TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott announced the selection of former Gov. Reubin O’Donovan Askew, Sallye B. Mathis and Edward Daniel Davis to the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Governor Scott chose these three from a list of 10 distinguished nominees selected by the Florida Commission on Human Relations for making significant contributions to the improvement of life for minorities and all citizens of the great State of Florida.

Governor Reubin O’Donovan Askew (1928-2014), formerly of Pensacola, was the 37th Governor of Florida. He was named one of the “Top 50 Floridians of the 20th Century” by the Lakeland Ledger.
As Governor, Askew supported school and busing desegregation and fought for fairer legislative representation in urban counties.

He appointed the first African-American Justice to the State Supreme Court, the first African-American woman to head a state agency, and the first African-American to hold a cabinet level office in Florida.

The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University rated him one of the country’s top ten governors of the 20th century.

Sallye B. Mathis (1912-1982), formerly of Jacksonville, served for 28 years as a teacher in the Duval County Public School System, where she taught elementary school students and history at Matthew Gilbert High School.
Mathis was a civil rights activist and a member of the League of Woman Voters.

Her commitment to the cause of civil rights led the Jacksonville NAACP chapter to name an annual community service award in her honor.

In 1967, she was the first African-American woman elected to the Jacksonville City Council where she fought for reduced bus fares for senior citizens and initiated legislation for a Citizens’ Police Review Board, free public toilets, and equal job opportunities in public agencies.

Her service to Jacksonville was commemorated with the naming of the Sallye B. Mathis Elementary School in her honor.

Edward Daniel Davis (1904-1989), formerly of Orlando, was an author, educator, and businessman who was best known for his unyielding civil rights crusades that helped desegregate the University of Florida, raise the salary of African-American teachers, and increase African-American voter registration.
In 1942, he was fired as head of Howard Academy in Ocala for leading the Florida State Teachers Association in a legal move to obtain equal pay for black instructors.

Additionally, Davis was instrumental in a nine-year fight to open the University of Florida School of Law to minority students.

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He was the founder of the Florida Voter League, president of the Florida State Teachers Association, and served two terms as president of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP.

He received the first ever Governor’s Distinguished Black Floridian Award in 1986.

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