2024 Black History Icons
The city partnered with the Midtown fourth year. Banners feature local Black pioneers and are displayed on International Speedway Boulevard between Nova Road and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Dr. Norwaird Biggins
|Dr. Norwaird Biggins, in partnership with Dr. Stimon Meeks, established Biggins and Meeks Pharmacy in 1952 in the predominantly Black community of Daytona Beach, located on what was then Second Avenue, now known as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. Both doctors were early members of the NAACP in Daytona Beach. Their pharmacy became a community cornerstone, supporting youth sports and contributing to various community initiatives.
|Mrs. Brinkley played an active role in Daytona Beach and Volusia County. She served as vice-chair of the Democratic Party for many years. Known for canvassing neighborhoods to recruit volunteers for voter registration, Brinkley's efforts led to thousands of registrations, marking one of the most aggressive voter registration campaigns in minority communities. She was a lifetime member of the NAACP.
Edwin “Ed” Charles
Edwin Douglas Charles was born in Daytona Beach on April 29, 1933, during an era of racial segregation. As a teenager, he was inspired by seeing Jackie Robinson in Daytona Beach with the Montreal Royals during spring training in 1946. Robinson was on the cusp of becoming the 20th century's first Black player in Major League Baseball. Charles, who played for the Kansas City Royals and was later traded to the New York Mets, was the starting third baseman for the World Series-winning Mets in 1969. He ended his MLB career with a .263 batting average, 86 home runs, and 421 RBIs. Charles was portrayed in the Jackie Robinson biopic "42," which starred Chadwick Boseman.
Charles W. “Chuck” Cherry, II
|Charles W. Cherry II, a prominent civil rights activist and advocate for economic equality and social justice, made significant contributions as the publisher of the Daytona Times and the Florida Courier. These publications gave a voice to communities of color on issues often overlooked by mainstream media. An accomplished author, Cherry penned the bestselling books "Excellence Without Excuse: The Black Student's Guide to Academic Excellence" and co-authored "Fighting Through the Fear - My Journey of Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse" with his college roommate. He was notably among the first Black students to graduate from the University of Florida with both a Juris Doctor and a Master of Business Administration degree. Additionally, Cherry co-founded Tama Broadcasting, Inc., once one of the largest privately-owned Black radio groups in America, which managed eleven radio stations.
Dr. Neill O. Crosslin
|Dr. Neill O. Crosslin, a respected figure in Daytona Beach, was known for providing high-quality medical care to the community in the 1940s. He notably opened one of the first healthcare centers in Midtown, extending essential medical services to an underserved area. A member of the National Medical Association and the American Legion Post 204, Dr. Crosslin also distinguished himself as a World War II Army veteran. His contributions to the medical field and his active involvement in these organizations reflect his dedication to both his community and country. Dr. Crosslin's legacy as a pioneer in healthcare and a committed civic leader continues to be celebrated in Daytona Beach
Lucius Henry Davis
|Lucius Henry Davis, born in Adel, Georgia, to Reverend and Ms. John Henry Davis, served as an Army First Sergeant from 1943 to 1946, earning an honorable discharge. At Bethune-Cookman College (B-CC), he was a prominent student leader, serving as President of the Student Government Association and a founding member of the Delta Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He graduated from B-CC in 1949 with an associate degree in electricity and later earned a bachelor's degree in business education in 1951. Between 1952 and 1957, Davis worked at B-CC as the General Alumni Secretary and Director of Public Relations. He then spent nearly two decades in the private sector, including a stint as a bookkeeper foreman for Adams Construction Company and as a self-employed individual. Returning to B-CC in 1976, he was appointed Dean of Men and, in 1982, also took on the role of Director of Housing. In recognition of his contributions, a lounge in the Oswald P. Brunson Male Residence Hall was named in his honor. Davis was also actively involved in his church, serving as Sunday School Superintendent and a member of the Board of Deacons at Mt. Bethel Institutional Church.
Horace E. Hill, Esquire
|Attorney Hill, a native of Clearwater, Florida, attended Bethune-Cookman College and later served in the U.S. Army. He joined the Florida bar in 1948 and, upon returning to Daytona Beach, practiced law and served as an attorney for the NAACP. Hill also taught business courses at Bethune-Cookman College. Notably, he represented hundreds of civil rights cases throughout Central Florida, including leading the legal defense for Virgil Hawkins, a graduate student who applied to Florida State University's law school. Hill's work is recognized in several books, including "Before His Time," which details the story of Harry T. Moore, and "Devil in the Grove." He also collaborated closely with then NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall in the Groveland Boys case, involving four Black men falsely accused of raping a white woman.
Harold V. Lucas Sr.
|Harold V. Lucas Sr., originally from New York and a New York University alumnus, was working as a stenographer in New York City's Woolworth Building when his brother, Clarence Lucas, recommended him to Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to establish the first accounting system at Bethune-Cookman College. Lucas moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1920, settling in Midway (now Midtown), a prominent area for Black residents offering a safe community for shopping, worship, socializing, and family life. This relocation, primarily due to health issues stemming from a car accident, did not hinder his professional ambitions. At Bethune-Cookman College, Lucas developed and maintained the school-wide accounting system and served as Dr. Bethune's corresponding secretary. Additionally, he contributed to the Midtown community by running two home-based businesses: a printing business and business classes where he taught typing and shorthand to both community members and B-CC students. Dr. Bethune, recognizing the success of these classes, commissioned Lucas to teach them at the college, leading to the foundation of the business department. Lucas served in various faculty and administration roles for 34 years and also taught business classes at Campbell Street High School, the city's only Black high school.
Dr. Stimon Meeks
|Dr. Stimon Meeks and Dr. Norwaird Biggins opened Biggins and Meeks Pharmacy in 1952 on Second Avenue, now Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., in Daytona Beach's Black community. As early NAACP members in Daytona Beach, they established the pharmacy as a community cornerstone. Beyond providing medical services, the pharmacy supported youth sports and contributed to various community initiatives.
Freddye Clay Moore
Freddye Clay Moore, a trailblazer in Daytona Beach, Florida, made significant strides as the first Black woman elected to both the Daytona Beach City Commission in 1984 and as the Volusia County Council Chairperson. Her educational journey began with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Tougaloo College, Mississippi in 1949, followed by a Master of Science degree in Education from Stetson University in 1978. Moore's dedication to education was evident in her role as an administrator in Volusia County Schools. She was a committed member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the National Council of Negro Women, reflecting her deep engagement in community service and advocacy. Moore's tenure as an elected official and her contributions to education and community work marked her as a significant figure in her community.
John. R. Parnell, MD.
Dr. John R. Parnell, born on March 17, 1931, in Daytona Beach, Florida, distinguished himself both academically and in service to his country. A 1949 graduate of Campbell Street School, he later served in the United States Army. Dr. Parnell pursued higher education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, before earning his Medical Degree from Meharry School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. Returning to Daytona Beach in 1965, he established a medical practice and in 1980 built his office on Orange Avenue, notably on the site of his childhood home. His unwavering commitment to community health care continued uninterrupted, including tenures on staff at Halifax Medical Center, Advent Health Daytona, and as a campus physician at Bethune-Cookman University under President Oswald Bronson. Dr. Parnell is also a life member of the Daytona Beach NAACP.
William D. Prince
|William D. Prince, initially a mathematics professor at Morehouse College and other institutions, eventually returned to Florida to teach at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville. He was later recruited by the Volusia County School system to teach advanced mathematics courses at Daytona High School (later renamed Campbell Street High School), contributing significantly to the school's curriculum development. His efforts in adding 11th and 12th grades to the curriculum were crucial for enabling Black students to attend college during the era of segregation in the United States. In 1928, Prince organized the school's first football team, known as the Centipedes, a name that persisted until the school's closure in 1969 due to integration. Under his administration in 1931, the school was renamed to Campbell Street High School. Prince was also a founding member of the Volusia County NAACP, established in 1933 in Daytona Beach.
|Ralph Robinson, revered for his significant contributions to the Black community, served as a custodian in the Volusia County School System, primarily at Campbell Elementary School. More than just a custodian, Robinson was one of only three Black men at the school, alongside Principal John H. Dickerson and fifth-grade teacher Mr. Daniel Goodman. He earned equal respect and admiration from both students and faculty, a testament to his influence. Beyond his school duties, Robinson was a mentor, youth basketball coach, community activist, and a lifelong NAACP member, serving as personal security for the branch president in Volusia County - Daytona Beach. He co-founded the Neighborhood Basketball Association (NBA), dedicating himself to coaching and mentoring hundreds of young Black males with Christian values and positive reinforcement, significantly impacting their lives and community contributions. His work extended to the New Smyrna Beach community as well. A testament to his enduring legacy, the gymnasium at the Dickerson Community Center, where he worked and mentored, was named in his honor by The Daytona Beach City Commission in 2002. Robinson was also a lifelong member of Mt. Bethel Baptist Institutional Church
Samuel O. Rogers
|Samuel O. Rogers, born in Daytona Beach, was a distinguished graduate of Campbell Senior High School and Bethune-Cookman College (now University), class of 1957. He furthered his education with a counseling degree from the University of Miami and served in the U.S. Army. A visionary leader, educator, counselor, administrator, and civil rights activist, Rogers had a successful career in higher education and public service. He spent a significant part of his life working in various capacities in Miami, Florida, and post-retirement, he returned to Daytona Beach to actively engage in community service. He served on multiple boards in Daytona Beach and was a devoted life member of the Daytona Beach NAACP, contributing over two decades to the Executive Committee and serving as 2nd Vice President. Rogers also volunteered in areas like education, legal redress, civic engagement, health, and veterans affairs. Additionally, he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
|Nettie Ryan, a Bethune-Cookman College graduate with a degree in Library Science and English, served as a substitute teacher in New Smyrna Beach and Leesburg, Florida, before becoming a full-time teacher and librarian at Turie T. Small Elementary, Campbell Junior High, and Holly Hill Junior High. Despite retiring in 1980 at 55 due to health concerns, she remained active, running a childcare facility from her home and engaging in community service. Passionate about art, history, music, and the spoken word, Ryan was known for her wisdom and advice, particularly to children. She also assisted with various academic, civic, and social writing projects. Known for her compassion and warm spirit, Ryan enjoyed engaging with others and was active in many community segments. Her volunteer work included serving in the Palm Terrace Elementary library, as a Guardian Ad Litem, and with Agape Christian Ministries. She was involved with several organizations including the Community Development Board, Rape Crisis Center Task Force, Friends of the John H. Dickerson Heritage Library, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and supported the Layla S. Ryan Memorial Scholarship at the University of Illinois, Champaign. President Obama recognized her for her service, and she was named a Hometown Hero by Daytona Beach. Ryan was also an active supporter of New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Hope Fellowship Church, including its food pantry.
Peggy H. Wesley
|Peggy H. Wesley, born in Tampa, Florida, and raised in Jacksonville, graduated from Stanton High School before earning her Bachelor of Science from Hampton University and a Master of Education from Ohio State University. Her career in education included brief stints at Bethune-Cookman College and Florida A&M University, followed by a long tenure with the Volusia County School System starting in 1956 as a teacher at Bonner Elementary School. She progressed to Supervisor of Elementary Education in 1971 and then to Director of Elementary Education within the Division of Instruction in 1978. In 1985, Wesley became Area Director, a position she held until her retirement in 1986. An active member of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Wesley was also involved in various professional organizations including FASCD, ACE, NEA-FTP, Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity, ASCD, and was a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She contributed to her community by serving on the City of Daytona Beach Beautification Board.
Janice Marie Wilson
|Janice Marie Wilson, a devoted wife, mother, teacher, and servant of the Lord, was born in Daytona Beach and raised in Gifford, Florida. She graduated from Bethune-Cookman University in 1980 and subsequently made Daytona Beach her permanent home with her husband, Rufus L. Wilson Sr. An active member of New Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church's Mass Choir, Wilson also served as Basileus (President) of the Beta Iota Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated and was a life member of the BCU National Alumni Association, where she held the role of Secretary. A respected educator for over 30 years, Wilson taught at Spruce Creek High School, Atlantic High School, Silver Sands Middle School, and Mainland High School. Alongside her husband, she dedicated time to mentoring teens and young adults, guiding them toward academic success and fruitful careers.
Judge Freddie J. Worthen
|Judge Freddie J. Worthen, born on November 7, 1934, in Seville, Florida, was a notable figure in the legal community. A graduate of Euclid High School in DeLand at just fourteen and Florida A&M University at eighteen with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Worthen went on to have a distinguished 22-year career in the U.S. Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He then pursued law at Howard University, earning his Juris Doctor and transitioning to a legal career in the mid-1940s. Worthen worked in private practice and as a State Prosecutor in Volusia County before his appointment as a judge in 1989 by Governor Martinez, a position he held until 2005. He was actively involved with V.F.W. Post #3282, the Navy League, and was a past board member of the Seabreeze Kiwanis, the Knights of Columbus, and V.F.W. Post #1590. His professional affiliations included the Florida Bar and the Conference of County Court Judges.