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Rev. C.K. Steele and Others Honor King, Recall '56 Bus Boycott

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

Tallahassee was a hotbed of racial tension in the 1950s. Hundreds of people now march on the Capitol every year to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., and Tallahassee’s own civil rights leader, C.K. Steele.

The march begins at the bus station named for Steele, who led a two-year boycott to force integration of public transit. Steele’s son warmed up the crowd with a little folk music.

Richard Henderson brought his grandson to listen and learn. He grew up with the Steele family.

Richard was asked, "What do you think Mr. Steele’s message would be today if he were still alive?

He replied, "It would be a lot of peace, understanding and a lot of love for everybody."

This year’s march follows on the heels of the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat, and though many here believe there’s been great progress since then, they also say there is work to do.

Calvin McFadden told the crowd to embrace responsibility.

Rev. Calvin McFadden said, "When the number one cause of death among young African-Americans is homicide, we’ve got work to do."

Chuck Ryor was moved by the ceremony. He says we can all do more.

Rev. Chuck Ryor of Center Point Church said, "The idea that we can’t simply ignore the plight of the poor and continue on as people in an affluent culture as though they didn’t exist is part of the message of today."

It’s a message that C.K. Steele would have wanted to resonate with future generations. Two years after Steele organized the Tallahassee bus boycott in 1956, bus service was integrated in the capital city.


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