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Timeline of Selected Events 1940 - 1990:         Bob Simms and Family    South Florida    The United States

Simms Family Moves to Miami
Bob Simms moves to Miami, Florida from Tuskegee, Alabama and takes Chairmanship of the Physical Education Department at George Washington Carver Junior/Senior High School in Coconut Grove.
Simms begins documenting school life
Bob Simms begins to photograph all aspects of George Washington Carver school life until 1967 when he retires from the Dade county school system.
Simms becomes Director of Small Business Development Center
Bob Simms become the Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Miami.
Simms joins Metro-Dade Community Relations Board
The Metro Dade County Commission created the Community Relations Board (CRB) in 1963 to be a unique community agency that would attempt to solve hardcore social problems and economic distresses that were troubling to many Dade County residents. In 1967 Bob Simms leaves the Dade-County School system and joins the Metro-Dade Community Relations Board as the Deputy Director. In the same year, he was promoted to Executive Directory.
Miami Inner-City Minority Experience (MICME) created
The Department of Defense (DOD) established the Defense Race Relations Institute (DRRI) on June 24, 1971, located at the Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Institute provided a comprehensive 6 week program that included a 50-hour experiential workshop. This workshop was developed by Bob Simms and his company, Robert H. Simms & Associates. The experiential workshop became known as the Miami Inner-City Minority Experience (MICME) and was conducted from 1972 to 1976. MICME was based on the DRRI's curriculum and theories and was used to validate the instruction received at the Institute. The program included diversity exposure, validation of the theories learned, and an authentic, hands-on experience that began on a Friday afternoon and concluded two days later.
Inner City Marine Science Project
Bob Simms led efforts to create and implement the Inner City Marine Project which developed into The MAST Academy, a nationally recognized 9-12 school focusing on the marine sciences.
Leah Simms appointed judge in 1981; elected in 1982
Leah A. Simms became the first black woman to serve as judge in the history of Florida, appointed by Governor Bob Graham in 1981, and elected to the post in 1982.
Bob Simms retires from Community Relations Board
In 1983 Bob Simms retires from the Community Relations Board.
Virginia Key becomes black only beach
In response to a protest by the black community against the segregation laws that prohibited blacks from using public beaches, Dade county officials created Virginia Key Beach Park, a public beach for the black community. It opened on August 1, 1945. (08/01/1945)
Dade County Auditorium integrated
The Dade County Auditorium was integrated. The change followed world-renowned contralto Marian Anderson's refusal to sing for segregated audiences.
Miami schools desegregated
The first blacks did not enroll in an all white public school until 1959. This took place five years after the United States Supreme Court's ruling on school segregation.
Sit-in at Burdines
The Reverend Edward T. Graham and six other black clergymen attempted a sit-in at the Burdines store in downtown Miami. The police denied them entrance. When a boycott of downtown stores was threatened, city leaders sat down to negotiate a settlement. In April, it was agreed that all stores would open to black customers simultaneously in August later that year. (04/11/1960)
Miami public swimming facilities integrated
Miami's black residents were allowed to use the city's public swimming facilities. In a suit filed by the local NAACP, a United States federal court ruled that desegregation in the city's pools was unconstitutional. (09/1960)
First major Miami hotel admitted blacks
The first major Miami hotel that had previously been segregated admitted blacks. Six black players in town with the Chicago White Sox stayed at the Biscayne Terrace Hotel in downtown Miami (04/01/1061)
University of Miami admits first black students
They were the first black students to attend the university (June 1961).
Black & white teachers convene
Black and white teachers met together at Convention Hall in Miami Beach. This was the first time that both groups joined to discuss professional issues.
Athalie Range becomes City Commissioner
Mary Athalie Range became the first black person to occupy a seat on the Miami City Commission. She was appointed to the position by the mayor after electoral fraud in her race for another seat on the commission, but went on to win two subsequent elections after her appointment.
"Freedom Flights" begin from Cuba
These twice daily flights from Varadero, Cuba resulted in over 100,000 Cubans arriving in one year. (12/1965)
First group of Haitian refugees arrive
The first group of Haitian refugees arrived in south Florida. They were treated as political refugees and given asylum in the United States. (12/12/1965)
Martin Luther King Jr. visits Miami
Martin Luther King Jr. visited Miami. He spoke at a rally attended by 1,200 people. (03/1966)
Liberty City riots
August 7 a riot took place in Miami's Liberty City. After a rally organized by the Congress of Racial Equality and the black Panthers, a man with a bumber sticker reading "George Wallace for President" was attacked. Shortly thereafter, a number of youths and other individuals vandalized and looted areas of Liberty City. The violence continued through the night, taking place during the Republican Party convention. The riot beginning on August 7 continued after City of Miami officials took no action to address the concerns of those rioting in Liberty City. After Miami police opened fire on the crowds, two black men were killed and a black child was wounded. Over the next two days, two more black men were killed by police.(August 1968)
Brownsville "rotten meat" riot
The "rotten meat" riot occurred in the section of Miami known as Brownsville. Protesters had been picketing at a white-owned Pic-and-Pay since June 12, when the owners were accused of overpricing poor quality meet and other goods. When police arrived firing tear gas several days later, rioting ensued and continued for three days, extending into Liberty City and some sections of Coconut Grove. (June/15/1970)
Theodore R. Gibson elected to Miami City Commission
Father Theodore R. Gibson succeeded Mary Athalie Range on the Miami City Commission. Gibson served until 1981 and never lost an election. (1972)
Second Wave of Hatian Immigrants
A second boatload of Haitian immigrants arrived in south Florida. Over the next several decades, thousands more would follow. At this point in time, the most common way of dealing with Haitian immigrants was to detain them for a short period of time before dropping them off at local black churches. As the U.S. government began extending these detentions, they came under fire for providing Cubans with such a considerably easier road to citizenship than Haitians. (1972)
Human Rights Ordinance passed and revoked
The Dade County Commission passed a human rights ordinance. It protected individuals against discrimination based on sexuality. (Jan/18/1977) Dade County voters repealed the human rights ordinance passed by the county commission less that one half year earlier. The vote came following a fervent anti-gay rights campaign led by Anita Bryant. (June/7/1977)
Arthur McDuffie beaten to death by Police
Arthur McDuffie was brutally beaten by a group of Dade County police officers. He died four days later as a result of the beating. The acquittal of all the officers involved sparked a riot in Miami that caused what came to be known at the "Miami Riot of 1980." (Dec/16/1979)
Police officers aquitted in the beating of Arthur McDuffie
A group of Dade County police officers was acquitted in the beating that left Arthur McDuffie dead the previous December. After the verdict was reached by an all-white Tampa jury, Miami descended into violence and what came to be known as the "Miami Riot of 1980." The riot cost tens of millions of dollars in damage. (May/17/1980)
Tuskegee Airmen formed
The black airmen who became single-engine or multi-engine pilots were trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF) in Tuskegee Alabama. They came from every section of the United States. The first aviation cadet class (13 men) began in July 1941 and completed training nine months later in March 1942. The 332nd Fighter Group, the most successful airmen of World War II, flew more than 200 escort missions, not once losing an aircraft. (1941)
WWII. Formal surrender of Japan
In the morning of 2 September 1945, more that two weeks after acceping the Allies terms, Japan formally surrendered. The ceremonies, less than half an hour long, took place on board the battleship USS Missouri, anchored with other United States' and British ships in Tokyo Bay.
Jackie Robinson begins rookie season with Brooklyn Dodgers
Jackie Robinson became the first African American in the twentieth century to play baseball in the major leagues -- breaking the "color line," a segregation practice dating to the nineteenth century. (04/15/1947)
U.S. Armed Forces Desegregated (1948)
President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981, desegregating the U.S. Armed Forces. Order 9981 states, "It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or nation origin." The order also establishes the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. (7/26/1948)
Martin Luther King marries & settles in Atlanta
Martin Luther King marries Coretta Scott and settles in Montgomery, Alabama. (1953)
Invisible Man is published
Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is published. The novel chronicles the travels of its narrator, a young, nameless black man, as he moves through the levels of American racial intolerance and cultural bigotry. (1952)
Brown v. the Board of Education
In the case of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, the U.S. Supreme Court ends federally sanctioned racial segregation in the public schools by ruling unanimously that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Brown overturned the precedent of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which had declared "separate but equal facilities" constitutional, and provided the legal foundation of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. (5/17/1954)
Emmett Till murdered in Mississippi
Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago is murdered in Money, Mississippi while visiting relatives. He allegedly whistled at and said "Bye, baby" to a white woman. The case attracts national attention. In September, an all-white jury finds his alleged killers not guilty of murder. (08/26/1955)
Rosa Parks is arrested in Alabama
Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for violating municipal laws when she does not relinquish her seat on a city bus to a white man. At her trial she is convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $10. She is jailed when she refuses to pay. (12/01/1955)
Black students refuse to give up "white's only" seats
Four black freshmen from NC A&T College refuse to give up their seats at the "white's only" lunch counter at a Woolworth's in Greensboro. Within weeks the tactic of sit-ins is taken up by people across the South. (02/01/1960)
Voting Rights Act of 1960
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Voting Rights Act of 1960 permitting federal courts to appoint voting referees to conduct voter registration following a judicial finding of voting discrimination. (05/06/1960)
Martin Luther King arrested at Rich's
Martin Luther King & 35 students are arrested for a sit-in at the snack bar of Rich's Department Store, Atlanta, GA. He is sentenced to four months hard labor for violating a suspended sentence he received for a 1956 traffic violation. John and Robert Kennedy use their influence to secure King's release from Reidsville Prison on October 27. (10/17/1960)
Interstate bus segregation prohibited
The Supreme Court prohibits segregating interstate bus passengers in the public waiting rooms and restaurants (Boynton vs Virginia) (12/15/1960)
Meredith at U Mississippi
James H. Meredith is officially registered as a student at the University of Mississippi, marking the school's integration, following a night of rioting that claims the lives of two students and injures 160 federal marshals. (11/01/1962)
Medgar Evers murdered
Medgar Evers, NAACP field secretary and civil rights activist, is murdered at his home in Jacksonville, Mississippi . Evers, a Sergeant in the United States Army, is buried in Arlington Cemetery in Washington, DC (07/12/1963)
March on Washington
The 1963 March on Washington is the first integrated civil rights demonstration. The March is organized to present the civil rights agenda to Congress. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers the famous the "I Have A Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of 250,000. (08/28/1963)
Church bombing kills girls
Four small black girls are killed in a Birmingham, Alabama church bombing (08/15/1963)
Kennedy assassinated
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime, but was murdered two days later by Jack Ruby. Lyndon Johnson becomes President. (11/03/1963)
Poll tax eliminated
The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, ending the poll tax in federal elections. (02/04/1964)
Civil rights workers murdered
Three civil rights workers are murdered after traveling to Neshoba County, Mississippi to investigate the burning of a black church. No one was ever charged, although Federal agents identified a group of Ku Klux Klansmen as the killers. (07/21/1964). In August, the bodies of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner are discovered by FBI agents buried near the town of Philadelphia in Neshoba County, Mississippi. The begins an exhaustive search for the murderers by the FBI. A case against 19 conspirators is brought to trial ("Mississippi Burning Trial"). In October 20, 1967 the jury returns verdicts of guilty against seven conspirators, nine are acquitted, and the jury is unable to reach a verdict on three of the men charged.
1964 Civil Rights Act
The 1964 Civil Rights Act is passed by Congress and signed by President Lyndon Johnson. (07/03/1964)
King wins Nobel Peace Prize
King wins Nobel Peace Prize.. (10/14/1964)
Malcom X Murdered
Malcom X is Murdered in New York City (2/21/1965)
3,000 March from Selma to Montgomery
Civil Rights demonstrators are brutally assaulted by heavily armed state troopers and deputies on march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on a date now known as 'Bloody Sunday.' (March/07/1965) President Johnson mobilizes the Alabama National Guard to protect civil rights marchers in Selma. (March/20/1965) Over 3,000 civil rights marchers leave Selma for a march to Montgomery, Alabama protected by federal troops. 25,000 marchers join along the way. Upon reaching the capitol, Martin Luther King, Jr. hands a petition to Governor George Wallace, demanding voting rights for blacks and gives an address. (March/21/1965)
Viola Liuzzo Murdered
Viola Liuzzo, wife of a Detroit Teamsters Union business agent, is shot and killed while driving a carload of civil rights workers to the Montgomery Airport. A member of the NAACP, Viola had decided to take part in the Selma to Montgomery March. (March/25/1965)
Poll Taxes Unconstitutional
The U.S. Supreme Court declares poll taxes are unconstitutional. (March/24/1966)
James Meredith shot during "March Against Fear"
James Meredith is shot in Hernando, Mississippi during a 220-mile "March Against Fear" from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. Meredith survives the attack and later completes the march; Aubrey James Norvell, the white man who shot him, is sentenced to five years in prison. (June/06/1966)
Black Panther Party
The Black Panther Party is founded in Oakland, California by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Newton and Seale articulate their goals in a ten-point platform that demand, among other items, better housing, full employment,and an end to police brutality. (Oct/15/1966)
First African-American Supreme Court Justice
Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as a Supreme Court justice. Long before President Lyndon Johnson appointed him the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Marshall had established himself as the nation's leading legal civil rights advocate. (Oct/1967)
Alabama Ordered to Desegregate
Alabama is ordered to desegregate all public schools. (March/12/1967)
Poor People's Campaign
Martin Luther King, Jr. announces the formation by SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) of a "Poor People's Campaign" with the aim of representing the problems of poor blacks and whites. (Dec/04/1967)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassinated
At 6:01 p.m. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated on while standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis. (April/05/1968)
First black Woman in House of Representatives
Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to the House of Representatives. She joins 9 other women. (Nov/04/1968)
Affirmative Action
President Nixon issues Executive Order 11478 which requires Affirmative Action programs in Federal employment. (Aug/08/1969)