ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The community came to honor the legacy of Minister Franklin Florence at the Central Church of Christ Friday evening. Florence is known here in Rochester and across the US as a fighter for civil rights, and a man who spearheaded equal opportunities for minorities in the workplace.

Felicia Florence is married to Franklin Florence’s son and has been a member of the family going on 43 years. She remembers Franklin as an affectionate patriarch of the family. 

“‘Pop’ was instrumental. You know, that’s what I started calling him,” she said.

But we —the community— remember him as Minister Florence, a civil rights icon. The turnout Friday at the Central Church of Christ said Felicia speaks to his character and legacy. 

“It says that people don’t forget,” said Felicia.

County Executive Adam Bello took to the podium, calling Franklin Florence a ‘towering figure’ in the fight for equality. 

“The loss of Minister Florence is a loss for our entire community. But for you all, it is so intimate. It is so personal,” he said.

Mayor Malik Evans described Florence as an activist, an activist who didn’t need to say he was one. “He was a workhorse. Not a showhorse,” said Evans.

Evans said Florence led the way in ending discriminatory practices at major companies like Xerox, Kodak, and General Motors. His legacy has yet to reach its potential. 

“He has planted so many seeds that have not even bloomed yet because of the work he put forward,” said Evans, also touching on Florence’s fight for equal housing in the city.

Florence also was an activist with F.I.G.H.T. (Freedom, Independence, God, Honor, Today) and marched alongside the like of Reverend Al Sharpton.

Felicia said Florence had a talent from God to rally people behind him. Unfortunately, she says– there is still work to do. 

“The undercurrents of racism continue to affect all peoples, but particularly people of color.”

Minister Florence and his family were given the key to the City of Rochester and the key to Monroe County. The actual funeral service for Florence will take place Saturday at the Riverside Convention Center starting at 11 am.