3 local civil rights leaders honored
Three men with Northeast Florida ties are the newest members of Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
James Weldon Johnson, A. Philip Randolph and Robert Hayling were selected by Gov. Rick Scott, who praised their work during the Civil Rights Movement.
Johnson, formerly of Jacksonville, was the first African-American admitted to The Florida Bar after the end of Reconstruction. He founded the Daily American, a newspaper committed to reporting on issues pertinent to the black community. In 1920, he became the NAACP’s first African-American secretary. James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School in Jacksonville is named after him.
Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Serving as its president, he sought to gain the union’s official inclusion in the American Federation of Labor. During the 1950s, Randolph served on various labor boards, but he also began to devote his time to civil rights work. In 1957, he organized a prayer pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., to draw attention to civil rights issues in the South. In 1963, he was a key organizer of the March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. A. Philip Randolph Boulevard in Jacksonville is named in his honor.
Hayling, 94, has been hailed as the “father” of St. Augustine’s civil rights movement. He worked in the Civil Rights Movement alongside notable Civil Rights activists, including King. He was presented the highest honor that the City of St. Augustine bestows upon a citizen, “The Order of La Florida” Award. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Florida A & M University Distinguished Alumni Award.