Sylvia Poitier Settled works


Sylvia Poitier Settled works

By Otis W.L. Jackson-X

On Monday November 7, 2022, at age 87, Mrs. Sylvia Poitier, past Mayor and City Commissioner of Deerfield Beach, and past Broward County Commissioner, departed this life.

I’m reminded of a quote by the late Congresswoman Shirly Chisholm, I think it’s appropriate for this occasion, “ I want history to remember me… not as the first Black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a Black woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be herself. I want to be remembered as a catalyst for change in America.”

Mrs. Sylvia Poitier was born the daughter of a bean picker and a midwife. She too would work in the bean fields during Broward’s Jim Crow segregation era. She started her life in a very humble and strong environment. She was a kindhearted person with a charming spirit. She was a cousin by marriage to the academy award winning actor Sidney Poitier.

Her kindhearted spirit would help her to decide to go into politics to help people. She would go on to become a political icon in Broward County.

She was one of South Florida’s first Black mayors, becoming the mayor of Deerfield Beach in the late 1970s. In 1985, then Governor Bob Graham appointed Mrs. Poitier to an open Commission seat here in Broward where she was the first Black Commissioner to serve and represent Broward’s minority community..

She was a clarion voice when it came to working hard to provide affordable public housing, which is still a critical issue. In 1999 The Deerfield Beach Housing Authority created the Sylvia Poitier Business Skills Center named it in her honor. She supported public interest projects that would improve the lives of residents and visitors of Broward County alike. She helped in the creation of the Sawgrass Expressway that connects interstates I-95, I-75, The Florida Turnpike as well as the Tri-Rail system, respectively .

Within the last year her physical health began to decline, but her mind remained strong and focused until the end. Whatever her unforced errors were, which have been well reported and need not be enumerated again, she is eternally adjudicated now, and her good works will outlive any remissness.

Seven years ago, the Board of County Commissioners declared October 27, 2015, as Former County Commissioner Appreciation Day in honor of Sylvia Poitier, “who stepped forward in dedicated service as a Broward County Commissioner from 1986 to 1998, including service as Chair in 1988 and 1994, and Vice Chair in 1993, to support and champion a regional government that helped create and sustain a thriving Broward County community.”

In 1986 Commission Poitier was quoted in an article in Dimension Magazine as it relates to the closeness of her community. “I remember the closeness, the sense of extended family ties that we used to have up to the late 60s. Those were the days when you could discipline a neighbor’s child if he needed it, or have a kid spend the night over without fear of suspicion. The community had a network, and we work together to get things done. But that has changed a lot since the 70s.”

Viewing/Visitation is Wednesday Nov. 16, from 12 to 8 p.m. Service is Thursday Nov. 17, at 5 p.m. Visitation and service at St. Paul United Methodist Church 244 SE 2nd Ave. Deerfield Beach FL 33441



A Black Woman’s FAITH

Poem by Mildred Keeves

 Dedicated to Florida’s first Black woman Mayor Mrs. Sylvia Poitier Deerfield Beach Florida.

A Black woman looked on her world one day and saw a problem there.

“I believe I can do something good,“ she said,

“with the help of faith in a prayer.

I see a need that must be met and I see a way to meet it;

I want to give what help I can

To everyone who may need it. “

“Take care because that’s politics,

and politics are bad!”

So she said the people who came to her

and try to make her feel sad.

But that woman said “I’ll reach out in faith and do the best that I can,

and if God says so, I will surely go,

and not bow to any man quote.

So she went down to City Hall

and stuck her foot in the door,

“I’m m here to tell you that God is God

of the rich as well as the poor. “

Well, they gave her a seat in City Hall,

just to see if she could hold it

She said “Lord, only you could have put me here

so take this position and mold it. “

That woman by reaching, touch Black and White

And the people saw through her skin

Then together they appointed a higher place

To her than the one she was in

Now she stands, a shining light,

To City Hall and the community.

By reaching in faith and holding on,

she has taught the true meaning of unity.

About Carma Henry 24868 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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