By Frank Drouzas, The Weekly Challenger, Feb. 25, 2016.
(The Weekly Challenger remembers the 50th anniversary of the "Courageous 12," a group of St. Petersburg African-American police officers who sued the city for discrimination. The lawsuit was filed on May 11, 1965 and the officers won the case on appeal in August 1968.)
“In 1965, Jackson, along with black officers Adam Baker, Freddie Crawford, Raymond DeLoach, Charles Holland, Robert Keys, Primus Killen, James King, Johnnie B. Lewis, Horace Nero, Jerry Styles and Nathaniel Wooten filed a landmark lawsuit against the city for discrimination on the (Police) force.
For refusing to accept the status quo, for going head-to-head with the system and for ultimately opening the door of opportunity for future generations of black officers, they came to be known collectively as the courageous 12.”
By Raven Joy Shonel, The Weekly Challenger, Mar. 31, 2016.
“Bethel Community Baptist Church threw a centennial celebration for Church Mother Leatha Reese, née Ferguson, Sat., March 26. As she strutted into the room, church and family members gathered around to wish her a happy 100th birthday.
Born March 30, 1916, to Will and Minnie Ferguson in Lake City, Fla., she moved to St. Pete the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She married Freeman Reese and had one child that died in childbirth. They lived in Jordan Park and were married for many years until his death.
Although she didn’t raise a child of her own, she mothered hundreds of children in her lifetime. One particular rambunctious child she used to keep was there to help her celebrate this milestone.”
By Raven Joy Shonel, The Weekly Challenger, Apr. 7, 2016.
“Lucy Toms, née Sheppard, was born April 2, 1916, and 100 years later to the day she celebrated her birthday a Chief’s Creole Café surrounded by family and friends.
Born in Colquitt, Ga., she moved to Winter Garden, Fla., before relocating to St. Pete at the age of 17. For years it was just Lucy, her mother Rachel and her son Willie until after World War II when she married the love of her life, Sylvester Toms. They settled into a house on 15th Avenue South and lived together there until his death.
She worked as a maid on the beach in luxury hotels to help support her family during a time when blacks were prohibited to be in the area unless they were working.”
By Frank Drouzas, The Weekly Challenger, Apr. 7, 2016.
“The theme for the evening was Voices of Social Justice & Equality and who better else to give the keynote address than United States Representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, Congressman John Lewis.
Lewis delivered a message of pro-activism. He has long been involved in civil rights activism and is the co-author of the graphic novel 'March,' a first-hand account of his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights.”
By Dexter McCree, The Weekly Challenger, Apr. 7, 2016.
“The hot buttery aroma flowing through the kitchen window was often an indication that Addie Mae Scott had placed kneaded flour dough in the oven.
The scent of Momma Scott’s buttermilk biscuits could be smelled for blocks away and often interrupted the neighborhood football game being played in the street. The smell had a way of distracting even the most beautiful spiral pass landing in the hands of one of the neighborhood boys scoring a touchdown, which was marked by a stop sign.”
By Frank Drouzas, The Weekly Challenger, Apr. 14, 2016.
“It was 69 years ago that Jackie Robinson stepped onto the field to take his position for the Brooklyn Dodgers at first base April 15, 1947. In doing so he broke through baseball’s color barrier, becoming the first African American to play in the modern era of the Major Leagues. A superlative ballplayer, a kind man and a courageous human being, Robinson took those necessary first steps to integrate America’s pastime. Since then, countless African-American players have in turn followed in his footsteps.”
By Indhira Suero Acosta, The Weekly Challenger, Apr. 28, 2016.
"Fifty-one years ago 12 African-American police officers made history when they fought for the right to serve and protect their city. A right no white officer has ever had to fight for. They filed a federal lawsuit to be able to patrol the white neighborhoods, among other demands, and after three years of struggle they were assigned citywide.
Besides putting their jobs at risk with their decision, the men known as the Courageous 12 were also risking their families’ future. Each one of them had wives and kids; they didn’t fight by themselves. Half a century later, four of the Courageous 12’s wives talk about their roles in the struggle and about the events that changed St. Petersburg’s history."
By Raven Joy Shonel, The Weekly Challenger, July 28, 2016.
“In the early part of the twentieth century, the black community in St. Petersburg had its own schools, churches, restaurants and retail stores. Everything a person needed, except a hospital.
Since African Americans were not accepted at the whites-only hospitals, care came from members of the community who had a little medical knowledge. In 1913, the all-white, five-room Good Samaritan Hospital was moved to the south side to service the black community. It was rechristened Mercy Hospital.”
By Laura Mulrooney, The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 24, 2016.
“Known for their legacies and impact on the community Larry Cotton, Dayle Green, Rev. Kenny Irby, Josh Thomas and Denise White received recognition for the years they spent contributing to the community and blazing the trail for journalists in the making.”