The 2016 Jacksonville Black History Calendar unveiling was held at the main Library, continued to salute Jacksonville’s history makers past and present honoring local youth and trailblazers. Attendees paid homage to the ancestors by opening with the National Negroe Anthem ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ written by Jacksonville natives James Weldon Johnson and brother John Rosamond Johnson. The program included greetings from Jacksonville Public Library Director Barbra Gubbin and Dr. Brenda R. Simmons-Hutchins, co-creator of the Jacksonville Black History Calendar, who remarked on the 2016 calendar concept and presentation of the 2016 honorees. This year’s calendar theme is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories”. A special presentation was also made honoring Ernest Vickers, Jacksonville’s First African American Burger King Franchisee, the calendars title sponsor for the last twenty years in its 27 year history. Guest also enjoyed entertainment by PM Experience band.
This years calendar profiles black history makers in Jacksonville. Honored Recipients include Ernest Vickers (First owner of a Burger King franchise in Jacksonville), Betty Seabrook-Burney (Former Member of Duval County School Board, Founder of “I’m a Star Foundation”), Carol Alexander (Former Executive Director of the Ritz Theater and Lavilla Museum and curator of the American Beach Museum), Warren Jones (Former President and Member of the Jacksonville City Council; Author of legislation to create the James Weldon Johnson park near the Johnson home on Lee and Houston Streets, Jacksonville, Florida), Lilly Sullivan (Curator of the L. Martin Cultural Heritage Center, Jacksonville Beach, Florida), Earl Sims (Former Director of Operations for the Prime Osborn Center), E. Denise Lee (Former City Council Member and State Representative; provided leadership to clean up and preserve four historic cemeteries in the African American community of Jacksonville), Professor Henry Mack (Musician extraordinaire; known throughout the city as a well-respected pianist, organist and choir director), Anest McCarthy and Errol Schell (Former residents of “Sugar Hill;” surviving children o the late Dr. Warren Wade Schell, local physician and community activist), Rodney Hurst (Former Jacksonville City Councilman; Author of “It was Never About a Hot Dog and a Coke! And Unless We Tell it..It Never Gets Told”), Professor Bettye Sessions (Former Humanities Professor, Florida State College at Jacksonville, author of several collections of poetry and books about local personalities and institution including, “A Charge to Keep I Have,” the story of Brewster Hospital), Charles Ellis (President, Fort Mose Historical Society, Board of Directors), Dr. C.B. McIntosh (Retired Pediatrician; Member Board of Directors for the preservation of Historic Old Stanton) and Professor Camilla Perkins Thompson (Former Chemistry Professor, Florida State College of Jacksonville; Archivist at Bethel Institutional Church and well known historian). The calendars are free and available at Florida State College of Jacksonville, local Burger Kings restaurants and all branches of the Jacksonville Public Library,