Each February, people all across the United States join in remembering the full and diverse history of African Americans as we acclaim Black History Month.
The triumphs and accomplishments of African Americans also touch every community across Florida and are found in every field of endeavor, including science, education and social work. Black History Month is a time to reflect and reminisce upon the sacrifices and hard work of those who helped build a better and more tolerant life, present and future, for all of us.
As we acknowledge the many African-American men and women who have helped the United States grow culturally, countless civil rights pioneers in Florida have been equally as important and should be revered as agents of change at home.
Since 2012, the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame, administered by the Florida Commission on Human Relations, has honored Floridians who made great sacrifices and helped foster equality for all in our state. These heroes, such as pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune and civil rights leaders C.K. Steele and Harry T. and Harriette Moore, were recognized for their unyielding commitment to equality, diversity and human dignity.
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Last year, Gov. Rick Scott selected a new class of inductees for the 2016 Hall of Fame: Earl M. Johnson, Jesse McCrary Jr. and Rutledge Henry Pearson. Each of these men was chosen for his commitment to advocating for equality and justice and for making a great impact on the civil rights movement in our state.
Today’s African Americans continue to have much to celebrate and build upon as they honor those who have gone before them. I hope people will take time this month to acknowledge the many accomplishments these noted men and women made for our state and our country.
Rebecca Steele, chair,
Florida Commission on Human Relations, Tallahassee