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Bethune, Steele and Pepper Inducted as First Members of Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame
~Inaugural event a great success~
Tallahassee– Three trailblazers who helped shape modern-day Florida were honored today by being enshrined as the first members of the new Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Family members of the three inductees attended the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, joined by Governor Rick Scott, Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll and other dignitaries.
Pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune, civil rights leader C.K. Steele and advocate for seniors and minorities Claude Pepper were recognized for their unyielding commitment to equality, diversity and human dignity. The Civil Rights Hall of Fame, authorized by the Legislature, will be a permanent display in the Rotunda area of the Capitol Building.
“In a state that changes as rapidly as Florida, the struggle for equality and civil rights can seem like ancient history. This Hall of Fame will serve as a permanent reminder of the courage and sacrifices that built today’s Florida,” said Michelle Wilson, executive director of the Florida Commission on Human Relations. “There is still much to be done to honor the legacy of these amazing individuals.”
The Governor and Lieutenant Governor presented commemorative letters to Dr. Evelyn Bethune, granddaughter of Mary McLeod Bethune; Charles Kenzie Steele, son of C.K. Steele, and Ms. Tina Pepper, sister-in-law of Claude Pepper. Also participating in the ceremony were legislative sponsors of the bill establishing the Civil Rights Hall of Fame, including Rep. Alan Williams and former Sen. Tony Hill.
Governor Scott named the first group of Civil Rights Hall of Fame inductees in January. Each year the state’s chief executive will select up to three inductees from among 10 finalists submitted by the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
The Florida Commission on Human Relations will soon begin accepting nominations for the next group of inductees into the Civil Rights Hall of Fame. For more information, go to http://fchr.state.fl.us/outreach/florida_civil_rights_hall_of_fame.