Miami-Dade County Commission Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson is one of the first donors to contribute to the Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida’s sustainability campaign with a gift of $5,000.

Edmonson’s donation joins that of the late Carmetta Russell, a former Black Archives Board of Trustees member and the daughter of Coconut Grove pioneers who bequeathed $5,000 toward a future Black Archives endowment upon her death in 2009. The fund was established with a $50,000 donation by Black Archives board member and publisher emeritus of The Miami Times, Garth C. Reeves Sr.

Donations to the endowment support the future operational and programmatic needs. The Black Archives will be able to continue its mission “to preserve, protect and disseminate to the public, South Florida’s Black history,” a recent statement it released said.

“The Black Archives has existed in South Florida for over 40 years,” said Timothy A. Barber, Black Archives executive director. “The purpose of this endowment is to ensure that we exist for 40 more years, and beyond. Black people of the African Diaspora have a deep-rooted and rich history in this region and as custodians of much of that history, our perpetual existence is essential to our story –the true story – continuing to be told.”

The nonprofit organization is housed at the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex, a historic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places built in 1913. The names of endowment donors with gifts of $5,000 and higher will be placed on the Garth C. Reeves Sr. Wall of Distinction, located in the administrative lobby.

Black Archives programming explores aspects of Black life and culture through educational workshops, research, archival exhibits, arts and culture entertainment, job training and employment.

“The Black Archives is in the unique position to have a 360-degree impact on our community,” said Kamila E. Pritchett, Black Archives operations and programming manager. “We are able to provide cultural impact through entertainment and educational programming, economic impact through the employment and training of residents, and impact the tourism industry by presenting activity that attracts visitors to the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown. This is what donations will support: improvement of the quality of life in our community, and keeping Black history alive.”

The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida documents the history of people of the African Diaspora in Miami-Dade County from 1896 to the present. It was founded in 1977 by Dorothy Jenkins Fields. For more information on how to contribute to The Black Archives endowment fund, please call 786-708-4610 or email kpritchett@bahlt.org.

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