John G. Riley, a celebrated African American, is alive and well as the Capital City's first animatronic. Riley was born in 1857 and against the odds, he learned to read and write and became a teacher in Wakulla County in 1877. He later became a school principal and after that a distinguished businessman. Although he died in 1954, he is rather lifelike at the Riley Center in downtown Tallahassee.
The life sized replica of Mr. Riley has been placed in one of the front rooms of the Riley Center. There he looks through his book and stops occasionally to educate visitors. The John Riley animatronic, which almost did not happen, is thanks to public and private donations.
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