Olive B. McLin was an educator for more than 40 years, community activist, cultural arbitrator, and accomplished pianist
By Gwendolyn Reese
I AM Morris W. Milton, attorney and political activist. I worked tirelessly to repeal the “fleeing felon” law, which allowed the police to shoot an unarmed running person in the back, even if there was not a life-threatening situation and also in seeking relief from police brutality.
My most significant achievement was the creation of single-member districts that allowed candidates to be elected from their own district rather than the entire community. This led to the election of the first African American from Pinellas County to the Florida State Legislature. The post office on 16th Street is named in my honor.
I represented District 55 in the House of Representatives for 11 years. In 1993, Governor Lawton Chiles appointed me as State Commissioner of Education. I was the first African American to hold this position. I also served as State Secretary of the Department of Labor from 1995-98.
The Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Elementary School is named in my honor.
I AM Olive B. McLin, educator, community activist, cultural arbitrator, and accomplished pianist. As a teacher of English and literature for over 40 years, my influence extended to more than three generations of St. Petersburg students. I founded the acclaimed St. Cecelia Choir, the first choral group at Gibbs High School in 1932. This group won distinction and honors for their performance on the local, district and state levels.
I served as president of the Metropolitan Council of the National Council of Negro Women and was a founder of the Greater St. Petersburg Council on Human Relations. I was always at the forefront for the great equalization fight and was one of the crusaders for equal salaries for black and white teachers. The Black Box Theatre at Gibbs High School bears my name as does the Olive B. McLin Community History Project at USFSP and Operation PAR’s Olive B. McLin Center.
I AM Lew Williams, teacher, administrator and school board member. I came to Pinellas County in 1970. My first job was as a social studies teacher at Dunedin Middle. In the next 35 years, I went on to teach and lead schools at every level.
I also worked as the district’s director of school operations, was an associate superintendent for pupil assignment and retired as a regional superintendent in 2005. In 2010, I was elected to the District 7 seat on the Pinellas County School Board.
The Lew Williams Center for Early Learning bears my name.
I AM Chester James Sr., minister and community activist. I came to St. Petersburg in 1911 and worked tirelessly for people for decades. On the civil rights front, I campaigned to register voters. President Lyndon Johnson honored me for registering a thousand voters. In 1968 at the age of 84, I marched with the sanitation workers when they went on strike for better wages.
My life exemplified concern, dedication, service and integrity so much so that the city council changed the name of Methodist Town to Jamestown when redevelopment work began there in 1974 and named me its unofficial mayor. The Jamestown Townhouse and Apartment Complex is named in my honor.