Monday, November 7, 2016

Street Naming Ceremony Honors the Late Charles Watson

(L-R) Apalachicola Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Ash, Elinor Mount-Simmons,
President of H'COLA and Dolores Croom, H'COLA Member and MC at
Street Naming Ceremony.

At the behest of Alfred Goosby the Apalachicola Board of City Commissioners moved unanimously at their June 7, 2016, regular scheduled meeting to rename a portion of 11th Street, from U.S. Hwy 98 to 21st Avenue after the Late Charles Watson.

Watson, a native of Apalachicola was a retired educator with 38 years of outstanding service within the Franklin County School District at the time of his passing. He is credited and most noted for helping countless of his former students excel and achieve success in life. One notable former student is Dr. Frederick S. Humphries.  Humphries, former President Emeritus of Florida A&M University said the following about Watson in a May 9, 1985 interview with Mike Radigan, a reporter with Capital Outlook:

"The greatest science teacher I had in high school was Mr. Charlie Watson. He taught me all my math and science courses. He was a very smart man and he cared about his students… When he realized your abilities, he pushed you to the limit. When I left Wallace Quinn High School, I didn't know how well-prepared I was."

In 1997 Watson was honored by Florida A&M University with a Doctor of Humane Letters Degree.  He also served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a member of the Franklin County Retired Teachers Association and the founder of the Apalachicola FAMU Black Male Explorer's Club.

On Friday, November 4, 2016, Seafood Festival weekend; visitors to the city along with members of the Apalachicola community, Apalachicola Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Ash, and the family of Watson all gathered at the Historic Holy Family Senior Center to pay tribute to Watson with a Street Naming Ceremony, followed by a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue and Charles Watson Street.

Dolores Croom acted as Mistress of Ceremony during the Street Naming Ceremony, with Myrtis Wynn providing the welcoming and Goosby speaking on the occasion. Mayor Pro Tem Ash provided greetings from the City of Apalachicola, followed by remarks from Watson niece, Cleo Gwendolyn Harris, his brother-in-law, Willie F. Tolliver, another niece, Rosa Tolliver and Watson’s nephew, Clarence Devon Williams IV.

Watson’s devoted niece, Marcia Thomas along with his brother Willie E. Clark and Willie Mary Joseph cut the ribbon to officially dedicate the renaming of 11th Street in Watson’s honor.