Stories from the Tallahassee Civil Rights Movement

As a celebration of Black History Month, friends of Rev. Charles Kenzie Steele, Sr. reflected on the experiences of the pastor and civil rights activist.

Rev. Steele was a prominent leader of the Tallahassee bus boycott and a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The panelists were: Attorney Kent Sprigs, Mrs. Eva Manning, a Florida A&M University alumna and Henry Marion Steele, C.K. Steele Sr.’s son.  The moderator for the event was Dr. Darius Young, assistant history professor of the FAMU History department.

“This was definitely an honor to moderate the event for me and to hear the real stories and for the students to be able to understand the real experiences and the legacy of African American history,” said Young.

The panelist for the event and focused on their experiences with education, civil rights and their participation in the Tallahassee bus boycott.

The panelist shared their personal experiences and memorable moments while participating in the movement.

Eva Manning was the first minority editor for the Tallahassee Democrat. Manning believes African American history should be taught throughout education.

"I stood up with what I believed in, I was not going to accept the treatment of the Caucasians and other groups and I did not,” said Manning.

Manning’s most memorable moment was being able to introduce Coretta Scott King, at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church women’s program in Tallahassee.

Attorney Kent Sprigs’ most memorable moment with C.K. Steele was attending FAMU convocation and addressing a commissioner about the naming of Martin Luther King Boulevard and the division created between the different areas in Tallahassee.  

“C.K. Steele was like a father to me, very supportive and very vexed at racism,” Sprigs said.

The panelist encouraged students to vote and continue the dream of late Reverend, which was to act as people of goodwill.

"My most significant involvement was with core-congress of racial equality I so energized, so touched by the rallying together of our people,” said Steele.


C.K. Steele’s son, Daryl Steele, attended the first integrated schools in Tallahassee and remembers being criticized and bullied as a child but, followed the love and leadership of his father to not retaliate.

“My dad was an awesome man full of love and compassion almost uncanny, I’m proud to know my family had such a great impact on the liberation of our people,” Steele said.