FROM STAFF REPORTS
Daytona Times and Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II is one of four book authors who will keynote the two-day Fourth Annual F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival, a local literary gathering of approximately 30 published authors and hundreds of book lovers and readers.
All events will be at the Midtown Cultural and Educational Center, 925 George Engram Blvd., Daytona Beach.
The festival starts Friday, Jan. 2, when guests can eat and sip drinks at the “Meet and Greet” from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The occasion will showcase jazz by Saxman and poetry hosted by Milton McCulloch. Poet Devery Broox II will perform and there will be an open mic for poets to participate.
Laurence “Blinky” Walden also will unveil a masterpiece made in memory of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman University. Authors will be selling and signing books. Edward Tucker Catering will provide food.
The entry fee is $25.
Doors will open 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3. The festival’s special guest author Eve Wright Taylor and other featured authors, including Janis F. Kearney, Kentrell Martin, Sheryl Gormley, and Cherry will speak.
The entry fee is $3. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
Cherry is the author of “Excellence Without Excuse: The Black Student’s Guide to Academic Excellence,” a book originally written in 1993, as a result of his experience as a criminal prosecutor.
It is considered to be one of the best books ever written on improving academic performance for Black students. It is still used as a textbook in college-preparation classes and seminars. The original “Excellence Without Excuse” was republished with a new Introduction as a “Classic Edition” in 2013.
A Daytona Beach native, Cherry is a graduate of Morehouse College (B.A., Journalism with honors, 1978). As a college sophomore, Cherry wrote and produced the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weekend sportscasts for WAGA-TV 5, then Atlanta’s CBS affiliate.
He left the television industry for the law and business, graduating from the University of Florida’s Holland Law Center (now Levin College of Law) and Graduate School of Business with both Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees, respectively, in 1982.
He is a former Fort Lauderdale city and South Florida state prosecutor, and practiced law for 21 years before returning to journalism and newspaper publishing as his primary occupation upon the death of his father Charles, Sr. in 2004.
Cherry was a founding shareholder and former general counsel of Tama Broadcasting, formerly one of America’s largest Black-owned media groups. For the past 25 years, he has written commentaries, editorials, and stories for the Daytona Times. His 30-minute radio commentary, Free Your Mind, aired on WPUL-AM 1590 from 2000 to 2013. His award-winning weekly column, Straight, No Chaser, has appeared in the Florida Courier since 2006.
He was elected to the board of directors of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade association representing more than 200 Black newspapers, in 2009. He also serves on the Government Affairs committee of the Florida Newspaper Association, the trade association representing Florida’s newspaper industry.
Cherry is the father of two children: daughter Chayla, 14, and son Charles III, 10.
As a bonus, at 2 p.m., Kearney and Martin will be presenting writers’ workshops and holding book signings at the Daytona Beach Regional Library on City Island. That program is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by The Friends of the Daytona Beach Library. Refreshments will be provided.
The F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival sponsors include the City of Daytona Beach; Vitas Innovative Hospice Care; Pepsi; and Homewood Suites. Other festival sponsors include Best Western; Carolyn Hawkins of Realty Exchange; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; LasDiamonds II; Commissioner Paula Reed, Daytona Beach Zone 6; and Volusia County, Florida.
For tickets or information, call 386-627-4353, or email Freshbookfestivals@gmail.com.