Thursday, November 02, 2006


I am deeply saddened this morning to read of the death of a wonderful man, Charles Mitchell Streeter, II.

The longtime educator and community activist fought many battles in his 76 years, but he couldn't win his final battle against emphysema, which took his life Tuesday at Winter Haven Hospital.

Mr. Streeter cared a great deal about his community, and especially about improving the lot of the area's African-American children. He kept the promise he made to his parents, that he would "do more for other Black children than we did for you". Indeed, Charles Streeter did just that over 40 years in the education field as a teacher, coach, and administrator in Polk County.

He fought the fights during the stormy years of desegregation, and even afterward over issues such as the school district's practice of assigning a disproportional number of black students to programmes for mentally disabled students and racial imbalance in school enrollments. Even as Mr. Streeter was battling the disease that would eventually take his life, he was studying the suspension rates of black students in the school district. But although he was best known for his work on behalf of black children, he cared deeply about all kids regardless of the colour of their skin.

I had the pleasure of knowning Mr. Streeter, who served on the Polk County Opportunity Council's board of directors, while I served on it's Head Start Policy Council. He always presented himself with dignity, and respected everyone and their points of view. Charles Streeter was a fine man, and his presence will be sincerely missed.

The Lakeland Ledger reports:

Streeter is survived by his children, Charles Mitchell Streeter, III, Ocala; Jacqueline Streeter Nichols, Palm Bay; Robin Guy, Raleigh, N.C.; Michael Jimerson. Odessa and Atlanta; and Paula Williams, Kennesaw, Ga.; brother, James W. Streeter, Haines City; sister, Gladys L. Wooten, Jasper, Tenn.; 15 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 123 Ave. Y, N.E., Winter Haven. Services will be held Saturday at Cypress Cathedral, 1801 Havendale Blvd. N.W. Burial will be in Rolling Hills Cemetery. A meal will be held at New Bethel Baptist Church.

It is time to Rest in Peace, my friend. As Kahlil Gibran wrote in his classic, The Prophet:

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink form the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.


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