Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; Breaking Barriers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; Breaking Barriers

Article excerpt

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ..."

"It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair ..."

- Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens wasn't referring to the hiring of African-Americans for Jacksonville's police force more than a half-century ago, of course.

But the description fits.

It was the best of times because it ended several decades of a non-blacks policy.

It was the worst of times because, even then, the force was segregated. The new officers, according to a press release, were assigned to a "colored division."

A terrible policy was replaced by a bad one.

The names of those men:

Henry Harley, Edward Hickson, Alvin James, Beaman Kendal, Marion Massey and Charlie Sea.

Appropriately, a bronze marker was erected at their old work spot, the Blodgett substation, recently.

No one can do anything about past injustices.

But by keeping the memories alive, perhaps we can avoid other mistakes in the future. And we need to pay tribute to those who blazed the path for others to follow.

At the very least, the stories may inspire others who are facing serious obstacles.

May the names of those six never be forgotten.

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION

It's generally easy to fix a child's dental problems. But if left untreated, they become major - and expensive - problems as he grows into adulthood.

That's why Give Kids a Smile Day was so important at the Sulzbacher Center.

Thirty-three homeless and needy children were given free dental care on that day, according to a Sulzbacher Center news release.

The services included "screenings, fillings, extractions, sealants, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and oral hygiene instruction and education."

The work was provided by volunteers from the Jacksonville Dental Society.

A little care now might spare these young people root canals and crowns - or extractions - later. …

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