A Decision Deserving Congratulations
In any event, given the prominence of the sender, Tallahassee City Commissioner Curtis Richardson surely would have been inclined to make Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce officials aware of an e-mail he received applauding the Chamber’s withdrawal of its plans to hold its 2016 annual conference in Walton County. But, now, circumstances had unexpectedly become especially poignant. The move by the Chamber was made in response to what has come to be known familiarly as the “flag controversy.” The e-mailer saw the response as one “deserving congratulations.” Richardson, himself, had commended the Chamber’s decision in a statement he released Aug. 5. The Chamber, he said, had had a responsibility to react to the vote by the Walton County Commission to continue to fly a Confederate flag at the courthouse in DeFuniak Springs. In reacting, Richardson wrote, the Chamber “sent a signal that all stand in solidarity in our commitment to embrace diversity and inclusiveness in our community.” The Chamber’s reaction and the commissioner’s statement in turn prompted the e-mail to Richardson from one of the most steadfast and effective promoters of civil rights in the U.S. over the past half-century. Conference emcee Gary Yordon read that e-mail as the Sunday (Aug. 16) session of the Chamber’s 2015 conference got underway at the Hilton Sandestin, then revealed that the sender had been Julian Bond, who had died just a few hours earlier not far down the road in Fort Walton Beach.