Florida’s late civil-rights pioneer Jesse J. McCrary Jr. was honored by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson on Friday with a congressional dedication and naming ceremony at the Little River Post Office in Miami.
A plaque with McCrary’s name inscribed on it, recognizing his hard work and dedication, is being placed at the post office at 140 NE 84th St.
“He was a man that loved his family and the South Florida community that he called home,” Wilson said. “He was never afraid to speak up for what he believed in or to speak out against what he perceived as injustice.”
McCrary became Florida's secretary of state in 1978, becoming the first African-American since reconstruction to hold a cabinet position in Florida. (Florida's first black Secretary of State, appointed during reconstruction, was Johnathan C. Gibbs, who served from 1868 to 1873, according to Florida’s Office of the Secretary of State website.)
McCrary also has the distinction of being Florida's first black assistant attorney general, according to a state House resolution that honored him in 2003.
The son of a Baptist preacher, McCrary lived his life according to the principles he was taught from early childhood, the state resolution said.
McCrary became active in America's civil-rights struggle in 1956, organizing sit-ins in Tallahassee while he was a political science major at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, the institution to which he returned after serving an honorable stint in the United States Army and from which he earned a law degree in 1965, the resolution said.
McCrary’s daughter, Jessica McCrary Campbell, said she is proud of her father’s achievements. She said her father was passionate about his work and giving back to the community.
“I’m so incredibly excited,” Campbell said. “It’s such an honor that the Little River Post Office will be named after my late father today, and I know he’s smiling from above and I’m smiling from down here and I’m proud of him each and every day.”