The Midtown Cultural & Educational Center will be renamed the Julia T. and Charles W. Cherry Sr. Cultural & Educational Center in a public ceremony 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at the center, which is located at 925 George W. Engram Blvd.
Commissioners approved the renaming of the facility in the Cherry’s honor to commemorate the couple’s legacy and philanthropic contributions to the City of Daytona Beach.
Charles W. Cherry, Sr. (1928-2004) was a U.S. Army veteran, who worked at Bethune-Cookman as a business professor. He was the founder of the Daytona Times and its sister newspaper, the Florida Courier. He led the Florida State NAACP Conference and local NAACP branch (1971-1980 and 1995-2001).
Mr. Cherry was elected a Daytona Beach City Commissioner in 1995 representing Zone 6. He was reelected in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003. He served until his death in November 2004. He was the first Black to be admitted to the Daytona Beach Board of Realtors in 1967.
Cherry's life was multi-faceted, with an extensive number of accomplishment but the center piece was always a determination to see equal rights for all people, not only in Daytona Beach, but throughout the U.S. and the world. He was appointed by former Governor Bob Martinez to the Florida Advisory Board for Education of Blacks in Florida (1989-1991); appointed by Governor Rubin Askew to the Statewide Steering Committee on Health (1977-1981); established and developed a highly successful Cooperative Education Program, which placed students at Bethune-Cookman College in internships with businesses, government and the military.
In addition to being an educator, Julia Troutman Cherry was an assistant counselor for women at Bethune-Cookman College and a member of Hope Fellowship Church. She also was an active member of the Bethune-Cookman University Women’s Advisory Board, a charter member of the DeLand Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a Golden Heritage Life Member of the NAACP.
The community center features a gymnasium, a music recording studio, a dance studio, meeting rooms, a computer room and offices. It opened in 2012 and replaced the Cypress Street Recreation Center, also known as the PAL Center.