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Tuesday, February 07, 2023
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Former Gainesville mayor, city commissioner and civil rights pioneer Edward Jennings Sr. was considered to be a legacy. 

Jennings Sr. died Friday evening, according to the Gainesville Sun. He was 82. 

He was a “core civil rights leader” in Gainesville and Alachua County, Mayor Lauren Poe said.

Poe announced on Twitter Sunday that flags at city buildings will be flown at half-mast until Friday in honor of Jennings. 

Jennings served the Gainesville community as a public servant for nearly two decades, according to the Gainesville Sun. He was Gainesville’s first community affairs coordinator in 1971, a city commissioner in 1993 and later appointed mayor in 1996.

Even after retiring from public service, Jennings remained involved in the community as a volunteer and mentor. He was a bridge-builder and peacemaker who devoted himself to bettering the community, Poe told The Alligator.

Poe said Jennings used to say, “It’s never about the last vote, it’s always about the next vote,” which was his way of saying there’s always more work left to be done. 

City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos wrote in an email to The Alligator Sunday that he was saddened to learn about Jennings’ passing and sent his thoughts to his family and friends.  

“He was a man who fought for equality, and our city is a better place because of his public service to our community,” Hayes-Santos wrote. 

The chief human services administrator for Hillsborough County, Carl Harness, shared the news of Jennings’ passing in a Facebook post on Friday. In the post, Harness described Jennings as a man of integrity and a voice for the voiceless. 

“We were truly blessed to have the opportunity to love Ed over the years as one of our own family members,” Harness wrote. “And there was no question that Ed Sr. could do some serious cake baking.”

Contact Grethel Aguila at gaguila@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter at @GrethelAguila. 

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