Florida Civil Rights Virtual Museum opening tonight

Virtual museum invites people to learn about civil rights pioneers
Virtual museum invites people to learn about civil rights pioneers.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 1:37 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida Civil Rights Museum will officially open to the public tonight as pioneers are featured in a virtual exhibit hall.

It’s the first all-virtual civil rights museum in the country, founded by a Tallahassee historian and the daughter of a Tallahassee couple who fought for desegregation and diversification at both the City of Tallahassee and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Historian Delaitre Hollinger called the opening of the virtual museum “surreal.”

“It means the world to me because I care about the future and I care about people knowing about these individuals who made life better for so many others,” Hollinger said. “People who made sacrifices, many who made the ultimate sacrifice. The young people have to know that and they have to have access to these stories so they can be inspired.”

Hollinger and Jacqueline Perkins are the co-executive directors of the Florida Civil Rights Museum.

Perkins is the daughter of Robert and Trudie Perkins, civil rights leaders for whom a street is now named in Tallahassee.

“A lot of people said they’d never heard of them. They didn’t do the work they did to get recognized; they did the work they did to get results and I felt like this would be a great opportunity for so many of the pioneers, so many people who are in Leon County and the State of Florida that folks have never heard of,” Perkins said.

The museum’s first exhibit called “They Made a Difference” features 30 men and women who fought for civil rights in Florida. It includes a white state Supreme Court justice who fought for desegregation and a black FAMU student who died under questionable circumstances while registering voters in Mississippi.

People can use their mouse and keyboard to navigate the halls of the museum and click to see photos, artifacts, and learn more about the 30 pioneers.

Dr. Anne Gayles-Felton is one of the women featured in the exhibit and the only one who is still living.

“That makes me feel good,” Gayles-Felton said as she met with the museum’s founders earlier this week.

“I have had quite a few experiences that have been amazing and this is an added one,” she said, “and to have it at this age, it means even more to me.”

A reception will be held tonight at Goodwood Museum to launch the website and recognize the families of the pioneers featured in the exhibit.

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