Black History Month


Levi and Yvonne Henry (deceased) began the Westside Gazette Newspaper in

February 1971. Levi started the newspaper in the Florida Room of his home,

using his daughter’s typewriter. Over the years, the newspaper has increased in size and circulation, beginning as an eight-page tabloid with a weekly circulation of   10,000   and   growing   into   a   Metro   24—page   with   a   circulation   of   30,000 throughout Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties.

Levi Henry, Jr. was born in Nichols, S.C. to Levi and Elizabeth Cooper Henry. Levi and Yvonne Lewis Price met and married in 1966. Yvonne was born and raised in  Paris,   Ky.   Yvonne, along  with   Dorothy   Dillard, were responsible   for many of the daily tasks involved in operating the newspaper, while Levi went out to sell advertisements. Levi and Yvonne shared and endured the usual struggles involved with starting a business on a shoestring budget; however, they often assured one another that they would not quit, refusing to be beaten.

Samuel F. Morrison

Samuel F. Morrison (born December 19, 1936) is an American librarian. Morrison was director of the Broward County Library system for thirteen years and the catalyst behind the system’s establishment of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. He also served as the chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1987 to 1989, overseeing the design and construction of the Harold Washington Library.

Morrison was elected president of the Florida Library Association 1981 and served on the association’s Executive Board. His conference theme was “Florida Libraries: Resource for the Future”.

The DEMCO/Black Caucus of the American Library AssociationAward For Excellence in Librarianship was awarded to Morrison in 1997 for the promotion of African Americans in librarianship.

In 2003 Morrison was recognized with the American Library Association‘s highest honor, honorary membership. He was nominated “for his long and distinguished career in librarianship, his tireless and unflagging promotion of library services, his vision in establishing landmark partnerships between libraries and other community organizations, and his commitment to developing the next generation of librarians as a mentor and supporter of library education.”

Other notable awards include the National Urban League‘s Diversity Champion Award (1998), the NAACP President’s Award (1998), the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information ScienceDistinguished Alumnus Award (1999), and the Florida Library AssociationLifetime Achievement Award (2018).

An animatronic version of Morrison resides at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in recognition of his many contributions to the culture of the Broward community. The animatronic gives a selection of phrases in Morrison’s voice, one of which says, “I see the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center as a bridge and a beacon. It is a symbol of hope, a span across cultures and a shining light for a world in which knowledge is the true power.”

Woodrow Portier

Woodrow Johnson Poitier, affectionately known as “Woody” was born November 5, 1947. He is a graduate of Blanche Ely High School, attended Morehouse College for 2 years and holds an Associate of Science in Mortuary Science from Miami-Dade College. Poitier is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer at L.C. Poitier Funeral Home in Pompano Beach, Florida a company started by his parents, Llewellyn (L.C.) and Nellie Poitier, of which he has been entrusted to own and operate for over 40 years.

Woody Poitier has given relentless hours to the community as its local funeral director, a community activist and through his 24 years of dedicated service as a Pompano Beach Firefighter and Paramedic, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant. He is the first African American Firefighter for the City of Pompano Beach and a respected retired City Commissioner; having represented District 4 Pompano Beach Northwest Community for 6 years and 2 months.