Renaming and Reclaiming Ceremony in Dania Beach Celebrates the First State Park in Florida Named After an African-American
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., 2016-Aug-17 — /Travel PR News/ — Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, formerly known as John U. Lloyd State Park, is the first state park to be named for an African-American in the state of Florida’s 117 year history. The 310-acre Dania Beach park is named after civil rights pioneers, Dr. Von D. Mizell and Eula Johnson, who helped desegregate South Florida beaches through a series of ‘wade-in’s on whites-only beaches beginning in the 1940s.
Mizell was the area’s first African-American surgeon who opened the first black hospital, and was the founding president of the first South Florida chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Johnson, who succeeded Mizell as NAACP president, led a “wade-in” on July 4, 1961 that was instrumental in creating a bridge that allow accessed to Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, then known as “the colored beach.”
“Greater Fort Lauderdale is honored to be home to the first Florida state park named after two committed and inspiring black civil rights activists,” Albert Tucker, VP of Multicultural Business Development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB. “Naming the very beach Mizell and Eula fought to integrate after them is truly one of the best ways to honor their work and continue inspiring generations.”
The renaming and reclaiming ceremony at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park took place on Saturday, August 6th. The free, family-friendly event featured cultural displays from Old Dillard Museum, Virginia Key Park Trust, Black Archives, Spady Museum Rosewood Society, Zora Neal Hurston Museum, Kinard Bus Tour and Hampton House. The wade-in ceremony was led by the original students who worked to integrate the beach, along with free food, entertainment and giveaways. Senator Chris Smith, who co-sponsored the name change legislation, also attended.
In addition, several civil rights pioneers were recognized with pavilions and a boat ramp named in their honor including W. George Allen Esq., the first black graduate from the University of Florida’s law school who fought to integrate Broward County schools; Alphonso Giles, who ferried African Americans to the segregated beaches when that was the only way to get to the beach; George and Agnes Burrows, civil rights leaders in business; and Dr. Calvin Shirley, a civil rights medical leader. The bill was signed by Governor Rick Scott on April 6, 2016 and effective on July 1, 2016.
About Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County
From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale, located in Broward County, boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a “beach chic” vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping.
For more information, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org. Get social and engage with Greater Fort Lauderdale on social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and Pinterest: @visitlauderdale.