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Governor Scott Selects Two Veterans for Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame

April 30, 2018

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott announced April 27 the selection of Marvin Davies and Dr. Reverend Willie Oliver Wells Sr. to the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Governor Scott chose Davies and Wells, along with John Dorsey Due Jr., from a list of 10 distinguished nominees selected by the Florida Commission on Human Relations for making significant contributions to the improvement of life for minorities and all citizens of the great State of Florida.

Marvin Davies was born in Bradford County in 1934 and died on April 25, 2003. After serving in the U.S. Army, Davies attended Florida A&M University where he received his degree ranking second in his class. During his time at Florida A&M, he joined civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and participated in protests in Tallahassee, St. Augustine and Montgomery, Ala. Davies also worked as a coordinator of vocational counseling and job development and placement in a training program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1966, Davis was named field secretary and then executive director of the Florida State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also served as a special assistant to Gov. Bob Graham and was state coordinator of the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation.

Dr. Reverend Willie Oliver Wells Sr., was born in Miami in 1931 and died on Nov. 4, 2015. After serving in the U.S. Army, Wells received his bachelor’s degree from Fisk University and a Bachelor of Theology degree from the American Baptist Theological Seminary in 1955. In 1959, Wells was selected to be a pastor at Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Cocoa. He also served as president of NAACP Brevard County chapter spearheading the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in Brevard County. Wells also served as chairman of the Redevelopment Commission of the City of Cocoa. Among his many accomplishments, Wells established the Community Action Agency of Brevard, providing low-income day care centers, and constructed low-rent apartment complexes in Merritt Island and Melbourne. He also led the St. Paul Baptist Church in building a new $1.2 million church complex. Wells was also a Freedom Rider who led non-violent civil protests and an original member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.