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Gulf Coast LIVE: 'Reading, Writing and Civil Rights' Panel Discussion

From left to right, Ron Gavin, Isaac Thomas, Wilson Bradshaw, Martha Bireda and Benjamin Payton.

We hear from a group of southwest Floridians who were leaders in the desegregation of our schools 50 years ago. Ron Gavin was 8-years-old when he and ten other African American children integrated Sanibel Elementary school in 1964.

Isaac Thomas was one of five African American students selected out of 18 to voluntarily desegregate Charlotte High School as a freshman in 1963. FGCU President Dr. Wilson Bradshaw was one of five African Americans to desegregate Central Junior High School in West Palm in 1963. Dr. Benjamin Payton served as our scholar. He’s President Emeritus of Tuskegee University. Dr. Martha Bireda is the Executive Director of the Blanchard House Museum of African American History and Culture in Punta Gorda.

The panel discussion was recorded at Florida Gulf Coast University after a screening of WGCU’s new documentary “Reading, Writing and Civil Rights”. You can watch the program here.