Civil movement

New Tallahassee MLK story markers display ‘Voices of the Movement’

To honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the City of Tallahassee held a series of 2022 National Day celebrations. One of the highlights was the unveiling by local leaders of “Dream Builders, Voices of the Movement”, three historical markers that depict King’s influence in the capital.

The program took place outside the Frenchtown Heritage Hub, 524 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., the site of one of the markers. A marker is also in place at Levy Park and another along FAMU Way. Interpretive markers tell stories of King’s visits to Tallahassee, local civil rights leaders, and foot soldiers of the civil rights movement.

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Tallahassee is a creative capital that supports a strong community with vibrant neighborhoods. In July 2020, City staff began working with representatives from neighborhoods adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (Levy Park, Frenchtown, Carolina Oaks, and South Bronough St.) to implement small-scale changes to celebrate and beautify the hallway.

The effort was funded by a grant from Keep America Beautiful (KAB) after a nationwide call for projects that improve streets in the country named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Darryl Scott, co-chair of the Frenchtown Community Action Team, has lived in Frenchtown most of her life. Scott served on the committee that recommended the MLK markers. Now 70, Scott was among the students involved in the movement. She was in school at Florida A&M University when King came to campus and spoke to Lee Hall, so the project resonated with her.

Scott says the new improvements are already generating interest because “where the markers are placed, they are very visible to those passing by.” She saw people stop their cars and get out and read the inscriptions. Scott also received phone calls. “My favorite remark is, ‘I didn’t know that. “”

The Frenchtown Heritage Hub historical marker features Reverend CK Steele, his relationship with Dr. King, and his involvement as the head of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in the civil rights movement and the Tallahassee bus boycott. The marker also pays tribute to local infantrymen who provided logistical support.

The historical marker at the corner of Seventh Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. honors the history of the Levy Park neighborhood, the desegregation of Leon County schools, and Dr. King’s advocacy for education.

The historical marker located near FAMU, just south of FAMU Way, celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. and his broader civil rights work across the United States, as well as the activism of local civil rights leaders who have lobbied the Municipal Commission to rename Boulevard Street, Boulevard Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. from Tallahassee. spans 2.37 miles and passes through six historic neighborhoods. Residents who have long lived along the corridor have many stories of Dr. King’s time here. These historical markers installed by the City will continue to tell these stories for years to come.

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