- Educational progress inevitably requires a champion--someone
daring and devoted enough to expand learning opportunities
by challenging the status quo. An outstanding example
of such leadership recently was recognized by Cuban Educators
in Exile when they chose Dr. Robert Bernard Ingram to
receive their outstanding educational achievement award.
Dr. Ingram, a member of the Miami-Dade
County School Board, was selected for his pioneering work
in the teaching field, lifelong championship of intergroup
relations, and extensive record of public service.
Dr. Rolando Espinosa, president of Cuban
Educators in Exile, presented the award at the organization's
annual luncheon on March 26 at the Renaissance Banquet
Hall in Little Havana. In his presentation, Dr. Espinosa
noted that "Dr. Ingram comes to the table of academic
excellence with the patient understanding of a pastor,
the political knowledge of a government leader, the theoretical
wisdom of a professor, and the assurance of an administrator
who breaks down barriers and builds relationships.
"Dr. Ingram has been an incontestable
force in fostering positive educational skills and standards,
while at the same time advocating the value of diversity."
Dr. Ingram has been nationally recognized
for a number of significant contributions and achievements
during his multifaceted career. Born and raised in the
then-segregated Miami, he became the first African-American
police officer assigned to the all-white section of downtown
Miami. While with the City of Miami Police Department,
he was the first African-American to be assigned to its
prestigious motorcycle unit and to its Internal Security
After receiving a number of honors as an
exemplary police officer, he became the first African-American
to retire from the Miami Police Department to become the
police chief of an urban city police force, that of the
City of Opa-locka. He later became the first African-American
city manager of the City of South Miami.
Dr. Ingram was elected to an unprecedented
six consecutive terms as mayor of Opa-locka. In 1998,
he was elected a member of the School Board of Miami-Dade
County Public Schools, the nation's fourth-largest school
In addition to his School Board position,
Dr. Ingram serves as full professor and chairperson of
the Division of Extension and Continuing Education at
the historical Florida Memorial College, birthplace of
"Lift Every Voice and Sing." He also is president
emeritus of the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc.,
and was appointed by the late Gov. Lawton Chiles to the
Martin Luther King, Jr., Institute of Nonviolence, where
he presently serves as chair.
Dr. Ingram has been the subject of numerous
articles in leading magazines such as Jet, Cosmopolitan,
and Reader's Digest. He was included in the May 1995 Ebony
magazine list of "One Hundred-Plus Most Influential
Black Americans and Organizational Leaders in America."
He also was featured in Ebony's October 1982 edition.
Dr. Ingram is married to the former
Delores Newsome. They have two daughters, six granddaughters
and one grandson, who regularly are reminded of his personal
motto: "Keep on struggling,"