“The Vanishing of Harmon Field”

Fort Lauderdale Magazine : The city magazine for Fort Lauderdale. Events, fashion, dining, architecture, investigative journalism, and more. In the May 2016 issue of Fort Lauderdale magazine, there is an extremely well-written article about the Harmon Foundation gift of $2,000 to the City of Ft. Lauderdale for a two-acre playground for children in the early 1920’s.   The little town was among fifty small towns out of 750 applicants awarded the grant. A bronze plaque memorializing the gift is embedded in what was once a a concrete water fountain standing in front of the School at the end of West Las Olas Boulevard.

I was interviewed for the article by Fulbright scholar April Simpson. [As I write this post, April has accepted a position as writer for Current magazine, Washington, DC.   I predict great things for this exceptional young lady of color. Her article appears in the Fort Lauderdale magazine link underlined above. To me, it involves the paving over of the Harmon playground or at least its loss during the late 1950’s during the period of “massive retaliation” when the City of Fort Lauderdale sold its western golf course for less than fair market value to avoid integration.  It involves the City, Broward County, and the School Board, whether by neglect, confusion, or intentional actions.  In any event, the ‘chickens have come home to roost’, as they say. Now that Sailboat Bend neighborhood has turned the corner, the neighborhood justifiably wants to know what happened to Harmon park.

The complete and accurate story as this young journalist wrote it appears as appended electronically to this article by tapping on the above blue sentence in Fort Lauderdale magazine. Tap on the line and read the whole sordid story of your public officials in action (or, inaction) in the days of ‘massive retaliation’.

My contribution which led Ms. Simpson to me appears in the next post, Broward Legacy.  It was written a few years ago for the Broward County Historical Commission’s Broward Legacy, a magazine chosen for digitization by the colleges and universities of Florida some years ago. The BrowardCounty Commission recently defunded the Historical Commission out of existence. As a result, there may  be no further editions of the Broward Legacy, unless the County Commission resurrects it.  The Legacy has been chosen in years past  for reading to the visually impaired by “Insight for the Blind.” Yet a county of nearly two million cannot find the money to support what had been the smallest agency in county  government.

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