1958: Miami’s Buses Desegregate
APR 29 2014

1958: Miami’s Buses Desegregate


This clip records a moment of triumph for Reverend Theodore R. Gibson, the Miami civil rights activist born on April 24, 1915 — the desegregation of Miami’s city buses in April 1958.

Born to Bahamian immigrant parents in Miami, Reverend Gibson devoted his life to the advancement of civil rights in Miami, and fought to desegregate the region, leading blacks to swim at the all-white Baker’s Haulover Beach as early as 1945.

Reverend Gibson, as president of the Miami NAACP in 1960, resisted an investigative committee of the Florida legislature, refusing to turn over NAACP membership records to the committee, which was hunting Communists and other “subversives.” Convicted of contempt, Gibson took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor, overturning his conviction in 1963.

In later years Gibson served for more than nine years on the Miami City Commission. Gibson was also a trustee of Miami Dade College. The health and wellness center on Kendall Campus is named for him and the Theodore Gibson Oratorical Contest, created to support interest in communications and oratory among young people and to develop a community of students who excel at public speaking, celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary in 2012.

This video and audio is copyrighted/owned by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives.

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