My maternal grandparents, Sam D. and Ida Ellen Roberts Johnson, were born in Harbour Island, Bahamas. It is believed that their foreparents were among the millions of black slaves forced from West Africa and sold in the West Indies.
I was born in Nashville and spent the first four years of my life in Tuskegee, Ala.
My father, Dr. John O. Brown Sr., moved to Miami in 1955 to begin his practice in ophthalmology. To this day, I'm glad he did.
We had neighbors who were white and black. Our next-door neighbor was an older white lady who inspired my mother's love for growing orchids and my brother's passion for collecting butterflies.
I attended schools -- Jackson's Toddle Inn and Floral Heights -- that were all black. I remember those as happy years.