35th Annual Plant City
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Festival
"Visit Plant City,Florida- Discover its Heritage!"
A Message from MLK Festival Organizers
PLANT CITY, FLA — The Improvement League of Plant City, CDC, whom organize the Annual Plant City MLK Festival announced "after careful consideration" that it will be postponing its 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, Drumline, Street Fest, and Leadership Breakfast Signature events.
The Plant City MLK Parade, Drumline and Street Festival will now take place on Saturday April 3 in the observance of the assassination of Dr. King April 4th (Easter Sunday).
The Plant City MLK Leadership Breakfast will be held the following Sunday April 11, 2021, 7:30 a.m. at the Trinkle Center, Hillsborough Community College, Plant City Campus.
The decision to postpone came after much discussion with residents, sponsors, various agencies and communication with the King Center based in Atlanta, Georgia. Plant City MLK Festival organizers submit activities every year to the King Center and King Family to ensure activities held are appropriate and adhere to the legacy of Dr. King.
The weekend of April 3rd was chosen due to its relevancy to the MLK Federal Holiday and Dr. King. April 4th is the anniversary date of the fatal shooting of Dr. King while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. The date is further highlighted by it being Easter Sunday.
Parade applications already received will be maintained unless you are unavailable for the date of April 3, 2021. The time, location, and route will be the same. The street fest, parade, drumline and vendor information online will be updated today.
This year the Plant City MLK Festival will conclude with a celebration on Florida Emancipation Day May 20th at the Plant City Bing Rooming House African American Museum.
The importance of May 20th highlights the date word of the emancipation was received in Florida 30 days prior to the State of Texas. The news was delivered by Union General McCook on the steps of the Knott House when Union Troops arrived in the Tallahassee May 20, 1865 to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. The Plant City community of Bealsville was founded by freed slaves in June 1865.
We appreciate your continued support in celebrating the legacy of Dr. King and the strength, diversity and inclusion it brings to our communities.
William Thomas Jr.
PLANT CITY AFRICAN AMERICAN SELFIE TOUR
(click here for a pdf printable list)
HISTORIC WHO’S WHO
Attorney Theodore Taylor- He was the first African American from Plant City to obtain his law degree and the first African American to acquire space in downtown Plant City and restore a historic building. Find his office near the Railroad Museum.
Mr. Earl Sykes- Served as principal of Marshall High School and was the first African American to integrate at Plant City High School. Currently lives across from Marshall Middle School and can often be found heading out to fish on weekends. When asked who was his most challenging student; he just smiles.
Ms. Leola McDonald- She is the oldest living descendant of a Confederate Soldier and Slave romance (Turned 100 years old in February 2018). She is also the oldest living teacher that has taught in Plant City. She lives in Bealsville, near Springhead.
Willie Thomas - First African American Reporter to be employed by a Plant City Newspaper (Courier). He lives in Riverview but can be caught on Facebook under (Plant City Past and Present) and is often hanging around in Plant City. You can reach him at his cell at (813) 293-1778 or (813) 677-5210. Tell 'em. Hey, need to get a selfie with ya!
Attorney Ken Glover- Borned and raised right here on Laura Street, Mr. Glover was the first African American to serve in the Prosecution Office for Polk County.
Mr. Fleming- We all know him as Mr. Fleming. Currently at the age of 80 plus, Mr. Fleming is a graduate of Marshall Negro High School and one of the first documented Plant City natives to play pro football with the NFL Dallas Cowboys in the early 1970s.
Mr. Crowell.- Was part of the coaching staff that achieved the first official recorded championship for Plant City area schools. Mr. Crowell was part of the Marshall High School 1964 Football Championship where the team recorded the fewest points allowed, most points scored and most shut-outs in a high school football season.
Bennie Paul Coffee- Part of PCHS first integrated football squad and championship, FAMU Football Championship and Defensive Player of the Year NFL Detroit Lions. He can be found via social media.
Mr. Ben Forte- A retired Nursery owner whom as a business owner is Plant City Bealsville's first millionaire. His Forte Nursery generated nearly 1.5 million dollars in sales while it operated serving clients throughout West Central Florida.
Sam Miller of Miller Productions- Sam is the most successful DJ to come out of Plant City. This humble man has provided technical support for nearly every venue in Plant City and surrounding area to include cruise ships. He plays a number of instruments. You can catch him driving the iconic red & white monster truck.
At Large (PCHS 1982 BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS)- Plant City High School 1982 Class brought home Plant City High's first State Championship. Can you catch a player and get a selfie?
CURRRENT WHO’S WHO in 2017-2018
Law Offices of Williams & Moore - Catch either one of these attorneys practicing law out of their office across from the Hospital. They were mentored by Attorney Theodore Taylor.
Dr. Bernard Robinson- African American Brain Surgeon whom spends half his time in Hawaii and Plant City. A native of Plant City and inventor of current MRI technology that is utilized in current cancer treatments today. Book author of "Two Ropes"
James McDaniel- Former NASA employee, served as highest ranking African American employed with City of Plant City, leading developer of city's revitalization plans for 1980 thru 2010 including the Bing House Museum restoration. Book author of "Living a Virtuous Life".
Pastor Pee Wee Callins- A dynamic and well known pastor of Greater New Hope Church. One of the youngest spiritual leaders ever, has done gospel tours with the likes of Shirley Caesar, held services at the Strawberry Festival and serves as chaplain for Plant City High School sporting teams. You can catch him on the sidelines at PCHS basketball games.
Harvey Harrell of H&R Sounds- Has been a rising star as a Sound Technician and DJ for the Greater Plant City area. Harvey is a mentoree of Sam Miller and has been passed the baton handling large, small and charitable entertainment ventures.
Ms. Ginger Forte- Recently had her jersey retired from Plant City High School as the leading female scorer whose records are yet to be broken.
Horace Broadnax- Recently had his jersey retired from Plant City High School. He is part of the 1982 State Basketball Championship. Played college basketball at Georgetown University and NBA career. Currently Head Coach for Savannah State but can be caught on facebook.
Russell Evans- Recently had his jersey retired from Plant City High School as the ALL TIME leading scorer in both basketball and football in Hillsborough County. His records have “yet” to be broken. He lives in Plant City and is often at Plant City High School Gym working with players.
Derrick Gainer-FAMU Football Running Back and 2 Time Super Bowl Dallas Cowboys.
Kenny Kelly-University of Miami, Major League Baseball and drafted by Devil Rays. Get a selfie posing with a baseball or baseball bat.
Ms. Chevelle Hallback- Female Pro Boxing Champ. You can find her on social media. Get a selfie with her with your fist pumped or pose with her boxing gloves. “I am the greatest!!!”
At Large (PCHS 1982 BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS)- Plant City High School 1982 Class brought home Plant City High's first State Championship. Can you catch a player and get a selfie? Hint (one is currently coach at PCHS). .
*Please note that all of these individuals have given permission and approved to be captured by selfie!.
Learn about Plant City's Diverse and Cultural History. Post your selfies #PlantCityMLK -Instagram or friend us on facebook @ BingMuseum. First three to complete list and post wins a prize.Check us out at the MLK Street Festival Saturday Jan 19th
Bing House Museum built in 1921
Marshall Middle School Gym (outside), built in 1948
Marie B. Ellis Park named after a famous photographer. Once served as baseball field
Sam Cooper Park/Lake named after a longtime NAACP leader
Plant City Photo Archives & History Center in downtown has over 100,000 pictures
Glover School in Bealsville was founded in 1868
Bealsville Recreation Center (historic marker) notes the founding of this community
Holloman Midwife House – now this one is off road and a bit difficult to find (Horton Road)
Ruby Lee’s Fruit and Art Stand –directly on State Road 60. Her paintings are in the Smithsonian
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church founded in 1884- See the historic bell
Owner Pocket Change Beauty Supply – near Feltons Meat & Produce
Sadye Gibbs Martin Auditorium at City Hall-A tribute to Plant City's most accomplished political and civic leader late Ms. Sadye Gibbs Martin
Mt. Olive, Ball Street
St. Mary’s Church
St. Luke’s Church
St. Luke Independent Church
Laura Street Church of Christ
St. Mark Church, former Coronet Quarters Church
Lincoln Park Community Nick-named "The Bottom"