First space shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center

Columbia’s first departure on April 12, 1981, was hailed around the world as a major step in space exploration because it returned to Earth for reuse instead of being discarded as previous space vehicles were.  Astronaut John Young was the commander of the first shuttle mission out of Kennedy Space Center.  Named after an 18th-century […]

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The 1986 FBI Miami shootout

FBI agents and two suspected bank robbers exchanged at least 131 shots during the April 11, 1986 shootout on a residential South Dade street that left two agents and the two gunmen dead. Forty of the bullets were fired by Michael Lee Platt, a former U.S. Army Ranger, who carried a rapid-fire, .223-caliber Ruger Mini-14 […]

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Boxing

In the boxing world, South Florida is best known for the 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach where Muhammad Ali trained along with other greats such as George Foreman and Sugar Ray Leonard. But there were countless others training in more obscure gyms in Miami as they tried to break into the big time using […]

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Poetry night at Books & Books, 1983

Books & Books, which opened in March 1982, hadn’t been operating for more than a few months when several of South Florida’s wandering poetic souls found harbor there. When Mitchell Kaplan and his uncle, Julius Kaplan, opened the tiny bookshop on Aragon Avenue, they wanted to do more than sell books; they also hoped to […]

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Gloria Estefan: Queen of Latin Pop

Born in Havana in 1957, Gloria Fajardo was two when her family fled Cuba for Miami. Gloria suffered through a childhood marked by the Cuban diaspora. Her father joined the U.S. Army, fought at the Bay of Pigs and in Vietnam, later developing multiple sclerosis after exposure to Agent Orange. By the time Gloria was […]

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U.S. ambassador returns from Cuba, 1959

In this photo Philip W. Bonsal, then US ambassador to Cuba, was coming back to Washington to report back on the all but hopeless degeneration in the relations between the US and Cuba. At the time, there were concerns about a growing anti-American bias of the Cuban government, the harassment of US financed businesses and expropriation […]

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Janet Reno: First Woman Attorney General

Janet Reno was born in Miami but destined for the national stage. The child of two journalists, she distinguished herself early, graduating from Harvard Law School in 1963, one of 16 women among more than 500 men. She became the state attorney for what was then called Dade County in 1978 at age 39, running […]

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Eufaula Frazier: Community Activist

Eufaula Frazier was born into a family of 11 children in Eastman, Ga., where their farm was among the few black-owned homesteads.  She was accepted to Howard University but couldn’t afford to go. She went to Washington anyway, attending cosmetology school. Frazier moved to Miami in 1950, raised four children and opened a beauty shop, […]

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Elizabeth Virrick: Housing Reform in Miami

Elizabeth Landsberg Virrick was Miami’s champion slum fighter. Born in Winchester, Ky., Elizabeth Virrick was educated at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University, studying interior design and architecture. She treasured Blue Vanda orchids and designed her own house as a showplace for her collection of antiques. Such was the unexpected background and interests of […]

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