(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E148-E149]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                        HONORING MR. VYRLE DAVIS


                           HON. KATHY CASTOR

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life 
and accomplishments of Mr. Vyrle Davis. His contributions to education 
and social reform in the Tampa Bay community and throughout the state 
of Florida are worthy of recognition by all.
  Mr. Davis, a native of the Tampa Bay community, attended Florida 
Agricultural and Mechanical University, before beginning his teaching 
career at 16th Street Elementary and Junior High School in 1960. 
Inspired by both his grandfather, a teacher who established the first 
school for African-American children in Jackson County, and his mother, 
who taught African-American students in a one-room schoolhouse within 
the Citrus Park community, Mr. Davis broke both racial and social 
barriers within his profession.
  In 1971, Mr. Davis was named assistant principal at Gibbs High School 
and two years later he became principal at St. Petersburg High School. 
In 1986, he overcame countless obstacles to become Pinellas County's 
first African-American superintendent, a position he held for nine 
  Mr. Davis was also an advocate for social reform. In 1984, he 
established the Ebony Scholars program, providing institutional and 
financial support to high-achieving African-American students. Not only 
did Mr. Davis participate in raising money for his organization, he 
also contributed a significant amount of his own time and money. To 
date, the program has allocated over $500,000 to students.
  By 1990, Mr. Davis had left an indelible mark by reforming the role 
of African-Americans in political office. He founded multiple 
organizations, such as the African-American Voters Registration and 
Education Committee, that advanced both the political and educational 
causes of African Americans. He formed a coalition of other activists, 
whose mission was to help minorities attain elected

[[Page E149]]

positions within their neighborhoods. Specifically, he played a 
momentous role in the campaign of Mary Brown, a woman who became the 
first elected African-American Pinellas County School Board member.
  Although he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2004, he never 
let his illness deter him from doing that which he truly loved. He was 
admired by the Tampa Bay community, and those who knew him, revered 
  As I join with Mr. Davis's family and friends in mourning the passing 
of an outstanding individual, I know they are incredibly proud of the 
contributions he has made to the Tampa Bay area. The entire Pinellas 
County community honors and remembers the 76 year life of Vyrle Davis. 
Mr. Vyrle Davis molded the lives of generations of students through his 
dedication to education and to the community as a whole. His example 
will continue to live through those that worked with him and those who 
learned from him. I ask that you and all Americans recognize such a 
remarkable citizen for his service to our community and our State.