Each February, persons all across the United States join together 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 the Sunshine State and are found in every field of endeavor, including science, technology, education and social work.
Black History Month is a time to reflect and reminisce upon the sacrifices and hard work of individuals who helped build a better and more tolerant life, both 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 here at home.
Since 2012, the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame, administered by the Florida Commission on Human Relations, has honored individual 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 throughout Florida and for making a great impact on the civil rights movement here 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. Black History Month gives us the opportunity to recognize and shine a light on the many ways African-Americans have enriched Florida's communities, culture and history.
Commissioner Rebecca Steele, Chair, Florida Commission on Human Relations