MEET THE BOARD & STAFF
A lyric voice for the black history of South Florida, Dorothy Jenkins Fields has devoted her life to preserving the heritage of the African-American community and raising awareness of African-American history to a national level. A Miami native, she is responsible for the establishment of Miami’s Black Archives, the designation and restoration of the landmark Lyric Theater and other historic sites, the creation of the Black Heritage Trail, and the designation of the Historic Overtown Folklife Village as a National Trust “Main Street” community. Fields was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities for her unprecedented research and documentation of African-American history.
Fields’ maternal family moved to Overtown from the Bahamas in 1903 and immediately became an integral part of the fabric of South Florida’s history themselves. Fields’ grandfather, in fact, was one of the gardeners who planted the original gardens at the Deering Estate, Villa Vizcaya, in 1914. The Fields lineage came full circle in 1999 when Fields was appointed to the Vizcaya Trust by Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas.
A teacher and educator for Miami-Dade County Public Schools for more than 30 years, Fields began her career in 1964 after graduating from Spelman College. Then, in 1974, in preparation for the nation’s bicentennial, she began a search for curriculum materials on the black experience in South Florida. When she was unable to find any information about South Florida’s black history in any school or public library, she embarked on a journey that would become her lifelong professional mission.
The first step in her journey was to establish The Black Archives, a nonprofit manuscript and photographic repository for the legacies of Miami’s black community. She was assisted in her effort by University of Miami history professor Gregory Bush, who introduced her to the field of public history. Later she earned her certification in archives administration at Emory University, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Northern Colorado, and a Ph.D. in 20th-century African-American history, historic preservation, and public history from The Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Timothy A. Barber is a native Miamian and was reared in the Miami-Dade County Public School System, graduating from Miami Central Sr. High School in 1991. Barber then attended and graduated from Bauder College in 1993 with a specialized Associate of Science degree in electronic engineering technology. After working in the field of electronics for several years, he still had a desire to learn and do more in his career. In 1996, Barber entered Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee to further his academic career. It is at Florida A&M where his interest in history begin to take root and set the foundation to where he is today.
Upon his arrival at Florida A&M, Barber auditioned for the university’s famed “Marching 100” marching band. Successfully making the band, Barber then tried out for and successfully made drum major in 1999. He concluded his service with the band as the head drum major in 2001 and 2002, a consecutive term honor that had not been accomplished in ten years. In addition to his accomplishments with the marching band, Barber earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Education and a Master of Arts degree in History. In 2003, he began working at the Black Archives in Miami as an archivist intern. In 2004, Barber was hired as the assistant archivist at the Black Archives in Miami where he developed and performed many task learned as a trainee in archival management. In 2004 he also attended and successfully completed The Georgia Archives and the Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education in conjunction with training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2006, Barber was promoted to Archivist and Curator at the Black Archives and it was also during this time that Barber was appointed to the City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board where he is a past chair and currently presides as an active Board member. He has been an attendee, participant, and presenter at many national workshops on preservation, conservation, archiving, and museum administration such as the Institute of Museum and Library Science Connecting to Collections Symposium in Buffalo, NY; Association of African American Museums Conferences; Society of American Archivist Workshops; Preservation American Conference; Leadership Initiative for African American Museums in Birmingham, AL; Restore America and several others.
Barber was appointed Executive Director of the Black Archives in August of 2009. As the Executive Director, Barber has successfully administered federal grants from the Institute of Museums and Library Services and local county grants. Recently under the guidance of Barber the Black Archives opened the Historic Ward Cultural Tourist Gallery through the City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency. The Gallery showcases rotating exhibits highlighting the accomplishment of blacks in Miami. He has served as a grant reviewer for National public grants; Barber is affiliated with a variety of social, service, and civic organizations. Barber looks forward to working with the community and increasing the accessibility archives and programming at our historic venues including the Historic Lyric Theater Welcome Center Complex.
Barber is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc., Society of American Archivists and the Association of African American Museums. He has been an adjunct professor of history at Florida Memorial University and lives in Miami, FL with his wife and children.