The Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center hosted the annual Living Legends Awards Luncheon on April 14, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the museum, 102 Martin Luther King Ave. The luncheon honored local residents who have made major contributions to the heritage landscape through education, business, the arts and civic activism. This year’s Living Legends honorees were Sandra Parks, Cora Tyson, Barbara Vickers and Henry White.
“We are proud to honor these four individuals for their spirit and determination that have helped to pave the way for advancement of African Americans and diversity in this community,” said Gayle Phillips, executive director of the museum.
Parks, who grew up in St. Augustine, has focused her career on working to close the achievement gap and transition more students from disadvantaged backgrounds into advanced education programs. As an education and curriculum specialist, Parks has co-authored more than 40 books on cognitive development and critical thinking skills. She has served as a curriculum consultant in 48 states. Parks also works to honor the life and work of her late husband, Stetson Kennedy, who was an author, folklorist and human rights activist.
Tyson, a graduate of St. Augustine’s Excelsior High School, is a long-term resident of Lincolnville. Cooking for others is an integral part of life for Tyson. She co-owned and operated a local restaurant named The Savory. She also was a cafeteria manager for multiple schools in the community. During the Civil Rights Movement, Tyson and her late husband, John Henry Tyson, welcomed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and members of his leadership team into their home, offering a safe place for the visitors to rest, dine and hold meetings.
Vickers, who grew up in Lincolnville, is a licensed beautician, businesswoman, civil rights activist, painter, actress, writer and one of the original Rosie the Riveter workers. After leaving St. Augustine to travel, she worked in shipyards and on Boeing B-17s and B-19s as a sheet metal mechanic during World War II. Vickers returned to St. Augustine where she became a licensed beautician and operated her own shop for more than 50 years. During the Civil Rights Movement, she participated in demonstrations and kneel-ins, attempts to integrate local churches, in St. Augustine. She also spearheaded the Foot Soldiers Monument project. The monument commemorates the work of civil rights demonstrators and is located in the Plaza de la Constitución in downtown St. Augustine.
White, a St. Augustine native, worked for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, following in the footsteps of his parents. At the school, White was a physical education teacher and coach. His leadership at the school led to many of his students competing in the World Games for the Deaf. Within the community, White worked with various youth league teams, including T-ball, softball, basketball and football. He has also volunteered with many local organizations such as the Fort Mose Historical Society, Friends of Lincolnville and The First Tee of North Florida.
Photo of Barbara Vickers by the St. Johns Cultural Council