TCC Announces Cherry Hall Alexander African-American History Calendar Honorees

February 1, 2022

Tallahassee Community College is proud to announce the honorees for the 22nd Cherry Hall Alexander African American History Calendar. Each year since 2001, TCC has used the calendar to honor African-American individuals committed to making a difference in our community. This year’s theme, Black Health and Wellness, features exceptional community leaders in Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson, and Wakulla counties who work to preserve and promote healthy and holistic living.

The calendar month honorees are as follows:

(February 2022) Temple O. Robinson, M.D.- Dr. Robinson is the Chief Executive Officer of Bond Community Health Center in Tallahassee, Fl. Prior to this role, she served as the Chief Medical Officer at Bond, dedicating 18 years of service to the center.

(March 2022) R. Jai Gillum- Gillum is the Director of Foundation Affairs at the Florida Dental Association. She is has served as director of numerous nonprofit organizations. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. 

(April 2022) Dr. Penny A. Ralston- Dr. Ralston is a professor, the Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Florida State University, and the Director of the Center on Better Health & Life for Underserved Populations. She has also been featured in over 65 scholarly articles, worked to spearhead infrastructures addressing health disparities, and has mentored over 150 graduate and undergraduate students.

(May 2022) Fran T. Close, PH. D- Dr. Close is a professor of Behavioral Science and Health Education at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical’s School of Pharmacy/ Pharmaceutical Sciences/ Institute of Public Health. She has spent over 20 years focusing her research on serving underrepresented communities.

(June 2022) Robert Meeks Jr.- Meeks currently works as Tallahassee Community College’s Campus Recreation and Athletics Manager. He has worked with TCC is some capacity for over 25 years including when he played baseball for the Eagles from 1997-1998.

(July 2022) Dr. Asha Fields Brewer- Dr. Fields-Brewer is the owner of Temple Fit Company, which teaches others how to succeed in life by prioritizing wellness. She is also the Director for Temple Fit Health, a nonprofit organization focused on creating healthier churches and communities.

(August 2022) Dr. Darice E. Richard- Dr. Richard is a Pharmacist Clinician who currently works as a Clinical Governmental Consultant at Anthem/Ingenio Rx Health Services. She is the recipient of the NAACP James Hudson Humanitarian Award because of her commitment to the chapter and the community. Dr. Richard also serves as a board of director for many organizations including Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences/ Institute of Public Health.

(September 2022) Tracy A. Thomas, PT, DPT, PH. D- Dr. Thomas is the Director and a Professor of the Physical Therapy Research Program at Florida A&M University. She is the only African American with a PH. D in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy in the nation.

(October 2022) Shairi R. Turner, M.D., M.P.H- Dr. Turner is the Chief Medical Officer of Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit organization providing 24/7 help, supporting those in crisis. She is also a member of the Research Faculty for Florida State University’s College of Social Work.

(November 2022) Anika C. Fields, PH. D- Dr. Fields is the Director of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s Office of Counseling Services. She has been a volunteer with the Special Olympics for over 25 years. She currently serves as the accreditation site visit coordinator of the International Accreditation of Counseling Services (IACS).

(December 2022) Cynthia M. Harris PH. D- Dr. Harris is the Director and Professor of the Florida A&M University Institute of Public Health. She has over 25 years of experience with community-based participatory research, health disparities, and environmental toxicology and risk assessment.

(January 2023) Lyndria N. Jones, MSN, RN- Jones is an adjunct Nursing Instructor at Tallahassee Community College and big influence in her community. Because of her passion for health education, she obtained a grant from Leon County Coronavirus Vaccination Community Education and Engagement Task Force to educate and decrease hesitancy of the COVID-19 vaccine. She has also partnered with Second Harvest Mobile Food Bank to distribute food in rural communities around Tallahassee.

(President’s Honoree) Dr. A.J. Brickler III- Dr. Brickler is a doctor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at North Florida Women’s Care in Tallahassee, Fl. He is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Brickler has an extensive background in medicine including, being recognized by Consumers Research Council of America as one of "America's Top Ob/Gyn's". 

(Student Highlight) Samuel Omeke- Omeke is a second-year Tallahassee Community College student that has taken advantage of every opportunity to advance his college career, including becoming chapter president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He was recently selected to serve as a Writing Champion, a scholarship tutoring program for students enrolled in composition courses. Omeke plans on transferring to the University of South Florida to major in biomedical engineering. 

Fallen Stars Honorees include Trudie May Perkins, Lizzie May Smith Dennis, and Mercedes Williams.

Lizzie Mae Smith Dennis and Trudie Mae Chester Perkins were the catalysts for the desegregation of local government in the city of Tallahassee. As Licensed Practical Nurses, both worked to bring about pay equity for African-American nurses at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH). Perkins, Dennis, and Williams were among the first African-American nurses to work at TMH. For their efforts to highlight the differences in pay between black and white nurses and for assisting others to combat discrimination on the job, Perkins and Dennis were  vilified and terminated from their positions, though they were later vindicated. They works with the Revs. C. K. Steele, R. N. Gooden, David Brooks, and Malachi Andrews, in efforts to assist African-American employees who had been relegated to low-paying city positions. Robert D. Perkins, Dr. helped the employees by filing 25 complaints with the U. S. Department of Justice that led to the United States suing the City of Tallahassee. The successful result was a consent decree handed down in April 1975, successfully integrating the local government workforce.

Mercedes Williams began her career in the healthcare profession in 1959 at the FAMU Hospital. A charge nurse who supervised LPNs, she was known by her colleagues as having a high morale, outstanding work ethic, and for being far ahead of her time. Following the closing of the FAMU Hospital with the advent of racial integration in 1971, Williams transferred to TMH as a charge nurse where she would remain for the next two decades. Knowledgeable and nurturing, but very stern, she was forceful in ensuring that young African-American female nurses were well-trained, became certified in specialized areas, and were promoted to work on specialty floors previously closed to blacks, such as the neonatal unit. Williams devoted more than thirty years of her life to the healthcare profession. Educating and inspiring her staff and trainees and providing a safe space for the infants of young nurses defined a lifetime of selfless service.