“We have a proposed art project “AL Downing Park” that is under consideration by the city of St. Petersburg.
We are asking for support from the Woodson and other key organizations like yours to help celebrate on the iconic pioneers of Civil Rights in St. Pete, Mr. Al Downing.
Please support the creation of the Al Downing Park in St. Petersburg
Wed May 4th, 2002 2pm City Hall. Review of the Sunset Park/ West Side Park
If you cannot make the meeting can you send a letter/ email of endorsement to:’ Lynn Goodwin’ Lynn.Goodwin@stpete.org
Cultural Affairs Coordinator—Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Re: West Side Parks Public Art Project
The Al Downing Park will be a space for creating music on outdoor musical instruments and in time a space for performance at Sunset Park.
Al Downing Park is to honor Mr. Downing an outstanding citizen of St. Petersburg, and a well-known jazz musician, who founded the jazz organization that is now known as Al Downing Jazz that recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
Mr. Downing was a man of firsts. In WWII, he was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. He rose to the rank of Major and served until 1961. Upon returning to St. Petersburg, he was a leading musician, teacher, and civil rights leader. He became the first Black commissioner of St. Petersburg Housing Authority, and the first black performer with the symphony orchestra. In the time of segregation when our community was suffering from lingering effects of Jim Crow segregation, he brought people together. This project seeks to honor this extraordinary man and exemplary citizen through creating the “Al Downing Park.”