ST. PETERSBURG – The Gibbs Class of 1968 held its annual dance last Sat., Dec. 20 at the Coliseum Ballroom in downtown St. Pete. More than 500 people came out to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season and to commemorate more than 39 years of reuniting. Most importantly, the celebration is a constant reminder of how far the struggle for civil rights has evolved.
Gibbs graduates of 1968 were the last segregated class of black high school students in Pinellas County. Being one of the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy were both assassinated setting off a string of riots and protest across the United States. The war in Vietnam had entered one of its most violent periods contrasting with the war protests starting to erupt on college campuses.
This year’s event appears to have come full circle as America once again finds itself facing a crisis around procedures in policing minority communities. However, the abundance of talented, professional, African Americans attending the event provides a glimpse at a brighter future ahead for those who stay the course and fulfill their dream no matter what obstacles challenge them.
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