Streets bear name of men who donated much time and talent to Daytona Beach community.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Last week, the Daytona Times noted some local parks and buildings named after some of the area’s most prominent Black residents.
The focus this week is on streets named after African-Americans who made an impact on the area, including Charles W. Cherry Sr.; Dr. Henry Butts Sr.; George W. Engram and Rev. Carl Brinkley.
George W. Engram Boulevard
George W. Engram owned and operated Engram Electric Company, which was the first Black-owned electric company. He also owned Engram Rentals.
“Engram was a good boss. He taught me the ropes. Back in those days we often worked all night Saturday and all night Sunday,” commented George McLendon, who worked for Engram in the mid-1940s. McLendon owns McLendon Electric Services at 751 Bellevue Ave.
At one time McLendon, Lloyd Electric and Engram Electric were the three Black-owned electric contractors in town.
Engram moved to Daytona in 1933, influenced by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
Despite having an electrician degree from Tuskegee, Engram worked at Second Avenue’s Ritz Theater as a film projectionist due to segregation.
He also taught applied electrical sciences at the then Bethune-Cookman College.
Engram was the first Black to past the state electrical contractor exam.
“He was a man of determination. He succeeded when the odds were stacked against the Black man.
He along with so many other electricians that came under and after him. We weren’t wanted in the business,” recalls McLendon.
In 1948, Engram lost a runoff for the Daytona Beach City Council as he sought to become the first Black on the council since Joseph Brook Hankerson, who was elected in 1898. Engram also lost an election bid in 1960.
Engram also played a role in acquiring Bethune Beach near New Smyrna Beach. Back during segregation, Blacks were banned from Daytona Beach.
In 1996, even though confined to a wheelchair, Engram carried the Olympic torch through town.
He died in 1998. Shortly before his death, the city named Cypress Street and parts of Fairview Avenue after him.
“That’s a great honor; he was a great citizen. It’s also a great honor for those who knew him,” said McLendon.
Engram Road in New Smyrna Beach also bears his name. It runs to Bethune Beach.
Charles W. Cherry Sr. Causeway
Charles W. Cherry Sr. Causeway is located on parts of International Speedway Boulevard between Nova Road and Ridgewood Avenue.
“It’s a great honor. We’re thankful. It’s ironic that it runs through one part of the city going towards the beach. He fought hard to make Daytona Beach one city,” said his oldest son, Charles W. Cherry II.
The elder Cherry, who died in 2004, was a civil rights activist, educator, entrepreneur and politician.
He founded the Daytona Times, which is currently in its 43rd year, and the 10-year-old Florida Courier. Cherry also started the WPUL-AM 1590 radio station. With radio stations around the country, Cherry and his family at one time owned and operated one of the nation’s leading Black-owned media companies. In 2014, he was inducted posthumously into the Florida Press Association Hall of Fame.
His civic involvement included nearly five terms on the Daytona Beach City Commission.
Cherry’s business acumen included ownership of Mormen Realty and a bail bonds company. His community activism led him to serve as president of the local NAACP for years.
For more than 10 years, he was president of the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches. One of his most early notable achievements was in 1964 when he was called upon to bail out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from a St. Augustine jail after a protest.
Cherry and King both attended Morehouse College.
Dr. Henry Butts Drive
Butts, who died in May 2010, was pastor of Butts Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ located at 636 Hawk St.
The Daytona Beach native was a graduate of Campbell Street High, attended Bethune-Cookman College, and studied computers at IBM in Rochester, Minnesota.
He received his doctorate of divinity at Trinity Hall College in Louisville, Kentucky in 1986. Butts also served in the United States Air Force from 1957 to 1967.
Butts’ community involvement included the Community Development Advisory Board, the NAACP, and founding the Daily Bread Feeding Program. He was a charter member of the Mary McLeod Bethune Center and the Daytona Beach Police Ministers Association.
He also played a part in getting a bandshell/stage set up in Daisy Stocking Park.
In 2010, the Daytona Beach City Commission named School Street after him.
Carl Brinkley Circle
The Rev. Carl Brinkley only has a small circle that goes around the Pine Haven Housing complex named after him. However, his influence and impact expanded far beyond the Daytona Beach area.
Brinkley was a longtime CEO and executive director of the Daytona Beach Housing Authority, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, and the first Black sheriff deputy in Volusia County.
He was born in 1925 in Newark, New Jersey, where he also grew up. He was one of the few Black kids to attend Central Avenue Elementary and Junior high schools.
In 1942, Brinkley enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 16 and served in World War II.
In 1948, he came to Daytona to assist his elderly grandparents who were more well off than most Blacks. They were friends with Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
He became the first Black full-time deputy sheriff in Volusia County in 1952, and later became its first Black sergeant.
In 1958, he began working in the maintenance department of the Housing Authority and later became the CEO. He served the Housing Authority for 40 years.
Brinkley became an ordained minister in 1948 and pastored churches in Port Orange, Bunnell, Altamonte Springs, Merritt Island and Sanford.
He also spent some time as a professional boxer.
Brinkley died in February 2016 at age 90.