Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
On May 22, 2018, the City of Fernandina Beach formally dedicated the auditorium of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center on Elm Street, renaming it in honor of African American community activist and former Vice Mayor Patricia A. Thompson. Mayor John Miller read Resolution 2018-46, which officially enacted the name change on April 3, 2018.
The resolution called out Thompson’s successful career in radio and television broadcasting, education and business. She served as President of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for 20 years during which time she also received a number of distinguished designations in local and regional African American organizations.
Patricia Thompson is also recognized as the first female African American City Commissioner in Fernandina Beach. Elected in 1999, she served as commissioner until 2001 and as Vice Mayor from 2001-2002. During this time she initiated the renaming of the Elm Street Recreation Center to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center.
In remarks, three sitting commissioners joined Mayor Miller: Vice Mayor Len Kreger, Commissioner Phil Chapman and Commissioner Chip Ross. All commissioners praised Thompson’s contributions to the city, regretting that the recognition had been so long in process. Ross called her an excellent role model for the community.
A neighborhood celebration will be held later this summer.