke, and in addition, to Track and Field, Ralph Wallace, and Brothers James and Leon Kirby, along with Other Sports Activities and Many Super Athletes as well.
Many of the Students back then were Student Athletes, like “Mickey”. We as underclassmen, really looked up to them, being 5-to-7 or more years older than Us, but They were our Examples since They were Smart in the Classroom and rough and rugged in Sports.
“Mickey” was always willing to Help Everyone as he had a Good Relationship with Everyone. After High School, I vividly remember Mr. “Mickey” Hinton and Mr. Robert Thompson doing a Fantastic Job as Our Statisticians for All of Our Scoring at Dillard High School then.
Into My Young Adulthood around 1960’s, We got back Close again, as “Mickey” became a Community Activist and My Brothers and I had been Working at the Cabinet Shop at the Business still located behind the Old Woodlawn Cemetery.
Over the years, “Mickey” would maintain the Upkeep at the Cemetery, and even dig Holes for Funerals. He would organize Volunteers to come out and Clean-up, Cut the lawn, Dig up Holes, have Funeral Services and Cover the holes back up whenever possible for years after the Pall Bearers Association had stopped doing Funeral Services there as they Utilized the Caretaking Services of Mr. James Hogan for Years, at that time, especially since the Cemetery was the Only Black Cemetery with over 90% Blacks Buried there.
“Mickey” took upon himself to become Active in a Leadership Role of the Cemetery, and of the dump as well, since that upkeep had been stopped due to the Contamination. Whatever “Mickey” was doing, he had My full Support and I was right there helping Him cut the lawn, dig those holes, while trying the Best We Could, to Keep the Cemetery and The Durrs Neighborhood as Clean as We Could.
Speaking of Durrs, “Mickey” established the Durrs Homeowners Association. He was always out front in doing whatever was Needed for His Constituents and Neighbors. “Mickey” faced alot of obstacles and Challenges during his Lifetime. He stayed on them and Didn’t Give up. He took the Leadership Role in fighting for Restitution from Contamination in His Community, as a Result of the City Dump.
“Mickey” and I shared Many of the same Quality traits, wherein We Never ever had a disagreement, a confrontation, or an Argument. I was Not argumentative, but when it came to other people bringing heated conversations to “Mickey” and I, Immediately, I would walk away avoiding any Conflicts, leaving “Mickey” to argue His Point until the end. “Mickie” and I Both, were Firm Believers, that “Right is Right and Everybody Must be Treated Fairly”. However, My Parents Taught My Siblings and I growing up that, “You catch more flies with Honey than with Vinegar”!
Unfortunately, there were many injustices that were done over time, some of our own people would fight against the very “Right Thing” that was Needing to be Done, and “Mickey” wasn’t Afraid or Ashamed to Call people on their position and hold people accountable, No matter Who They were, in order to level the Playing field for Everyone in His Community.
“Mickey” was compassionate, and prideful, but he was Right the Majority of the Times. He would Argue His point and He would say, “Johnny that Ain’t Right Man, People just Need to do Things the Right Way, First and Foremost and Be Fair, because Everybody deserve to be Treated Equal”.
Mickey was an Honest Man, that always thought about the Welfare of Others and made his life of Service all about helping other people, the under-dog, All the time. He believed in being their voice for those who were afraid to speak up and speak out. He meant a lot to me personally, and every time he needed anything, he knew I was going to be right there by his side, every step of the way, through thick and thin.
“Mickey” was always uplifting Other people. He Never had the attitude of Me, Myself, and I. He was Never A Loaner, nor was He Alone, in anything He tried to do, because He had either Me, or His Supportive Wife, Joan Hinton by his Side. I knew Joan from Earlier years because My
Mom and Her Mom both, attended the same Sanctified Church, “Church of GOD”!
Joan was feisty, but She has been a Great Ally and Friend. Whenever “Mickey” Stood Up to tackle a Situation, She stood up even Stronger, as a Strong Cohesive Front. They were always a Cohesive Team doing Great Selfless Work for Others, and believed that, “You can do a lot more with a Team, than You ever could do Alone”.
I Thank GOD, that “Mickey’s Motto” was, “To Do Unto Others as You have Them to Do Unto You” that Golden Rule. “Mickey” was a Man of Faith, I prefer to say that, because to Me, “Mickey” was more than a Christian, since when Most Christians have obstacles, trials, and tribulations they are quick to Give Up, but No, Not Walter “Mickey” Hinton… He Never Gave Up, He would Fight to the Bitter end, in which He did just that, He fought A Good Fight.
Mickey, in One Word was A “Trailblazer” for the Right and He just Wanted Everyone Treated Fairly, because He was Always A Fair Man.
It is Now, and has Always been about the Family for both “Mickey” and Myself, so, if there is Anything, that I can do to ever help You Joan, and the Hinton Family, I will still Do so without Hesitation, all the way to My End as well, one day.
— Mr. Johnny Alexander