Honoring Local Black Heroes during Black History Month
Black History Month began as a way of remembering important people and events in the African communities across the world. The United States observes this month during February each year, and Winter Haven has built a new tradition by bringing the remembrance close to home.
After the cancelling of key Black History Month events in 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conversations spurred amongst City staff about other ways to commemorate this important celebration. That is when the idea to line the parade route with banners honoring black heroes came to light.
Bringing the Tradition Home
The original banners showcased national heroes from black history such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Aretha Franklin, but Winter Haven has a rich history of local black heroes who have made an impact in the local community. In 2021, a committee was formed to identify and honor local black heroes. The community submitted nominations to the group of community leaders who made up the committee, and four outstanding honorees were selected. Those local heroes each blazed new trails while demonstrating passion, dedication, and empathy or compassion for the community, and this years’ honorees have done the exact same.
2023 Local Black Heroes
Ernestine Mason Davis has made a lasting impact in the community due to her roles as a local, state, and national civil rights leader, community organizer, philanthropist, and by volunteering countless hours to serving on local boards and committees.
The Week of January 30, 2023 will be Ernestine Mason Davis Week in the City of Winter Haven.
Mildred Bennett Foster made her impact in the community through her years as a music teacher, choral coordinator, community activist, business woman, and champion for youth development.
The Week of February 6, 2023 will be Mildred Bennett Foster Week in the City of Winter Haven.
Althea Margaret Daily Mills cemented her place in the history of the community through her work as an advocate for equality in education, a postal manager, and a civil rights leader.
The Week of February 13, 2023 will be Althea Margaret Daily Mills Week in the City of Winter Haven.
Charles R. Richardson Sr. forged a legacy within this community through his work as an educational administrator, City Commissioner, Mayor, County Commissioner, and an all-around public servant.
The Week of February 20, 2023 will be Charles R. Richardson Sr. Week in the City of Winter Haven.
George & Seretha Tinsley together have created a lasting impact within the community due to their shared legacy as business leaders, philanthropists, mentors, and champions for youth development.
The Week of February 27, 2023 will be George & Seretha Tinsley Week in the City of Winter Haven.
Honoring our Heroes
The City of Winter Haven invites our whole community to follow along throughout February and the beginning of March as we share the stories of our honorees. Each week of the month of February has been dedicated to each of the 2023 Local Heroes by way of proclamation from the Mayor of the City of Winter Haven. We look forward to sharing more of each of the heroes’ stories each week.
Continuing the Tradition
Looking forward to 2024, the City of Winter Haven plans to continue this tradition, honoring multiple black heroes each year. One day, the parade route will be lined with local black heroes as the community celebrates the positive impact they’ve had right here at home.