Commemorative service held for Rev. Franklin Florence

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. It was a celebration of life for the Rev. Franklin Florence.

The civil rights icon passed away at the age of 89 last week. A commemorative service was held for him Friday evening at Central Church of Christ. Mayor Evans was there and gave his family the key to the city in honor of the reverend. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello was also there and gave the Florence family a key to the county in the reverend’s honor and proclaimed Feb. 10 Rev. Franklin Florence day.

Hundreds packed the church, many traveling long distances to say farewell to a man they say fought to pave the way for equality. It was a celebration of life with singing and speeches “to the life and the legacy of a man whose example was literally larger than life.”

And sadness filled the room, but many say Rev. Florence dedicated his life to ensuring others would have a better life. Amanda Darden is one of them. She worked at Xerox for nearly four decades. Her mom worked for the company for 24 years. Amanda says it was all thanks to Rev. Florence and she is grateful.

Darden: “Then in 1969 I came to Xerox and I retired in 2008. I worked there 39 years. He opened up a lot of doors for Black people. “

Stacey McCuller says she can testify to that. She traveled from Atlanta to pay her tributes to Rev. Florence. Her dad was good friends with the Rev. and joined him in the fight for corporations to hire Black people.

McCuller: “It began with the inequality of Blacks at Eastman Kodak, Xerox. The collaboration started with getting the first Black radio station, WDKX. It started with the head start program. The list goes on and on.”

Minister Clifford Florence the son of Rev. Florence says he is thankful for the outpour of support from local government leaders and the community. He says now with his father gone his legacy will carry on.

Minister Clifford Florence: “The struggle continues but continue it must because to get anything done … we have to continue to fight on and press on and work even harder”

The funeral service for Rev. Florence will be held tomorrow from 11 am to 2 pm at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. News10NBC will live stream the service.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who was originally scheduled to speak at the funeral of Rev. Franklin Florence, will not be able to attend. Click here to read more about Rev. Florence’s life and legacy.