HALLANDALE BEACH – Over the past several years, a new crop of movers and shakers has quietly descended on South Florida, taking their place alongside an established and distinguished community of achievers.
These trailblazers and their meaningful contributions were celebrated at the unveiling ceremony for Who’s Who In Black South Florida – The Second Edition on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the Diplomat Golf Resort & Spa in Hallandale Beach.
Nearly 200 people networked with one another over hors doeuvres during the cocktail reception. Later that evening, former NBC 6 anchor Julia Yarbough hosted the formal program and official unveiling of the book.
The second edition of Who’s Who in Black South Florida showcases a diverse group of black professionals. It celebrates the contributions they have made to their professions and the communities where they live and work in South Florida, and serves as a valuable business networking tool.
Rhonda M. Smith, the book’s associate publisher, said her mission with the second edition of Who’s Who was “to showcase people that were somewhat ‘under the radar’—the ones that weren’t so visible within the community, but were doing very interesting and unique things.”
She continued: “I discovered the incredible talent and extraordinary people doing amazing things, and I am so proud to have some of them featured in Who’s Who In Black South Florida.’’
For the past 20 years, Who’s Who Publishing Company has highlighted the achievements of black Americans in cities across the country. The company was founded in 1989 to highlight the positive achievements of African Americans, and to provide a valuable resource and networking guide for the community, according to its website. The publication has expanded to more than 25 cities across the country, and features colorful profiles of individuals with their biographical data and photos.
“The big idea is, we identify affluent and influential talent in our communities. We document that history, and then we use the documentation to educate our children,’’ said Cassandra Bozeman, chief operations officer of Who’s Who Publishing Company. “Then we take the idea, that documentation, that education, and we appreciate those who have done such wonderful things in our community.”
Earlier this year, Real Times Media acquired Who’s Who Publishing Company. Real Times Media is a multi-media conglomerate that owns five African-American newspapers in several cities across the United States.
The inaugural edition of Who’s Who in Black South Florida was published in 2007 by the late Pamela Hutchinson. It showcased successful and accomplished black achievers who live and work in South Florida, and served as a business networking tool.
The second edition continues that tradition, and includes several people who did not make it into the first edition.
The second edition stalled after Hutchinson, who was the associate publisher of the first book, died in November 2007 at 45 following brain surgery. Plans for a second edition in 2008 did not come to fruition.
“Pam’s death was definitely a loss, but the fact that another stalwart of the community took up the ball to run with it—that’s another blessing in itself,” Hugh Sinclair, a chef who is featured in both Who’s Who editions, said of Smith.
Inspired by his wife’s legacy, Hutchinson’s husband, Jerome Hutchinson Jr., created a separate company named ICABA, which stands for Identifying, Connecting and Activating the Black Accomplished. ICABA also publishes directories of black professionals and entrepreneurs.
At its opening reception on Oct. 20, Who’s Who in Black South Florida – The Second Edition, gave a special tribute to Garth Reeves Sr., 90, publisher emeritus of The Miami Times, for his countless endeavors in the struggle for equality and documentation of the civil rights movement in South Florida.
“This is something that the black Diaspora needs,” Reeves said during his key note speech at the Who’s Who ceremony. “We need to keep our history before us, because the true story of black history has never been told.”
Reeves recounted the story of how he and five other black people first integrated the beaches in Miami-Dade County by wading peacefully into the water in 1958. To their surprise, no one harassed or beat them, as was the fate of many black people who had gone before them. From that day on, he said, the beaches were integrated.
Reeves told a similar story about integrating Miami’s golf courses by fighting the law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and ultimately winning.
In addition to highlighting Sinclair and Reeves, the book also profiles many others, including Dianne Hudson, a former executive producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show; attorney Marlon Hill and his wife, Carla; Dr. Adlai Pappy, an anesthesiologist at Florida Medical Center; Haitian author Edwidge Danticat, and many others.
“Hopefully, we get to do this year after year,” Bozeman said. “We’ve told stories in this book, but there are countless other stories that we haven’t told yet. We don’t have just one story to tell.”
Who’s Who in Black South Florida – The Second Edition is on sale for $24.95.
To get a copy of the directory, log onto http://shop.realtimesmedia.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=99 or call 614-481-7300.