In 1990 when Nelson Mandela was released from prison it was a time of great joy throughout the planet as east and west alike united in praise of the man. However that summer when Mandela came to the US he got a heroes welcome everywhere but one spot in the country- Miami.
In what was the most shameful episode of pandering ethnic politics, southeast Florida leaders complained about Mandela’s ties to communism, as well as his praise for Fidel Castro, Mummar Gaddafi and Yassir Arafat. AFSCME invited Mandela to speak in Miami Beach but he was snubbed by local City of Miami and Dade County leaders who demanded he publicly repudiate Castro.
For many years the NAACP and other Civil Rights organizations boycotted Miami costing the area millions in convention and tourist revenue.
Only in 2003 did the NAACP return to Miami on a national level after over a decade of a well executed protest.
South Florida’s Civil Rights community who had been through so much in terms of riots, social strife and police discrimination in the 1980s came together as one again and grew thanks in large part to the immoral stand of the non-African American politicians in Dade County.
Nelson Mandela was the greatest living hero on this planet. Yesterday, I was sitting in a studio during a live show as a guest of ESPN when the news broke of his passing. Despite ESPN being a sports station, the show I was siting in on ESPNFC, a soccer show spent the next seven minutes discussing Mandela’s passing, his legacy and his impact on this nation. Each member of the seven person panel had met Mandela in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup with a few even traveling to Robben Island. Mandela touched so many lives and is fondly remembered everywhere around the world, hopefully even in Miami.