Rev. Al Sharpton will not be able to attend funeral services for Rochester civil rights pioneer

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rev. Al Sharpton, who was originally scheduled to speak at the funeral of Rev. Franklin Florence, will not be able to attend.

Minister Clifford Florence Sr., son of the late Rev. Florence, says that Rev. Sharpton and his dad shared a special bond.

“There was great connection and great history with Mr. Sharpton and my dad,” said Clifford Florence, senior pastor of the Central Church of Christ.

He was also lifetime friends with Malcolm X.

Rev. Florence and Malcolm X spent a lot of time together across the country. Clifford Florence says Malcolm’s last stop before his assassination was a speech he gave in Rochester, next to Rev. Franklin Florence and Connie Mitchell, the first Black woman to be elected to the Monroe County legislature.

Florence senior plans to carry on his father’s legacy through the church, the place that built his passion.

Rev. Florence was the pastor of Central Church of Christ in Rochester and founder of F.I.G.H.T., an organization that fought for equity in hiring, housing and education.  Rev. Florence is credited with forcing Kodak and Xerox to train and hire Black people, which spurred changes across corporate America.

The public is invited to calling hours for Rev. Franklin Florence, which will be on Friday, February 10 at the Central Church of Christ (101 South Plymouth Ave.) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The funeral will follow from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., which is also open to the public.

There will be an additional public service at the Rochester Convention Center on Saturday, February 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Click here to read more about Rev. Florence’s life and legacy.