News Release - Statement of Mayor Malik D. Evans on the Passing of Minister Franklin D. Florence

City of Rochester

News Release

(Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023) – When we use the expression “standing on the shoulders of giants,” we are talking about men like Minister Franklin D. Florence, bar none.

Minister Florence was a giant among giants in Rochester’s proud legacy of social justice and civil rights. Fittingly, his name and image are now embedded into the city landscape: On a mural on the outer wall of East High School alongside Malcolm X and Connie Mitchell; and as the namesake of the Minister Franklin D. Florence Civil Rights Heritage Site at Baden Park.

Since his arrival in Rochester in the 1950s, Minister Florence graced our community and the national stage with a dynamic voice that championed the concerns of Black Americans and the universal causes of social justice. In the words of the late Congressman John Lewis, Minister Florence was never afraid to get into “good and necessary trouble” to expose racial and systemic injustice across wide range of issues. These included: quality housing; criminal justice and corrections; fair labor practices; equitable education, child welfare and generational poverty.

A man of God, Minister Florence has gone home to the Lord having his faith as the earthly embodiment of Proverbs 31:8-9: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

My prayers and deepest condolences are with his family, congregation and many, many friends. The city of Rochester is truly blessed to have been the home and canvas of grace of Minister Franklin D. Florence, a giant among giants.