Your Facebook feed is probably blowing up with news of President Trump’s first days in office, with some puppies and baby photos in between.
If you’re friends with well-known community activist and organizer Valencia Gunder, there are also some history lessons in the mix.
For seven years running, the multigenerational Miami native of Bahamian descent has been schooling her Facebook followers about the people, events, and places in South Florida who are a part of South Florida’s black history. For 28 days straight, she posts one tidbit a day to her Facebook page.
“A lot of people don’t think that Miami or even South Florida in general has a really rich black history and I take my time to bring that to the forefront.”
The day of the interview, she highlighted Dana A. Dorsey, Miami’s first black millionaire. He was the first owner of Fisher Island, which back then included the beach where blacks could swim before South Beach was desegregated.
“People love it. I get lots of shares, lots of response,” she says. “I surprise people with the information I find.”
When she first started this several years ago, she was covering the more well-known people and events. But as time went on, she had to get creative about her sourcing to get below the surface.
That’s when she turned to the matriarchs and patriarchs of the black community in Miami.
“I just take my time and go in to see them and talk with them,” she explains. “They just pour a lot of information into me, then I go and research it.”
It’s a lot of work, but it’s one that brings Gunder a lot of pride and joy.
“This is my favorite holiday, the entire 28 days,” she says. “Every year, on the 1st of February, I throw the fact up there and people write and say ‘I was waiting for this day.’ Parents write me and say they use these posts for their kids’ black history projects.”
With one post a day for 28 days for seven years, that’s almost 200 facts that Gunder will have shared by the end of this month. Could she run out of stories to share?
“I doubt it very seriously. My great-great grandparents settled here from the Bahamas in Lemon City and my great-great grandmother was 102 when she passed away, before I was born. She was 15 when she got here.
“I think there’s a lot of history I can go and find, a lot of people I can look up that were part of our history. If I run out in Miami, I’ll just go to Fort Lauderdale and that will give me a few more years.”
If you want to follow along the rest of the month, you can follow Gunder on Facebook – all the posts are public.