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Honoring Local Black Heroes During Black History Month

Black History Month began as a way of remembering important people and events in 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, 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 year’s honorees have done the exact same.

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, and philanthropist, and by volunteering countless hours to serve 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, businesswoman, 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 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.


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