You Are Here: Home » Opinions » Cultural legacies embrace the politics of political history

Cultural legacies embrace the politics of political history

Derek Joy

Derek Joy

Cultural legacies embrace the politics of political history

By Derek Joy

Black History Month is on the horizon.

Two days in, and presto! Ground Hog Day. Happy Birthday, June.

So, let me tell you a story. . .

Turns out that Bobby Henry, Sr., publisher of the Westside Gazette, asked me for a Bio. A bit of irony is that my classmates at Miami Northwestern High School collaborated with our counterparts at Booker T. Washington and North Dade High Schools.

The gist of it is they’ve detailed some of their most notable experiences with racism and discrimination from then until now.  And, on Feb. 7, at the Miami Shores Country Club, they will sort of dramatize those experiences on a Black History Month Program.

Interestingly enough, there is a link between that program and my Bio.

There we were.  Eager, yet reserved, impressionable crumb crushers entering first grade as the Korean War was at its end.  And near the end of our first year in school the U.S. Supreme Court made its decision in the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education (Kansas) on May 17, 1954.

That ruling struck down the segregationist principle of “Equal but separate” in public education institutions.  This was a legal decision nearly 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments became law.

Moreover, 10 years after the Brown v. Board of Education, we were still largely using second hand text books given to us by Anglo schools. The same was true after we entered 12th grade. Shameful.

Then I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where I served in Tex-as, Illinois and North Dakota during the Viet Nam War. Anglo men of draft age created a mass exodus into Canada to escape the draft.

I ran into some on weekend visits to Canada before I stuck my neck in the noose – marriage. But these draft dodgers were later pardoned after an all volunteer U.S. Armed Forces became reality.

It was troubling to see 58,000 plus American military men and women killed, with even more disabled by wounds and injuries. Even more troubling to see how they have been, and still are, grossly neglected, especially since the draft dodgers have been pardoned for their crimes.

No matter. My journalism career had its runs in junior and senior high school, in the Air Force and Florida International University, where I graduated in 1978.  It took a while getting there.

A somewhat obscure recognition came in 1987, when a series I wrote for the Miami Times in 1986 captured first place in the “Feature Story Category” of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Annual Competition.

The series was titled, “Drugs In Liberty City”. It was published in the Miami Times  during the month of May 1986. Then it was on to the Westside Gazette, a trip to Jamaica to report on tourism opportunities and features, courtesy of the Jamaica Tourist Marketing Board.

Of course, being the lead writer for the lead paper in publishing NNPA’s first ever desktop newspaper at the NNPA Mid Winter Workshop in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1989.

Yes, there was another attempt at self publishing a book of poetry titled, From The Ghetto To Infinity, and poetic recognition when International Society of Poets made me a candidate for “Poet of the Year,” an honor I did not win.

For sure some call me a trouble maker and the like. I prefer to say I’ve continued to share public opinion, share public information and, hopefully, arouse human intellect to action.


Be Sociable, Share!

    Leave a Comment

    Site Designed By

    Scroll to top