home arrow OPINIONS arrow Off to Texas, but Miami always home

AP Political Videos

Login Form

Lost Password?
No account yet? Register
Off to Texas, but Miami always home PDF Print E-mail
Written by Antonia Williams-Gary   
Friday, 15 March 2013

antonia-williams-gary_2_web.jpgThis time, my message is personal. At a recent social function, the mayor of Miami Dade County,  Carlos Gimenez, in response to a now familiar charge that Miami is so foreign, reminded folks that “we are close to the United States.”  It drew a chuckle from the audience but I laughed out loud.


I am a near third-generation member of my family in/of Miami.  My great-grandmother built 10 row houses in Overtown in 1917 but she would not live here fulltime.  She called Miami the “country” and retreated back to Key West, where she had been living since the 1880s after the great migration of Bahamians and Cubans to that city and to Tampa.  But she was a frequent visitor to see family here in the “country.”


In 1924, my grandparents came with the first five of their eight children to Miami, where my mother, the seventh child, was born in 1926.  Miami was a boom town for them. My grandfather was a carpenter and a few of his houses are still standing – and occupied.


I was born in Overtown.


I have been in this town/city through the desegregation of schools (I integrated Immaculata-LaSalle), opening housing and the beaches (ours was better) to blacks; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the cocaine cowboys; three major police-related race riots (1968, 1980 and 1981); a series of “first blacks” who were either elected, appointed or otherwise anointed to participate in the growth and development of the community; and through many more inaugural events and notable personalities who have come – and gone.


I have had the good fortune to be on the front lines, in the primary mix, and/or sometimes actually leading some of the initiatives that have made a difference in Miami, my hometown.  I have received a few recognitions for my contributions here and for them I am grateful.


So here’s the skinny: I have left home only for the obligatory reasons: to attend college, when after graduation, I got married in Miami; stayed for two years and then left for another eight years. I returned in 1976 to stay, seemingly for good.

I spent a brief interlude in Palm Beach County  but I returned to Miami so frequently (for weekends, parties, Links meetings, etc.) that many folk never realized that I had actually moved.  I returned home to care for my aging family members (my aunt and dad, who are now deceased, and my mother who has been living in California for the past year).


Early in the New Year, I realized that I am totally free to move around the country.


And so I’m off to Dallas, Texas, to seek another set of fortunes – and a fame of my own making.  


Already, I know what I’ll miss most of all: the people, my people.  I am Miami and Miami is me. 


But I am also already planning my visits around the birthdays of my grandchildren: September, December (yes, during Art Basel) and March, the most beautiful time of year here, after the winter and before the rainy season.


I know that on my return visits I will smell Miami before I actually even see Miami: the fresh fried yellow-tail snapper, the café Cubano, the profusion of garlic and herb in the foods cooked by Caribbean islanders, demarcating Little Haiti from Little Havana only by a spoken accent.


Miami will call out to me with its Afrocentric/Latin-infused rhythms as soon as I get to either of the region’s main airports. And the ship horns at the port will call me to want to cruise the sea – again – even though I know the routes are mostly a series of circles and zigzags.

These are a few of the favorite things that I will miss and long for, to revisit each time I come back to see all of you, when I’m here to celebrate the birthdays of my grandchildren, to attend a business meeting, to attend the birthday club dinners, to participate in a Links luncheon, et al, or just to catch up with old friends on the beach. (I said on the beach, not in the water!)


I will continue to write this column. None of what I write is tied to a specific territory but I will always have a Miami/South Florida perspective.  I look forward to learning more about Texas, not what I have read or heard through media, and especially not from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.

I am looking forward to learning about the pioneering grit of the folks from south of the border, from those who left other southern states and especially from the Native Americans who were always there.


I can still be reached by email, so let’s stay in touch – and thank you for reading.

Antonia Williams-Gary may be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 March 2013 )
< Prev   Next >
Microsoft reveals Siri-like Windows Phone featureMicrosoft reveals Siri-like Windows Phone feature
NEW YORK — Microsoft unveiled a new virtual assistant for Windows Phone devices last Wednesday as it seeks to gain tra...
Google Glass, good for cooking, needs InternetGoogle Glass, good for cooking, needs Internet
NEW YORK — Google Glass is like a fickle friend. Surprises await, such as the time it took a photo of my ceiling while...
FTC says operators of jerk.com deceived consumersFTC says operators of jerk.com deceived consumers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission says the operators of a website called Jerk.com are the ones behaving badl...
‘Rio 2’ dazzling but overloaded ‘Rio 2’ dazzling but overloaded
A vivid and delightful animated spectacle, Rio 2 is chock-full of colorful 3-D wonder and jubilant musical numbers set ...

News Article Comments

NRA-backed ‘warning-shot’ law on Scott’s desk
The proposed law changes deal with threatening to use deadly force, warning shots are the use of deadly force. The changes will actually water down the SYG law a bit like suggested by Taryvon Martin ...
Miami Gardens chief from North Miami
Congratulations and welcome to the City of Miami Gardens!
Doctors say prepare kids for summer camp
As a camp Director of Swift Nature Camp , I understand and see all the benefits of camp each and every summer. However, it is important to pick the right camp, especially in Fla. At this time they a...
Minority Groups defend Florida's Gay marriage ban
The kettle once called the pan black, the ignorance and arrogance of this group is mind blowing
National Civil Rights Museum reopens at site of King shooting
So happy to see this important museum reopen. Let's hope the politics stay out of the way of success.
Minority Groups defend Florida's Gay marriage ban
Can these groups not see the foolishness of their stance? Ignorance is not always bliss when you're so concerned with what other humans lives. Don't like gay marriage? Don't get gay married. DuH!
Workers to mark MLK assassination anniversary with rally
We cannot forget this important anniversary. Dr. King was murdered partly because of this strike.
Washington Park in need of improvement: OIC offering assistance
thanks for sharing this buon gi bay gio | may tinh de ban | tri ho |
Broward mayor’s success a tribute to late father
What a Great story! I stopped reading the article to say, "This is news that is Current, Local, about Living Legends and their descendants contributing to the African Diaspora. Keep Telling The Stor...
Minority Groups defend Florida's Gay marriage ban
Oh the shear hypocrisy of Blacks and Hispanics not supporting equal rights for all. We should be ashamed for using the same techniques used on us to deny rights to others which are guaranteed by the c...
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Congratulations are in Order! You BOTH Work Hard and Smart, and know how to have Fun while doing it. Your Intelligence and Hearts of Gold Will Pay off....GOD'S ABUNDANT BLESSINGS
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Your enthusiasm, drive and insight is truly inspiring. I wish you bot! many years of great achievements! Keep up the great work!
Mall project a big break for 2 women
What an awesome job ladies! This is the type is professionalism and success that motivates me and my business venture. I'm truly proud of you both. Keep up the fantastic work!
Broward mayor’s success a tribute to late father
Good story, anyone should be applauded for turning around their situation. But sometimes people don't act like they know where they came from and have not done anything for their community except to a...
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Congrats Ladies! Job well done!
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Congratulations Ann Marie!!! I'm so proud of you!!! Way to go! Keep your passion, and God will do the rest! Love you!
Mall project a big break for 2 women
I am so proud of both of you ladies! What a great example and a great job! I am most proud of Ann for defying the stereotypes and proving awesome things do come from the muck! Much continued success!
Miami Gardens: Don’t cut us out
If I were Ross I would move the team and dump the stadium. It is obvious Miami Gardens no longer appreciates what the Dolphins bring to the area but rather collect that guaranteed check. Great example...
Clinton says she's still considering future plans
Mushtaq Dean In this interview session, a woman showed her desire that Hillary should try to win the highest position and represent female population. She was single in her physical appearance but was...
The young are trapped by obsession with wealth
This is a well-conceived and well-written article and does, indeed, express my observations as well as my sentiments. In July, I will be on a panel at The Futurist Conference in Orlando discussing the...

The most influential African American weekly newspaper in South Florida

Beatty Media LLC