The old Mizell Center may not be a phoenix; however, we are!
20 [a] Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21 He said to the sons of [b] Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22 then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ Joshua 4:20-22 (NASB)
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Golden sledgehammer demolition for the L. A. LEE YMCA/Mizell Community Center. No matter how you try to make it sound pretty, it’s still ugly and the name Mizell was in this community first.
I was out fishing on the dock while on the phone talking to my daddy when all of a sudden, I noticed my rod and reel moving. Needless to say, it was too late. My rod and real had just been snatched from the deck. I watched it slide into the deep waters, but I couldn’t stop it even after given it a valiant effort without jeopardizing my life.
This reminded me of how easily precious things, things of historic value that might mean the world to some, yet considered as dung to others, can slip away even when you’re watching it.
It appears that there was something going on behind the scenes sort of a like under the water as the fish lay in wait for my bait. Yes, I was fishing, and I should have kept my eyes on my property.
Unlike fishing, the Mizell Center lay in wait because some City officials and others who were not concerned about previous plans that had been agreed upon by citizens, planning experts and others who had the welfare of the community at heart. Obviously when the opportunity presented itself, along came a big fish that was made aware of the bait dangling in the waters of procrastination, purposeful neglect and greed and whoop, there it goes.
Not only the things that we need to make a living but also what we should cherish are vanquished in a split.
Now, the fact that they are demolishing the old Mizell Center feels like something is slipping away and we can’t get it back. Part of our Black history is being torn down. Black history is torn down but those who know the segregated history of the city of Fort Lauderdale and what was once on those grounds will never let it be forgotten.
That building, we may never get it back and to those who voted and supported the undermining of this community with bribes, political pay offs and promises, to you, karma has a way of coming right back at you.
No matter the dismantling, L. A. Lee YMCA Board Members, City of Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority and the Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners and former Mayor, because of your input and votes, a part of our history will be wiped from our eyes, yet the blood in that soil will never go away. Perhaps one day you may here it screaming from the ground asking, “why was it necessary to remove this place in the manner in which you did?”
I say to you and like my fishing rod that holds a meal at the end of it, it’s gone and I can’t get it back.