Gamble Street getting a new name

The Gamble Street street sign will change on Friday. Photo credit: Kiara Carey

Gamble Street will be renamed after FAMU graduates and civil rights activists Robert and Trudie Perkins. The official ceremony is scheduled for Friday morning.

Robert and Trudie Perkins were trailblazers in the Tallahassee community, advocating for the betterment of African Americans and FAMU students.

After years of fighting for equality, they will finally be honored by replacing Gamble Street — which serves as major artery on FAMU’s campus. The street will be called Robert and Trudie Way.

The renaming of Gamble Street is one of several key streets in Tallahassee that have been replaced with the names of ground-breaking activists.

According to Sugar along the Manatee by Michael G. Schene, Gamble Street was named after plantation owner Major Robert Gamble, who profited in the purchase and distribution in the sugar cane business. Along with running his business, he enslaved almost 150 people to work his property.

The Perkinses were graduates of Florida A&M College for Negroes in the 1940s. Robert studied higher education while Trudie matriculated in nursing.  They both fought for social justice in Leon County. Despite losing their jobs they continued to fight against injustice and advocated for a  more equal workforce.

Trudie Perkins became one of the first Black nurses to work at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in 1967. While working there she experienced an ample amount of discrimination from her coworkers. In order to fight off racial discrimination, she and her friend Lizzie Smith decided to advocate for equal pay for Black nurses by forming the Community Health Organization.

In the early ’60s, Robert Perkins was in charge of the Recreation Advisory Council where he advocated for more funds and support for the creation of Black recreation centers in the Tallahassee area. His continuous efforts in supporting the youth led to the development of Jake Gaither Park and Recreation Center in 1954.

The power couple contributed to the Tallahassee area by opening their business called Perkins Service Station and Beauty Shop, the only Black-owned station that provided various services to residents, staff, and FAMU students. During the 1950s Tallahassee bus boycott with only three gas pumps their service station was able to provide sufficient amounts of gas to participants.

“Robert and Trudie were known as a Tallahassee civil rights power couple,” FAMU alumna Thresa Jean Louis said. “Together both of them changed the status quo navigating the judicial system and fought for social justice and gained access to employment and economy equality.”

Friday’s reveal date is said to be the couple’s 75th wedding anniversary.

The ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. Friday in the parking lot of FAMU’s Welcome Center. FAMU will live stream the event on its YouTube and Facebook accounts.