The road to social change and justice is long. There are sacrifices, and hidden heroes line the way. Such was the case with the desegregation of the University of Florida. The chronology begins decades prior as the all-Black Florida State Teachers Association (FSTA) fought to widen educational opportunity for Black and White children and teachers across the state. With the NAACP, these hidden heroes launched a movement for social justice that transformed public primary, secondary, and higher education institutions in Florida.
We celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation at the University of Florida by showcasing the role of Black educators in the 40 years before the Civil Rights Movement. Their fight culminated with the Virgil Hawkins case which desegregated the University of Florida. Along with Virgil Hawkins, and other notable “firsts” at the University of Florida, we honor their legacy and their sacrifice.