ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The courageous actions of 12 men will soon get a permanent memorial at the very place where they risked their jobs for change.
When the old St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters is redeveloped, there will be a memorial to the “Courageous 12.”
“No doubt about it it was tough,” said Leon Jackson, the lone living member of the Courageous 12. “As I walked up here, it brought back memories.”
Jackson and the others faced extremely tight restrictions because they are African-American.
“During this time, we couldn’t work the front desk, we were never assigned any desk jobs inside the police station,” Jackson said. “We were always assigned to cover the African-American neighborhood only. We could only investigate complaints from African American citizens. We could only arrest African American citizens.”
Jackson, along with 11 others decided to take action. They sued the City of St. Petersburg and demanded equality in the ranks.
“I think they were surprised. It caught them by surprise and some of them were glad and some of there were very very angry… because they felt we were against them,” he said.
Now, once the old police station on 1st Avenue North is torn down, a part of the redevelopment plan will include a permanent memorial to the “Courageous 12.”
“I hope they never forget there were 12 African-American police officers that came before them and put steps on that ladder for them to climb,” he said.
The city’s art commission will allocate $100,000 for the project and the developer will add up to $100,000 as well.
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