Annual Riley House gala set for Thursday

 The book that will be premiered at the 15th annual Applause for the Pioneers: Cuff Links and Pearls Gala.
Photo Submitted by 
Maya DuBois.

The John G.  Riley Center/Museum will host the 15th Annual Applause for the Pioneers: Cufflinks and Pearls Gala from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

The museum, named after the late John Gilmore Riley, an educator and former principal in Leon County, also doubles as a history research center.  

“What makes us unique is that aside from us being a museum, we are a history research center. I feel like that makes us unique because of course we don’t just give tours but we also put out publications that are written by our executive director and the research that she has directly performed,” Paige Lee, director of education, said.

The center/museum was built to honor the legacy of Riley and also to honor the history and culture of African Americans throughout the Tallahassee area.  

The annual gala serves as an extension of Riley’s legacy and attendees can look forward to a night filled with entertainment, food and history.

The special event will be honoring the Proctors, a prominent local family.

The Washington sisters from Gainesville, through a Negro spiritual musical trail, joined by local musician Fred Lee Jr., will reflect on the lives of the Proctors from free to enslaved and again free after the Civil War, according to the event’s official press release.

The stories of Antonio Proctor, a former slave who received a 185-acre land grant, George Proctor, a freeman who was a builder and frontier entrepreneur, John Proctor, former slave, educator and politician, and Bahamia Proctor, former slave and substantial independent farmer will be told through verse and music.

“Also special for the evening will be the release of a publication documenting the Proctor years of accomplishments and achievements from frontier Florida, slavery through Reconstruction. The names of the honorees will be permanently enshrined on the Applause for the Pioneers Gala Scroll in the Riley Museum Visitors Center,” said the event’s official press release.

The center/museum is also the home of interns hailing from all majors.

“We definitely try to incorporate getting students from FAMU, FSU, and TCC here and they do not have to be students studying history,” said Lee.

With a growing number of interns who matriculate through the program, most of the proceeds from the show will go toward funding the intern program and the actual museum/center.

Those who wish to learn more about the John G. Riley Center/Museum and wish to purchase a ticket for the 15th Annual Applause for the Pioneers: Cufflinks and Pearls Gala should contact the Riley Museum by phone at 850-681-7881 or email