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Six more Tampa pioneers to be honored on Riverwalk

TAMPA — They represent what Mayor Bob Buckhorn describes as "the great paella that we call Tampa."

Two were black businessmen who insured, informed and inspired their community. Two founded leading law firms and did a lot more. One was a progressive who, one mayor had said, "would not be denied." And one was an early integrationist who rallied to Jose Marti's fight for Cuban independence.

On Tuesday, the nonprofit Friends of the Riverwalk announced the next six Tampa trailblazers to be honored with a bronze and marble bust along the trail.

They are Florida Sentinel Bulletin publisher C. Blythe Andrews, Fowler White's Cody Fowler, activist and author Kate Jackson, Holland & Knight's Peter O. Knight, Cuban independence leader Paulina Pedroso and insurance executive and philanthropist G.D. Rogers.

"The foundation of the city," said Steven Anderson, vice president of the nonprofit Friends of the Riverwalk. "Leaders, most of them without ever being elected. They inspired others and gave them hope. They stood their ground on just, maybe unpopular, causes."

To qualify, each had to have lived here, left a significant, positive legacy and been dead for at least 15 years.

A committee of local historians, authors and scholars made the selections.

The Friends already has raised nearly $17,000 to cast each monument, plus additional money to light and maintain them.

It plans to unveil the busts in December.

Last year, the first six honorees were named and over time the nonprofit aims to honor at least 30 to 35 people who made contributions and connections that endure, even generations later.

On Tuesday, James Ransom was taking some family photos next to a sketch of Rogers, his grandfather, when a young man approached to say hello.

"Hey," Ransom said to Peter A. Knight, the great-grandson of Peter O. Knight. "How are you doing? Good to see you. Congratulations."

"Oh, yeah. Same to you," Knight said. "Good company."

"Thank you," Ransom said. "Very good company."