Did You Know That We Have Heroes In Our Community?
I would like to pay tribute today to the unsung heroes who make Tallahassee and the surrounding areas so great.
The people who are continually doing community support work that goes unnoticed, who help make our neck of the woods such a pleasant place to live.
And today, I will share with you a little of the history of Henry O. Flipper that you might not know about.
Do You Know About Henry?
Henry O. Flipper was the first black graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
All of my research that I was doing for the marketing of WaterOak Plantation in Tallahassee gave me the idea to share the importance of Henry O. Flipper to our community.
He was born a slave in 1856 and graduated with the class of 1877.
Now I can personally vouch for the difficulty of being a Plebe (Freshman) at West point in the 1980s, but I suspect what I endured as a young white male was far easier than what Henry experienced. The physical and emotional trials were certainly beyond our comprehension today.
And did you know that Henry was from our area and is buried up in Thomasville, GA?
Unfortunately, time has caused us to forget Henry's place in our history and his resting place needs some TLC. The cemetery is generally decrepit, Flipper's graveside is the one and only well-maintained piece of real estate in the place. But even it is always in need of work.
Hedges are overgrown, leaves and other debris always accumulate inside the low brick retaining wall, and the historical marker is generally covered with tough lichen.
So What Can Be Done?
Flipper's Grave Site 2012: (L to R) Rich ’78, Cooper ’96, Jones ’69, Shipley ’75, and Morrell ‘74[/caption]
Enter the heroes.
For the ninth consecutive year, West Point Society Of Tallahassee (WPST) Secretary David Rich ’78 will lead a contingent of WPST members to the grave of Henry O. Flipper for an annual day of work and restoration. Their mission is simple – police the gravesite by cleaning, raking, sweeping, clipping, and washing the area to render it more suitable and pleasing to visitors.
How Can You Help
Donations will be accepted to improve the gravesite and to provide maintenance on a more regular basis.
Can you spare $10 to honor the memorial for such a strong historical figure? Were it not for David Rich and his crew, this American hero might have been forgotten. But we can all pitch in some spare change and make Henry's resting place a permanent remembrance for a former slave who graduated from West Point.
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