By: China Boynton
The Rock Road Restoration Group held an event at the Ali Cultural Arts Center on April 24 to honor the incredible women who have stood the test of time in Pompano Beach.
One of the coordinators and Rock Road Restoration Group member Elizabeth Massey says that the group wanted to recognize the women in the community that sometimes don’t get enough recognition because they do things on a smaller scale.
“This is something that we discussed many years ago with our founder Hazel Armbrister,” said Massey. “She was one of those individuals who wanted to recognize those who don’t always get the glory and the praise.”
The honorees included Reverend Marguerite Luster, Mozelle Sheppard, Dr. Barabara Black Robinson, Leola Irving, and a posthumous honor for the group’s founder Hazel Armbrister.
Dr. Barbara Black Robinson is an active member of her church and owned a daycare with her husband Superintendent Robert Robinson. She worked as a notary under Governor Lawton Chiles in 1991 and says that she volunteered her services to senior citizens over the years at no cost.
“I go out of my way to do things to help the community,” said Robinson. “ I don’t do talk, I do walk.”
Mozelle Sheppard was also honored and has been working with the Citizen Observer Patrol for 23 years. She has also been a member of the order of the Eastern Star and a volunteer for the Senior Citizens club over the years.
“I volunteer for a seniors watching seniors program here in Pompano Beach,” said Sheppard. “I like to do things that can help people because one day it could be me who needs help.”
Reverend Marguerite Luster worked on the board of Sunshine Health Center for 20 years and was honored for her efforts as a pioneer in Pompano for fighting for equality for black people in health and education.
“When I first started in Pompano early on, I realized that the schools weren’t satisfactory to the community so I got involved in order to make the schools better and equal for the children,” said Luster.
Luster also accepted an award for her sister, Hazel Armbrister who was posthumously honored by the Rock Road Restoration Historical Group as the founder who was crucial in restoring the history and dignity of Pompano Beach.
Carmen Jones was the Mistress of Ceremony. The event also included a dance by Kiah Vance and a poem read by Aubrianna LeSane. Richard Elam who is Manager of Customer Service of Pompano Beach offices for the United States Postal Service dedicated a stamp of black artist Edmonia Lewis, the firs first first to each of the honorees in attendance.
Former postal employee and vice president of the Rock Road Restoration Historical Group Linda Clarke says her major part of coordinating the event was getting in touch with the postal service.
“We worked diligently since February to get the postal service involved because it was important to the group and they have always participated in our programs,” said Clarke.
Clarke says this is just the first of many programs to honor the men and women of Pompano.
“ This ceremony was very successful and we plan on hosting an event such as this annually switching between men and women,” said Clarke. “ It turned out to be a nice family and friends event.”