January 29, 2024
Tallahassee Community College is proud to announce the honorees for the 24th 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, “African Americans and the Arts,” features exceptional community leaders who work to preserve and promote community and civic engagement in Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson, and Wakulla counties including, but not limited to, visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, or any other community advocates who exhibit leadership in the category.
The honorees are as follows:
Lindsey B. Sarjeant (President's Award honoree)
Professor Lindsey B. Sarjeant serves as Chairman of the Music Department, professor of music, and chief musical arranger for the incomparable Marching 100, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Ensemble at Florida A&M University. Over the years, Professor Sarjeant recruited an excellent music faculty and developed one of this country's leading Music Industry and Jazz Studies Programs.
Longineu Parsons (February)
Longineu Parsons is a classically trained trumpeter who plays a wide variety of styles including jazz, blues, jazz fusion, and classical. Dr. Parsons earned a Bachelor of Music at Florida A&M University (FAMU), and a Masters in Classical Trumpet, followed by a PhD in Composition at the University of Florida. He currently serves as a professor of music at FAMU. As an active recording and performing artist, Parsons currently tours with The Longineu Parsons Ensemble and The Nat Adderley and Longineu Parsons Quartet.
Wendy Crawford (March)
As the Artistic Director and Owner of Dance Fusion Studios, Wendy Crawford has led her team to regional and national dance championships nine times in the studio's ten-year history. Crawford passionately unites and celebrates her dancers within the local community, fostering engagement through performances and service. With a focus on belonging and personal growth, she instills high standards, nurturing encouragement, challenge, and daily motivation. She is driven to elevate the standard of dance in Tallahassee by transforming a weekly dance class into a catalyst for capability, confidence, teamwork, and community.
Eluster Richardson (April)
Eluster Richardson has had a passion for art since his childhood in Tallahassee when he began drawing simple machines in elementary school. After high school, he attended Tallahassee Community College to further his desire to be an artist and then spent three years in the U.S. Army. When retired after 30 years as a Network Engineer, he began working as a full-time artist specializing in oil watercolor painting. He accepted and produced large commissions, such as nine watercolor paintings of the Tall Timbers Jones Family Tenant project.
Shepiro Hardemon (May)
Miami native and graduate of Florida A&M University, Shepiro Hardemon, is one of the country's premier choreographers and artistic directors. Responsible for developing one of the most comprehensive professional development dance programs, Strikers Dance Troupe and Mahogany Dance Theatre, he has prepared aspiring dancers and choreographers to thrive in the entertainment industry. His most recent project, Strikers Youth Arts Project, Inc., provides enrichment services for youth through year-round arts education and athletic programs, access to technology for educational tutorial services, and coordinating events to showcase artistic talent for the community.
Shelby Rawn Chipman (June)
Shelby Rawn Chipman the Director of Bands and a professor of Music at Florida A&M University (FAMU). The Miami, Florida, native earned bachelor’s degrees in both Computer Science and Music Education from FAMU. He went on to earn a master’s degree in music education at the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in music education from the Florida State University College of Music. Before his FAMU appointment, Dr. Chipman taught music in the Miami-Dade County Public School system.
Sylvester Peck, Sr. (July)
An art teacher for thirty years, Sylvester Peck, Sr. has considered himself an artist all his life. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts education and master's degrees in sports management and educational leadership, all from FAMU. Today, Peck is the senior faculty member at Florida A&M University High School, where has taught for more than 28 years. He is very proud of the students he has had the opportunity to teach during his career, many of whom have become architects, engineers, and professional illustrators.
Darius “Doc D” Baker (August)
Darius Baker, fondly known as Doc D, is a three-time Stellar Award-nominated radio programmer and Tampa Bay Gospel Awards Radio Host of the Year, credited with building two gospel stations from the ground up – WHBT Heaven 98.3 FM and WTAL Hallelujah 95.3 FM. As the founder of Tallahassee Nights Live (TNL) and executive director of the TNL Performing Arts Center, Baker has been developing artists for decades. He launched TNL, a monthly live music showcase, to provide the community with new music from local talent while giving musicians industry knowledge and experience.
LaDonna Fha’ Gibson (September)
As Master Stylist at PrimaDonna Hair in Quincy, Florida, she firmly believes that looking good results in feeling good, and she strives to apply this philosophy to every style she creates. With years of experience as a consultant and advisor for the Gadsden Technical Institute, she is a highly knowledgeable figure and hair connoisseur. A lifelong learner, Gibson is a proud graduate of Tallahassee Community College and Flagler College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business administration, Cum Laude.
Anita Franklin (October)
Gospel recording artist and Tallahassee native Anita Franklin was first introduced to the stage as a soloist during church conventions and has embraced her singing journey ever since. The FAMU alum was a member of the FAMU Gospel Choir during her college years. Franklin is the Founder and CEO of RESET Regional Music and Arts Symposium, where she cultivates and empowers young people to utilize their God-given gifts.
Sonya Walters (November)
Chef Sonya Walters owns and operates Luxe Personal Chef and Catering and is the former owner and founder of Luxe Events Venue. The Columbia, South Carolina, native originally came to Tallahassee to study biological sciences on a full academic scholarship at Florida State University. At the time, she did not foresee a career in the hospitality and events industry. In 2015, she combined her love of cooking and her Carolina roots to start her catering business.
Wanda Carter Brown (December)
Wanda Carter Brown's journey is a testament to her unwavering dedication to education, music, and community service. Born and raised in Tallahassee, her passion for music education led her to pursue a bachelor's degree in music from Florida A&M University. Upon graduation, Wanda embarked on her teaching career at Gilchrist Elementary School. In recognition of her outstanding service and a tribute to her years of dedication to her students, the music Annex at Gilchrist Elementary was named in her honor in 2022.
DJ DEMP (January 2025)
Best known for his famous tagline “Music Inspires,” Donnell Benson, professionally known as DJ DEMP, is an international celebrity DJ and a member of the legendary group Ghost Town DJs, best known for their classic hit record "My Boo.". He went on to establish the DJ DEMP FOUNDATION in 2022, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering at-risk youth through education, advocacy, and mentorship. His mission is simple: give children a safe space to grow and learn.
Grace Duvet (Student honoree)
Duvet is currently pursuing her AA degree at Tallahassee Community College with plans to continue her education at Florida State University to major in Political Science with a minor in Communications. As a member of the award-winning TCC Forensics Speech and Debate team, Grace is using her voice to champion the cause of Haiti's children who face harsh circumstances and labor.