St. Pete to install ‘Courageous 12’ monument at former police headquarters

It will be the second marker honoring the group's work.

St. Petersburg will install a monument honoring the “Courageous 12” at the city’s former police headquarters in the historic EDGE District.  

The Courageous 12 is a group of Black St. Petersburg police officers who filed a discrimination lawsuit in 1965 in order to gain the same as their white counterparts. At the time, the city was still segregated. 

The officers eventually prevailed, after first having a federal judge dismiss the suit.

Officer Leon Jackson, the sole surviving member of the group, became the first Black officer assigned to an all-white neighborhood.

The suit paved the way for officers across the county to fight institutional discrimination. After the success of the Courageous 12, four Tampa officers filed a similar lawsuit and won.

“We did something for ourselves,” Jackson said in a news release. “The by-product is, we made history.”

The city will develop the monument in a partnership with EDGE Central Development, which will contribute a minimum of $50,000 and up to $100,000 for the project. The St. Petersburg Public Arts Commission has also pledged $100,000 to the monument.

The City Council will vote Aug. 20 to approve the site of the monument at 1300 First Ave. N. — the former Police Department. 

“The Courageous Twelve opened the door for all races to hold high-ranking positions throughout the St. Petersburg Police Department, as well as police departments around the country,” Police Chief Anthony Holloway said in a news release. “This monument will ensure that their sacrifices will never be forgotten.” 

The monument will be the second permanent installation honoring the Courageous 12 in St. Pete. In 2019, the city unveiled a plaque inside the lobby of the city’s new police department headquarters.

“Mr. Jackson and his fellow officers weren’t just courageous, they were resilient,” said St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman in a news release. “The Courageous 12 made our police department and our entire city a better and fairer place, and it is an honor for me to help ensure they are properly honored and remembered for as long as the sun shines on our great city.”

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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