First inductees to Civil Rights Hall of Fame honored
The first three inductees to the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame were honored Wednesday in ceremonies in the lobby of the state Capitol. Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll were on hand for the event honoring Mary McLeod Bethune, Charles Kenzie Steele and former U.S. Sen. Claude Pepper.
Bethune, of Daytona Beach, who died in 1955, helped found the school that became Bethune Cookman University and was an advocate of integration of the armed forced. Steele, of Tallahassee, died in 1980 and was a preacher and civil rights activist and leader of a bus boycott in Florida's capital city. Pepper, of Perry, died in 1989, was a congressman and U.S. senator and authored federal laws on the minimum wage, equal pay and age discrimination. Scott selected the first three inductees from a list of 10 submitted by the Florida Human Relations Commission.
"This hall of fame and the people it will honor reminds us of our responsibility to stand up to injustice," Scott said.
The Civil Rights Hall of Fame was created in 2010 in legislation sponsored by former Sen. Tony Hill of Jacksonville and Rep. Alan Williams of Tallahassee and signed into law by former Gov. Charlie Crist. The honorees' plaques will be permanently displayed on a wall of the Capitol not far from the security kiosk at the building's entrance.