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March 6, 2018

Terri Lipsey Scott 

Terri Lipsey ScottA native of Savannah, Georgia, Terri Lipsey Scott has been a resident of St. Petersburg since 1981. She is a retired administrator having served the Office of the Mayor and City Council from 1987-2014.

Terri’s civic engagement included memberships in the Junior League, Women of the Word, St. Petersburg Chapter of the Links, Inc., St. Petersburg Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, SPC Women on the Way, and Colours of Culture.

Mrs. Lipsey Scott has served on local boards to include Aids Services Association of Pinellas, St. Petersburg Branch of the NAACP, Co-Chair of Community Alliance, Convener of St. Petersburg Together, St. Petersburg College Women on the Way, Alpha House and the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum.

Terri is an alumnus of Savannah State University and Eckerd College. She is a graduate of the Leadership St. Pete Class of 2008 having served as the community project co-chair and visionary. She is currently the Executive Director of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum.

Terri has been acknowledged by several organizations namely the YWCA – Phenomenal Woman of the Year; Studio @ 620 - Studio Honors Award; The Gathering of Women – Woman of Distinction Award, SCLC Role Model of the Year, H.V. Jenkins High School “Hall of Fame,” and Watermark’s “One of the Most Remarkable People of 2017” award to name a few. Terri’s writing was recently published as the Foreword in the nearly released Salt Creek Journal.

Mrs. Lipsey Scott is the bride of 37 years to Clarence Scott, III; and mother of two adult children and two grandchildren.

March 5, 2018

Fort Mose Historical Society 

Fort MoseHidden away in the marshes of St. Augustine, Florida is one of the most important sites in American history: the first free community of ex-slaves, founded in 1738 and called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose or Fort Mose (pronounced Moh-Say). Established in 1738 by Colonial Spanish Florida’s Governor Manuel Montiano, Fort Mose gave sanctuary to Africans challenging enslavement in the English Colony of Carolina. Approximately 100 Africans lived at Fort Mose, forming more than 20 households. Together they created a frontier community which drew on a range of African backgrounds blended with Spanish, Native American and English cultural traditions. A Maroon Fort Mose, a maroon community, was legally sanctioned by the Spanish Government making it the first free African settlement to legally exist in the United States. Fort Mose was the northern defense of St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city.

The Fort Mose Historical Society, a 501 (C) (3) non-profit educational and charitable organization, is dedicated to bringing this story to the American people and the people of the world, so it will no longer be a hidden part of Florida’s history. The organization began meeting in 1995, the same year that Fort Mose was declared a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. government. It was incorporated in 1996 to serve as the official Citizens Support Organization for the Fort Mose Historic State Park, which operates and manages the Fort Mose site as part of the Florida Park Service. The Society was instrumental in encouraging the State of Florida to acquire land and construct a museum, which now sponsors many public programs to increase visitors’ knowledge of the Fort Mose story.

More than a century before the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves from the British colonies were able to follow the original “Underground Railroad” which headed not to the north, but rather south, to the Spanish colony of Florida. There they were given their freedom, if they declared their allegiance to the King of Spain and joined the Catholic Church. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Fort Mose Historical Society, the discovery and verification of the events that took place in Saint Augustine and at Fort Mose have resulted in the revision of not only Florida’s but America’s knowledge of colonial history.

March 2, 2018

Derrick Brooks 

Derrick BrooksDerrick Brooks was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, where he remained to play his entire fourteen season professional career. He is widely considered one of the best linebackers in NFL history. An eleven-time Pro Bowl selection and nine-time All-Pro, Brooks was named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII.

In February 2014, Derrick received one of the highest honors of his life by being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was inducted in Canton, Ohio, Also in August of 2014 he was inducted into the Capitol One Academic All-American Hall of Fame. In September of 2014, Derrick was enshrined into the Ring of Honor by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where they retired his jersey and the number 55 will never be worn by another Buccaneer player. Derrick Brooks added another honor to his already sparkling resume when he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Derrick is currently serving as an appeals officer for the National Football League, as well as president of the Tampa Bay Storm.

Brooks graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business communications at Florida State University where he was a three time first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, two times First-Team All-American, and a member of the 1993 Seminoles National Championship team. In November 2010, Florida State retired Seminoles jersey number 10 in honor of Brooks and he was also inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame. He went on to earn his Master’s in Business Communications from FSU in 1999, and his Doctorate in Humane Letters from St. Leo University in 2006.

Recognized as often for his hard work in the community as he is for his hard hits on the football field, Brooks has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including being a co-recipient of the 2000 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, the 2004 Bryon “Whizzer” White Award, and the 2008 JB Award through the NFL Players Association, all of which recognize an NFL player annually for their commitment to the communities in which they live. Derrick also has received numerous community awards in Tampa, Florida for his work and dedication to the community such as: 2007 Citizen of the Year from the Tampa Sports Club, 2014 Lee Roy Selmon Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tampa Sports Commission, 2014 Community Hero Award from the Tampa Bay Lightning and the 2014 Community Champion Award from the Boys and Girls Clubs. Derrick was also selected as the recipient of the 2016 Tampa Metro CIVITAN outstanding Citizen of the Year!

March 1, 2018

W. George Allen 

W. George AllenAttorney W. George Allen was born on March 3, 1936, in Sanford, Florida. Allen grew up in a segregated community in Sanford; attended Midway Elementary and Junior High Schools; and graduated from Crooms High School in 1954. As a youth, Allen wanted to become a physician. However, after playing the role of a lawyer in a school play, he changed his career plans.

Allen attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee Florida and earned a B.S. degree in political science and economics in 1958. He then served in the United States Army as a Special Agent with the Counter Intelligence Corps from 1958 to 1960 and rose to First Lieutenant. In 1960, Allen entered the University of Florida Law School. In 1962, he became the first African American to earn a J.D. degree from the University of Florida Law School. Most importantly, Allen was the first African American to earn a degree in any former white institution in Florida, thus integrating higher education in Florida.

While in law school, Allen got involved with social activism when he organized lunch counter sit-ins in and around Gainesville, Florida. In 1963, Allen and his family moved to Fort Lauderdale after he passed the bar exam and was admitted to the Florida Bar Association. Allen filed the lawsuit that integrated Broward County public schools which assured that all the children of Broward County were entitled to an “equal” education. Allen then monitored the schools in Broward County until 1994. He also integrated the schools in Hendry County, Florida.

Allen was hired at the law firm of Orr & Kaplan. After six months there, Allen started his own law practice. Allen was the sole proprietor of the Law Offices of W. George Allen in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he practiced law for more than forty-three years, specializing in Trial Work, Personal Injury, Probate, Guardianship, Family Law, Insurance Defense, Criminal and Real Estate. He championed Human Rights and Dignity throughout his career.

Allen was a dedicated member of many organizations, boards, and associations including the Urban League of Broward County, NAACP Lifetime Member, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the University of Florida Foundation, the Florida Bar Association, T.J. Reddick Bar Association, National Bar Association Life Member, The Florida Bar, Former President of The National Bar Association, and Former President of the Broward County Bar Association. Presently, Allen proudly serves as Chair of the OIC of Broward County.

Throughout his career Allen has received numerous awards for his professional achievements and civic contributions. The University of Florida Levin College of Law, Black students named their bar association, “The W. George Allen Black Student Bar Association.” In May of 2000, Allen was presented the University of Florida Distinguished Alumnus Award and the National Conference for Community and Justice Silver Medallion Award in 2001. In July of 2003, he was inducted into the National Bar Association’s Hall of Fame. Allen also received the Honored Founder of the City of Fort Lauderdale Award in 2004. In February of 2005, Allen was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees.

February 28, 2018

Senator Arthenia L. Joyner 

Arthenia JoynerSenator Arthenia Joyner has spent her life standing up for what she believes and paving the way for others. Born in Lakeland, Florida and reared in Tampa, she grew up in a time of segregation and has always been determined to end it. That commitment began in high school, where she began her protests against racial discrimination, and continued at college, when she was arrested twice during protest marches. Later, as President of the National Bar Association, it was a protest against apartheid in South Africa outside of that country’s embassy that led to her incarceration once again in Washington, D.C. As a state lawmaker, Senator Joyner continued her struggle for equality, passing legislation requiring the state to compensate wrongfully incarcerated persons, the unshackling of pregnant female inmates when giving birth, and prohibiting the mutilation of female genitals. She was also at the forefront of the drive to restore civil rights for ex-felons, and held ongoing workshops for those who needed assistance navigating the often-difficult process.

A graduate of Florida A&M University’s College of Law, she was Florida’s fifth black woman lawyer, the first black female lawyer in Hillsborough County, the first black lawyer in Polk County and the first black female lawyer in the Florida Senate. Upon her graduation, she could not find anyone willing to hire a black woman lawyer so she hired herself, opening her own successful practice. Joyner has practiced law forty-eight (48) years – longer than any black woman in the history of Florida.

Joyner entered politics in the early ‘70s when she chaired Shirley Chisholm’s presidential campaign, and subsequently chaired Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns and Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 in Tampa, Florida.

Joyner was elected to the Legislature in 2000, first serving in the House of Representatives, followed by the Florida Senate. In 2014, her colleagues elected her to serve as the first black woman to lead the Senate Democratic Caucus. As a senator, Joyner worked to preserve the legacy of Tampa’s historic Central Avenue district, though she is most proud of the millions of dollars procured for her district including the black infant mortality study, the Prodigy program, and the Computer Mentors Program. She has been a champion for women's rights, affordable health care, education, civil rights, and reforming Florida’s criminal justice system.

February 27, 2018

James Gibson 

James GibsonJames Gibson was born in Fort Pierce in 1938. He is well known as one of the original and first Florida Highwaymen artists to paint Florida landscapes and sell his paintings from the trunk his car in the 1950s. His paintings became so popular and in such high demand that he no longer needed to sell them along the highway. His love of art started at an early age, however, at age 18 he began to make frames for “Beanie” Backus, enabling him to observe lessons the artist was teaching. Gibson left Fort Pierce to study Biology at Tennessee State University for three years until he was no longer able afford tuition. He then returned to Fort Pierce and began painting professionally with Hair.

It was in his early 20s that Gibson started making money from his paintings and decided to make it his life’s work. Celebraed for his vivid landscapes and pastoral scenes of a disappearing Florida, he was commissioned by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2002 to produce paintings that still hang in the Florida Capitol to this day. James Gibson was known for painting dramatic landscapes that feature billowing clouds and have a fantasy bent. James Gibson paintings use extremes of color throughout, and thick layers of paint to achieve a three-dimensional look.

Among his many awards is the 2005 Florida Ambassador Art Award. His work was displayed in the Florida Supreme Court in 2000 and 2003. His patrons include former Governor Jeb Bush, and former U.S. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey. He has also created an ornament for the White House Christmas tree and several of his paintings have been shown in the White House collection. Two of his brilliant landscapes were featured in Steven Spielberg’s film, Catch Me If You Can. His beach scenes with windblown palm trees were perfectly placed on the wall of a 1960s Florida motel room. James Gibson died on August 15, 2017.

February 26, 2018

Dr. Arnett Elyus Girardeau, Sr. 

Dr. Arnett Girardeau, Sr. was born to English Girardeau Sr. and Annette Limbric Girardeau in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the youngest of six children.

Dr. Girardeau attended Duval County public schools graduating from Stanton High School in 1947. He received his undergraduate degree from Howard University and also graduated from Howard University School of Dentistry. Arnett and Carolyn Lee were married August 27, 1966 in Raleigh, North Carolina. They celebrated 51 years of marriage August 2017.

As a young boy, Dr. Girardeau enjoyed participating in youth activities at Ebenezer, and he considered earning the rank of Eagle Scout with four fellow Black Eagle Scouts at Ebenezer as one of his proudest moments. Arnett Elyus Girardeau’s life has been one of commitment and service to the Jacksonville community. He was a participant in the 1960 sit-in demonstrations that led to Ax Handle Saturday. Dr. Girardeau was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1976, where he served as a member of the Corrections Committee, and as the chairman of the Justice Model and Correctional System Subcommittee. He was one of the founding members of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, serving as both vice-chairman and chairman. Dr. Girardeau was elected to the Florida Senate in 1982 as Florida’s first Black senator since Reconstruction. In 1989 Senator Girardeau became the first Black person to serve as pro tempore of the Florida Senate.

Nothing exemplifies Dr. Girardeau’s commitment to his community, as well as his devotion to historical fair play and integrity, more than his work to ensure that Blacks in north Florida and south Florida would have the opportunity to elect a Black to the U.S. Congress in 1992. 

After months of work and after that work had withstood several challenges, the court and the Department of Justice approved new lines for Congressional District Three. Arnett E. Girardeau was the architect of the first Congressional seat in Jacksonville, and a seat in South Florida to which it would be possible for a Black person to be elected.

Dr. Girardeau’s community service is equally trailblazing. As a dentist with a successful practice, Dr. Girardeau continued to give to his community. He served on the board of Greater Jacksonville Economic Opportunity, Inc., Jacksonville’s anti-poverty program. He organized several community-based organizations in Jacksonville, including the Black Community Coalition, which, as its name implies, was an alliance of community-based organizations who joined together to fight discrimination and support efforts for civil and political change in Jacksonville and the Black community. Over the years, Dr. Girardeau served as vice-president of the Jacksonville branch of the NAACP, president of the Community Urban Development Council, president and vice-president of United Jacksonville, a member of the Jacksonville Housing Authority, a member of the Citizens Against Crime steering committee, president of the Black Community Coalition, a member of the 1969 Mayor’s Task Force on East Jacksonville Civil Disorder, and a founding member of the Jacksonville Home Town Plan Advisory Committee.

In recognition of his life of Community work and Civil Rights Activism, Dr. Girardeau was inducted into the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame on June 7, 2017. He died on October 26, 2017.

February 23, 2018

General Daniel “ Chappie” James, Jr. 

Daniel “Chappie” James, an alumni of the famous Tuskegee Institute, was the first African-American four-star general in the U.S. Air Force.

Daniel James Jr. was born on February 11, 1920, in Pensacola, Florida. Daniel James was the first African American to become a four-star general in the U.S. Air Force. He graduated from high school in 1937 and went on to college at the Tuskegee Institute, a famous African-American school.

During college, James, nicknamed "Chappie," became interested in flying and became a pilot through the Civilian Pilot Training Program. After completing the program, he stayed on as an instructor. Facing many obstacles, including the racial prejudices of the times, James fought for a place at military flight school. Passing the required tests with ease, he completed his training in 1943. During World War II, he served primarily as an instructor, teaching other African Americans in the 99th Pursuit Squadron.

It was during the Korean War that James began flying combat missions — more than 100 in all, receiving the Distinguished Service Medal. James also served in the Vietnam War and flew more than 75 missions during that conflict. In 1970, he became the assistant deputy secretary of defense in the area of public affairs.

Over the course of his career, James was promoted several times, finally becoming a four-star general in 1975. Along this promotion came even greater responsibilities. James was made the commander of NORAD/ADCOM at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. In this position, he oversaw air defense forces for the United States and Canada. In his last post, he served as a special assistant to the chief of staff.

Daniel James Jr. retired in 1978. He died on February 25 of that same year, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A trailblazer with a career that spanned three wars, Daniel James Jr. stands as an example of military grace and professionalism. He is remembered for once stating, "Nobody dislikes war more than warriors." During his lifetime, he received many military and social honors, including the George Washington Freedom Foundation Medal in 1967 and in 1968.

February 22, 2018

Felecia Hatcher 

Felecia Hatcher is on a mission to rid communities of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems as the Co-Founder of Code Fever, Black Tech Week and Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab. Code Fever is an initiative that connects minority led startup founders to capital through their VC in Residence program, tech skills training for African American and Caribbean youth and young adults in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship through full stack development coding boot camps, in school programs and an annual week long emerging technology summit called BlackTech Week, and in 2018 launch Tribe Co-Work and Urban Innovation Lab to provide innovation hubs in Black Communities. Hatcher has raised over 3 million dollars to support Code Fever's work which sits at the intersection of economic development and inclusive innovation.

As an Author, Social Entrepreneur and the former “Chief Popsicle” of Feverish Ice Cream, Hatcher was named one of the Empact 100 Top 100 Entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by the White House and Kauffman Foundation in 2011, a 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity, Ruth Shack Honoree, 2017 Comcast/Nationswell Tech Impact Allstar, a Black Enterprise 2017 TechConnext Game Changer and 2016 Innovator of the Week, Essence Magazine Tech Master, and featured on the NBC Today Show, MSNBC, FORBES, INC, The Cooking Channel, & Grio’s 100 African American’s Making History.

For 7 years, Felecia ran Feverish Pops, a Miami based gourmet popsicle manufacturing company with clients like Google, Airbnb, Paypal, Cadillac, Adidas, and Wholefoods. The VC backed company had a huge social mission and donated to build community programs, which is where Code Fever was launched in 2012. Before launching Feverish and Code Fever, Hatcher worked as a marketing manager at experiential marketing agencies for technology and gaming companies Sony, Nintendo, Wells Fargo 2nd Life Video game as well as the NBA as the front office Marketing Manager with the Timberwolves/Lynx during its championship winning year. A globally sought after keynote speaker presenting engaging talks at Walmart HQ, Google London, United Nations, White House Young America Series, Girl Scouts of America, SXSW, Coca Cola HQ, FBLA, DECA, Knight Foundation, TEDxJamaica and countless startup events, colleges and universities.

Hatcher is also the author of 5 books: Start your Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget, Focused, Become an Epic Expert, PopPreneurs and the C Students Guide to Scholarships.

February 21, 2018

Dr. Paulette C. Walker 

Dr. Paulette C. Walker is the 25th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Initiated into the Sorority through the Epsilon Epsilon Chapter of Michigan State University in October 1966, Dr. Walker has shown an uncompromising commitment to service for over 50 years. She has served the Sorority on the local, regional, and national levels, gaining the respect and admiration of the membership. Dr. Walker is known as a visionary and a dedicated leader.

Dr. Walker is an educator in every sense of the word. In July 2011, she retired as the director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida. Dr. Walker’s research agenda focused on curriculum and instruction as well as administration and supervision issues in urban schools. She has shared her research and expertise during presentations at local, regional and national conferences, university and college campuses, and school districts. Dr. Walker is the co-author of the book, “We Can Have Better Urban Schools.” Also, she has served as a classroom teacher, middle school and high school counselor, director of counseling, assistant principal and districtwide supervisor of state/federal projects.

Dr. Walker received her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics education from Michigan State University, Master of Arts in guidance and counseling from The University of Michigan, and her Doctor of Education in administration and supervision from The University of Michigan. Dr. Walker’s noteworthy accomplishments have earned her recognition from several professional, civic and religious organizations. She is the recipient of the Hank Nuwer Anti-Hazing Hero Award; Ronald McNair Scholars Research Mentor Award; Ronald McNair Scholars Role Model Mentor Award; Outstanding Undergraduate Advisor Award from the University of South Florida; Certificate of Merit, Institutional Award, American College Testing Program and National Academic Advising Association; President’s Affirmative Action Award, University of South Florida; Honorary Citizen of the State of Georgia; Admiral of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska; keys to cities; city and state proclamations; certificates of commendation; outstanding service awards and other special honors.

Dr. Walker is an active member of Mt. Olive AME Church in Tampa, Fla., where she serves on the Trustee Board. Her other professional and community affiliations include: Board of Supervisors for Coahoma County (Mississippi); Member of the Council of Presidents – National Pan-Hellenic Council; PACE Center for Girls Advisory Board, Moffitt Cancer Center African American Advisory Board, Mt. Olive Tampa Community Development Center, Mt. Pleasant Charter School Advisory Board, State of Florida – Governor's Commission on African American Affairs, American Cancer Society – Hank Warren Advisory Board, Hillsborough County – Literacy Volunteers of America Board of Directors, American Diabetes Association Board of Directors, Bible-Based Christian Fellowship Academy Board of Directors and Moffitt Cancer Center Community Council Research Board.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” is Dr. Walker’s motto. She believes every person has a special gift that should be shared with the world. As a result, Dr. Walker strives to inspire everyone to find their inner gift by uplifting and empowering each life she touches.

A Detroit native, Dr. Walker has called the Tampa area home since February 1990. She is a widow and the proud mother of two adult sons and twelve grandchildren. Dr. Walker is the only child of Helen and the late Otis Felton. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and sewing.

February 20, 2018

Oswald P. Bronson 

Oswald P. Bronson, Sr., Ph.D., a native of Florida and an alumnus of Bethune-Cookman College, served as the institution’s president for 29 years – from March 18, 1975 until 2004 when he was named president emeritus. Described as "The Dean of Black College & University Presidents" as well as "a key power broker" in Black Higher Education, Dr. Bronson's list of accomplishments, honors and contributions are long and distinguished.

Dr. Bronson graduated from Bethune-Cookman College in 1950 and also earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary. He received a Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in 1965. An ordained United Methodist minister, Dr. Bronson pastored in a number of churches over 16 years. Prior to being named president of Bethune-Cookman College, his first presidency was at The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia (1968-1975). He was its second president and was mentored by its founder, Dr. Harry V. Richardson, who was George Washington Carver's pastor and eulogized Dr. Carver upon his death.

Commitment to academic excellence was the cornerstone of his presidency. With a presidential career spanning almost 40 years between 3 institutions of higher learning, such longevity is almost unheard of in today's higher educational circles. Dr. Bronson is most known for his 29-year presidency at Bethune-Cookman College (now University) from 1975 to 2004. Because of Dr. Bronson, Bethune-Cookman earned a national reputation for excellence in liberal arts education. While there, he doubled the enrollment, boosted its endowment from $1.2 million to $25 million, increased its economic impact on the community to $300 million and raised its operating budget to $45 million. Additionally, under his leadership, major fields of study at Bethune Cookman College increased from 12 to 37. In addition, seven continuing education centers for students began operating throughout the state. His administrative style was marked by genius, yet characterized by warmth, compassion, and approachability - a leadership combination not normally associated with high-powered educational executives.

Dr. Bronson liked to say that he "pastored" Bethune-Cookman College. Barriers between the students and their president were virtually non-existent. Whenever he would walk the campus, students would call out to him and/or run up to him and give him a hug. When his first grandson enrolled at B-CC, the students started calling him "Granddaddy." While his career is marked by legacy of excellence, his greatest source of pride has always been his role as husband, father and grandfather. Dr. Bronson and his wife, Helen, have been married for 65 years. From that union came four children (one deceased). He will long be remembered for his warm smile, as he greeted all he encountered with his usual “Hello, my friend.”

February 19, 2018

Ronald Bethel 

Ronald Bethel was born in Miami, Florida on May 3, 1930. He was the fifth child of the late James Henry Bethel and Marie Gaitor Bethel of Miami, Florida.

Ronald served in the United States Army during the Korean War between 1948 and 1952. During his time in the military, he exemplified his ability to stand out in the crowd when he earned three bronze stars during his combat tenure.

Ronald was always a hard worker, and with the help of his father, he acquired skills in carpentry, architecture, and contracting which established him as the first African American to hold 5 Building Licenses in the State of Florida. One of his most memorable accomplishments was "Ro-Le“-Be Construction, Inc, that was started in 1985. He accomplished his goal to build a company that sustained and created a legacy for his family. In 1955, Ronald married Rosemary Clark and to this union five children were born.

Ronald loved the Lord and made sure he served him daily. Ronald was a member of the Mount Pisgah SDA church in Miami Gardens, in which he, his father and team were instrumental with helping to build the original church structures. When his father became ill, he assumed the responsibility of officiating and conducting business as the First Elder of the church.

February 16, 2018

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Norma Robinson 

Retired to Florida from New York in 1997. Settled in Sulphur Springs. As members of the Sulphur Springs Action League [SSAL] became community advocates, promoting and encouraging redevelopment, restoration, and a safe and healthy environment for the Sulphur Springs community.

Joseph served as President of City of Tampa Enterprise Zone Board, is THAN [Tampa Homeowners and Association of Neighborhoods] representative, President of SSAL and Sulphur Springs Alliance, served on CDBG Board, CDC of Tampa, Sulphur Springs Weed and Seed Grant representative, Boy Scouts “Trailblazers” District Commissioner.

Norma served a secretary of SSAL, managed teen programs in the community, Cub Master Boys Scouts, tutor for PCAT in Sulphur Springs [Parents and Children Achieve Together], participant in 1st Mayor’s Neighborhood University.

Founded the Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center. Joseph is President and Norma is Director. Its mission is to preserve the history of Sulphur Springs, a community which helped shape Tampa, Florida.

Both are members of Bible-Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace.

February 15, 2018

Rev. Watson L. Haynes, II 

Rev. Watson L. Haynes II, President & CEO of the Pinellas County Urban League, successfully manages the agency’s long/short-range strategic planning, fiscal management and fundraising activities. Rev. Haynes maintains knowledge of national and local issues, constituent problems and transforms needs into programming and service efforts. The agency serves as the Change Agent to address generational poverty with the major focus areas of Economic Development, Housing, Education and Health Initiatives. Rev. Haynes provides fiscal and programmatic activities and develops and expands linkages with the community with emphasis on business, labor and industry to facilitate the mission of the Urban League. The service areas of the Pinellas County Urban League include 24 municipalities in Pinellas County, the Tampa Bay area and Marion, Hernando, Sumter, Lake, Seminole and Pasco counties.

Rev. Haynes is a popular public speaker, consultant and trainer in governmental and non-profit operations and education. He served as the Education and Community Outreach Project Coordinator, Academic and Student Affairs, St. Petersburg College and a retired employee of the Florida Department of Labor.

Rev. Haynes was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (a water policy taxing authority covering 16 counties serving 3.5 million residents). As a member of the Governing Board, he also served as Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee, Diversity Chairman and representative of the Board on the Green Industry Advisory Committee. He also served as co-chair ex-officio for the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board and as the District representative on the Governing Board of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

He was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to the Florida Commission on Human Relations, and was re-appointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2011. He represented the commission as a member of the Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI) Florida Regional Community Policing Institute and served on the majority of the discrimination case review panels.

Over the past 30 years, Rev. Haynes has held positions on numerous governmental boards and commissions including Chair of the Charter Review Commission, Chair of the Social Action Funding Committee, Chair of the Pinellas Community Foundation and Trustee on the Gulf Coast Legal Services Community Law Program. He is a past member of the Charitable Solicitations Board. He was appointed by the Pinellas County Commission as a member of the Health Facilities Finance Authority and the Social Action and Mental Health Funding Advisory Board, member of the Pinellas County Transit Alternatives Stakeholder Committee for Economic Development. He serves on the Board of Directors of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce where he was recently appointed by the Chamber to act a liaison with Chamber members with businesses in Southern Pinellas County. He is a member of the Pinellas Education Foundation P4PS Committee (Parents for Pinellas Students) and is a member of the Board of AMI (Associated Marine Institute) Kids and Founding member and former Chair of COQEBS (Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students).

Rev. Haynes holds a Master of Science Degree in Management (Managerial Leadership) from National Louis University - Tampa Campus, a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Eckerd College where he served as a member of the President's Advisory Council and is a graduate of the Eckerd College Leadership Development Institute. He has an Associate in Arts Degree from St. Petersburg College where, in 2007, he was recognized as an outstanding Alumnus and more recently in 2012 was honored by the College and its Board of Trustees for outstanding service to the College and community. He received an AA degree in Theology from the Florida Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida and was the first African American elected Senior Class President at St. Petersburg High School. He is the Co-Chaplain for the Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and an Associate Minister at New Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

February 14, 2018

Dr. Eva Curry Boseman Wanton 

Dr. Eva Curry Boseman Wanton, former Florida A & M University educator and administrator, was a trailblazing local, national and international African American icon in the areas of civic outreach and higher education.

Dr. Wanton was born in Thunderbolt, Georgia, on June 6, 1935, to the late Willie and Lillie Curry and was the youngest of six siblings. She was educated in the public schools of Savannah, Georgia, and New York City, where she graduated from Seward Park High School. She first made history by becoming the first female president of the Student Government Association at Savannah State College (University). She subsequently received a BS degree with honors in Spanish; the MA and PhD degrees in Spanish language and literature from International University in Mexico and Spain; a second PhD in Educational Leadership from Florida State University; and completed further studies at Harvard University.

In 1964, Dr. Wanton began a career spanning more than 40 years at Florida A & M University. She began as a Spanish instructor and held a number of administrative positions, including being appointed as the founding Dean of the School of General Studies; Vice President of Academic Affairs for International Studies and Special Assistant to the University President. She was the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, most notably the Fulbright Summer Research Study Abroad Program in San Paolo, Salvador de Baton and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She coordinated this venture for the United States Department of Education, Florida A&M University and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She was also a notable international lecturer, presenting research papers to the global academic community.

A member of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, she served as the director of Africare Ministries. In 2015, the Dr. Eva C. Wanton Library was built in Accra, Ghana, West Africa in honor of her significant contributions to education in the region. Dr. Wanton was a member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and served two terms as National President. She also held memberships in numerous organizations including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Leon County Chapter of the Charmettes, Inc., the Red Hatters and was on the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Tallahassee. While she was preceded in death by her husband of many years, Albert E. Wanton, a fellow educator and former principal of schools in Leon and Gadsden counties, and daughter Debra Mitchell, she has left an indelible mark that is forever cherished across the communities in which she served. Most importantly, she left a significant legacy in the lives of her three loving daughters, siblings and grandchildren who have followed in the footsteps of their beloved “Birdie”.

February 13, 2018

Wilbert Theodore “Tee” Holloway 

Wilbert “Tee” Holloway has worked arduously to improve the quality of lives for all the citizens of the state of Florida. He is credited as one of the creators of the AT&T Black History Month calendar, and served the South Florida community as an executive with the company for more than three decades before his retirement in 2015.  He is also celebrated for having had a longstanding career of public service, most recently as a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board, and previously served as State Representative for District 103. He is a proud Democrat and served as Chair of the Florida Conference of Black Legislature. Wilbert has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors such as: Doctors of Human Letter from Florida Memorial College; United Way of Dade County Volunteer of the Year, and Bethune Cookman College Distinguished Alumni, to name a few.

Wilbert received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bethune – Cookman college in 1970, where he also became a member of the Alpha Phi Omega and Omega Psi Phi fraternities. Additionally, he also attended Harvard University‘s State and Local Government Executive Program in 2003. A native of Miami, Florida, Wilbert is a loving husband to his wife Linda, and proud father of four sons - Dewayne, David, Diron and Royce.