Black History Month


Portraits in Pride: Celebrating Jacksonville's Black History

 Mayor Alvin Brown, The Hon. Mayor Alvin Brown became the first African-American ever elected Mayor of Jacksonville. A trailblazer in his own right, Mayor Brown was elected to office on May 17, 2011 and assumed office on July 1, 2011. Mr. Brown ran on his vision of “taking Jacksonville to the next level” through job creation, Downtown revitalization, and making education and public safety top priorities.
 The Honorable Nathaniel "Nat" Glover, Jr. was the First African American in Duval County and Florida to be Elected Sheriff since Reconstruction. He is currently President of Edward Waters College in Jacksonville. Previously he was Sheriff of Jacksonville from 1995-2003, after serving in the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office since 1996. 
 Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety, II was the First African American Representative of the United States of America to the African Union and Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN Economic Commission of Africa from Jacksonville
Dr. Chester Aikens was a prominent community leader and considered a pillar of the Jacksonville community. Dr. Aikens was instrumental in the integration of the Florida Yacht Club in 1993 after being rejected for membership. A role model of civic engagement and key adviser to local political leaders, Dr. Aikins was a trailblazer and community leader.
Robert Lee "Bullet Bob" Hayes, Robert Lee "Bullet Bob" Hayes, a native son of Jacksonville, was an Olympic sprinter and a wide receiver in the NFL. Bob Hayes was the Florida A&M sprinter that was dubbed "Bullet Bob" for his dominance of the sprints from 60 to 100. Once considered the world's fastest man by virtue of his multiple world records in the 60-yard, 100-yard, 220-yard, and Olympic 100-meter dashes, Hayes is the only man to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl championship. Bob Hayes’s legacy lives on through his vast accomplishments in athletics and the Bob Hayes Invitational Track meet, a focal point for young track and field participants from the southeastern United States.
MaVynee Betsch, locally known as “The Beach Lady” is an environmentalist and an activist who spent most of her adult life educating the public on the black history and environmental importance of American Beach in Nassau County. Founded by the Beach Lady’s great-grandfather, Abraham Lincoln Lewis in 1935, American Beach was the largest and most popular coastal destination for African Americans. In 2002, through much of conservation efforts of the Beach Lady, American Beach is listed as a historic site by the national Register of Historic Places.   


Dr. Norma Solomon White was an educator and leader in the Jacksonville community for over forty years. Dr. White attended Florida A&M University and became the first female member of the famed “Marching 100”. She was also the first Florida resident to become International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Dr. White initiated the sorority’s “On Track” after school program which targeted at-risk students in elementary schools. She has served with distinction on the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund, the Board of Trustees for FAMU, the American Cancer Society and much more.  
Police Officer, Civil Rights activist, businessman, and city Councilman, Frank Hampton Sr. was amicably known as “Jacksonville’s Giant”. In 1953 Mr. Hampton led the fight for the integration of the Jacksonville Police Department. In 1958 Mr. Hampton led the fight to desegregate Florida golf courses. He sued the city after being barred from qualifying for a local tournament. Later, he went on to file legal action to place African-Americans in City and State Government executive positions. For his tireless commitment to leadership and equality Frank Hampton, Sr. will forever be lovingly known as “Jacksonville’s’ Giant”.

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