Orange County Government, Florida
01 March 2017
Orange County Remembers the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Commemorates Black History Month
The Board of County Commissioners proclaimed February as Black History Month and presented its proclamation to the Black History Committee of Orange County at the Feb. 7 meeting.

Orange County Government hosted and took part in several community events in January and February to honor and commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month, which celebrates the nation’s African-American heritage.

In January, Orange County participated in the City of Orlando 2017 MLK Holiday Parade in downtown Orlando. The annual event brings the community together to remember the courage, triumphs and teachings of Dr. King.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs also welcomed former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young to Orange County in January for a fascinating conversation on diplomacy and international relations. The event was hosted by the United Negro College Fund. Ambassador Young was instrumental in the civil rights movement and worked alongside the legendary civil rights leader, Dr. King. Mr. Young served the state of Georgia in Congress, he was the first African-American U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and also served two terms as the mayor of Atlanta. He continues to be a pioneer and champion in our nation and across the globe for equal rights.

At the Feb. 7 Board of County Commissioners meeting, Mayor Jacobs presented a proclamation to the Black History Committee of Orange County (BHCOC) that recognized February as Black History Month. Signed by Mayor Jacobs and all six District Commissioners, Black History Month was established to “encourage all citizens to learn about the history and celebrate the contributions African Americans have made to the world, to our country and to our local community.”

Continuing its annual tradition, Orange County held its Black History Month Luncheon on Feb. 17, an event coordinated by the BHCOC. Citizens and employees gathered on the lawn of the Orange County Administration Center for the free event that included food vendors, live entertainment, artists and informational booths about services available throughout the County.

Orange County and the BHCOC have worked together for many years to develop programs and activities to support the goals and achievements of the nation’s brave and beloved African-American civil rights and community leaders.

The BHCOC has helped future generations through their educational and community efforts to academia. Since 2004, the committee has provided more than $300,000 in community donations and scholarships to Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters College, Florida A&M, Florida Memorial University, University of Central Florida, Valencia College and Rollins College.

To conclude Black History Month, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, District 2 Commissioner Bryan Nelson, District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke and District 5 Commissioner Emily Bonilla participated in the Eatonville MLK Parade on Feb. 18. The event honors and recognizes achievements made by Dr. King and other distinguished African-American leaders in history.

A collection of photos documenting Black History Month in Orange County are available on Mayor Jacobs’ Flickr album.