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A memorial tree in the Jake Gaither neighborhood was dedicated in honor of Anita Davis

A tree stands in a clearing.
Tom Flanigan
/
WFSU Public Media
The tree dedicated in honor of the memory of civil rights champion Anita Davis is located near the Jake Gaither Community Center

Colleagues, friends and family of the late Anita Davis gathered Saturday, Feb. 5 in front of the Jake Gaither Golf Course. They were there to dedicate a tree in her honor.

Leon County had never had a black commissioner before Henry Lewis was elected to represent the new District One in 1986. He credited Anita Davis who was then the local NAACP president and had sued to change the commission's structure.

"By her taking on the county commission and changing the at-large system to single-member districts, it allowed people like me to represent the people who had not been represented prior to then," he said.

But Davis was also a happy warrior who preferred persuasion rather than confrontation. Her niece, Kim Williams, said that approach is needed today more than ever.

"And we should be happy and glad and proud of our community. And I think if we did that, more people would get out and work with each other. We don't need to be afraid of each other; we need to be working with each other."

Anita Davis, who also went on to her own term on the Leon County Commission, died last year at the age of 84. Her memorial tree stands a few blocks from her long-time home on Bragg Drive.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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