James H. Bright was a cattleman from Missouri who bought one square mile of land in 1901 in what is now Hialeah Drive and East Second Avenue. He called this area Hi-A-Lea after the Seminole word meaning “high prairie”. In the 1920’s the area began to change into an agricultural and industrial center. James H. Bright started an aviation business with close friends owning the land that is now Opa Locka and Miami Springs. They also created the Miami Studios where many Hollywood directors and stars made their movies. He encouraged industry to move into Hialeah while providing guidance about zoning and finances. Mr. Bright was a key player in the history of the city of Hialeah. After a very long and productive life, he died in March 1959.
James Weldon Johnson was an early civil rights activist, a leader of the NAACP, and a leading figure in the creation and development of the Harlem Renaissance. Born on June 17, 1871, in Jacksonville, Florida, James Weldon Johnson was a civil rights activist, writer, composer, politician, educator and lawyer, as well as one of the leading figures in the creation and development of the Harlem Renaissance. After graduating from Atlanta University, Johnson worked as a principal in a grammar school, founded a newspaper, The Daily American, and became the first African American to pass the Florida Bar. His published works include The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912) and God’s Trombones (1927). Johnson died on June 26, 1938, in Wiscasset, Maine.