Glendon Hall brings Black voices to Miami Beach

Glendon Hall brings Black voices to Miami Beach

Glendon Hall’s love for Miami Beach is strong, but his greatest passion is giving the city’s Black community a voice.

Hall grew up admiring people who weren’t afraid to speak the truth, no matter the cost. That’s why it makes perfect sense that he decided to earn his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, an HBCU known for such luminary graduates as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; actor and producer Samuel L. Jackson; Jeh Johnson, the first Black U.S. secretary of homeland security; and many more.

Hall subsequently earned his master’s degree in business administration at Duke University, which he deemed one of his greatest achievements.

“Getting my MBA from Duke was tough as hell,” he said. “I was glad to get that.”

Hall lived and worked in big cities up and down the east coast before landing in Miami Beach, where he has resided for 20 years and where he now works as economic development manager for the City of Hallandale Beach.

He immediately entrenched himself in the community.

First, Hall joined 100 Black Men of South Florida, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of life for Black Americans and other minorities by mentoring. And through the years, he has continued to get involved and make connections within the community.

Today, he is the chair of the Miami Beach Black Affairs Advisory Committee, president of the homeowners’ association in his neighborhood, and president of the Morehouse College alumni chapter in Miami.

Hall works closely with the city police department and last year invited a group of officers to his home to spend Thanksgiving. He hosts an annual Kwanzaa dinner as well, one that’s open to anyone.

The community activist is especially passionate about making his adopted city more inclusive.

“My role is to make sure that people, especially Black folk and people of color, understand that Miami Beach is open and welcomes them,” he said.

The Black Affairs Advisory Committee provides city officials insight from the perspective of Black residents and pushes for programming, procurement and policies in Miami Beach that include the Black community.

Hall believes it’s important to be involved “because if you’re not intentional about it, the same stuff goes on.”

Pushing the city to recognize the contributions Black people have made to the history of Miami Beach is also on the agenda.

“Unless you push for issues, things remain the status quo,” he said. “It’s in my DNA. I can’t sit quiet.”

In November, the committee celebrated Josephine Baker, the cabaret singer, dancer and civil rights figure who made history by refusing to sing at a famed Miami Beach club unless Black guests were welcomed.

The city declared Nov. 28 to be Josephine Baker Day and honored her by presenting a concert at the National Hotel on Collins Avenue. The committee is working to put up banners throughout the city bearing the faces of people of color who have made history on Miami Beach.

“Miami Beach history is Black history” said Hall.

While remembering the past is crucial, focusing on future generations is key to change.

Hall recognizes this and is one of the founding members of the Miami Center for Racial Justice, which focuses on bringing together law enforcement officers and local youth to encourage the latter to join the city police department.

Hall’s family is also active within the community.

His daughter, Leandra Hall, made history of her own as the first Black member of the Miami Beach Youth Commission. Last year she was the only Miami Beach student to receive the prestigious Silver Knight Award for founding the nonprofit, which teaches robotics and coding to Black and brown girls.

“My biggest accomplishment is my unapologetically Black, Afro-wearing daughter,” Hall said.