On September 30, 2013 the Tallahassee/Leon County Civil Rights Heritage Walk was unveiled during an emotional dedication ceremony at City Hall. More than five hundred people filled two rooms to capacity to witness this historical event and listen to the accounts of the ”foot soldiers.” Fifty eight foot soldiers were honored in this sidewalk, with their names being placed within brass footprints.
The sidewalk, consisting of 16 panels was installed on Jefferson Street, right off Monroe St. This corner is the site of the lunch counter sit-ins which took place in the 1960’s. The panels depict the sit-ins, as well as the famous bus boycott which was the second largest boycott in the United States. The image of the bus was taken from an archival photo which prominently shows ’A & M College’ as FAMU was then known. Two of the panels tell the story of these events, others depict protest signs and slogans. The sidewalk incorporates fifty-eight footprints, both mens and women’s, each with a name of a foot soldier being honored.
As these historic events were largely student driven, it’s significant that many current students were able to participate in this large scale project. One of our long term students, Lyrica Peterson was invited to speak at the dedication ceremony, and share the impact that working on this piece, and learning more about this period of our local history had on her. Lyrica stated, ”I’m proud to now be a part of keeping the civil rights movement’s history alive. Everybody who walks here will know the importance of Tallahassee’s involvement in the civil rights movement.”
This was our first permanent installation for the City of Tallahassee as well as our first large scale terrazzo project. Phil Gleason did a wonderful job managing this project. He, along with MCS artists, Charlie Scott-Smith and Chris Horne created this work. It was an honor for us to work with the CRA on this project. Please stop by and view this new addition to our community.