Franklin Delano Roosevelt Florence, Sr. (born August 9, 1934) is a minister who has been heavily involved in civil rights work in Rochester, New York for five decades. He is most well known as the founder and first president of the civil rights group, F.I.G.H.T in 1965 after the 1964 Rochester race riot. He currently serves as the senior pastor at the Central Church of Christ and F.I.G.H.T. Village apartments in Rochester, New York.
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Florence was born in 1934 to Hozel and Berth Florence. He came under the influence of evangelist Marshall Keeble in his mid-teens. He was educated at Nashville Christian Institute from 1948 to 1952. He later attended Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, dropping out after two years to return home. On his return he was ordained and became pastor of the 18th Street Church of Christ in West Palm Beach. He moved to Rochester in 1959. At the age of 25, Florence was recruited to become the pastor of the Reynolds Street Church of Christ in Rochester, NY, where he moved with his wife and children. He immediately became involved with endeavors aimed to help improve the living conditions of blacks living in the Rochester community.
Civil Rights AdvocacyEdit
Founding of FightEdit
Minister Florence was a founder and the first president of F.I.G.H.T. (Freedom, Independence, God, Honor, Today). Its first convention in Rochester attracted 1,500 people. F.I.G.H.T. was established in 1964, although the organization’s first official constitution was not ratified until 1965. Originally, the F.I.G.H.T. acronym stood for (Freedom, Integration, God, Honor, Today), though that was later changed to Independence as the group adopted more Black Power strategies.
- McNellis, David (2010). Reflections on Big Spring: A History of Pittsford, NY and the Genesee River Valley. Authorhouse. pp. 226–227. ISBN 978-1452043579.
- Robinson, Edward J (2008). Show Us How You Do It: Marshall Keeble and the Rise of Black Churches of Christ in the United States, 1914-1968. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0817316129.
- "Franklin Florence Papers", University of Rochester, River Campus Libraries
- "Minister Franklin Florence and The Role of the Black Church". Minority Reporter. April 27, 2012.
- "Churches Form Bedrock of African-American Community". Democrat and Chronicle. February 5, 2011.
- FIGHT Constitution. River Campus Library, University of Rochester: FIGHT Rochester. June 11, 1965. Archived from the original