Blog & Media Releases

Portrait of Lee County trailblazer now graces her namesake building

by Zach Lunsford | Feb 08, 2018


One of the prominent faces of Lee County history now appears in her namesake building. Our administrators, along with Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann, unveiled a portrait of Melvin Morgan during a public ceremony on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 at our Fort Myers headquarters, the Melvin Morgan Constitutional Complex.

 Morgan is the only African American person ever to serve on the Lee County Commission. She was appointed in 1983 by Gov. Bob Graham, on the recommendation of Mann, to serve out the term of Fred Bartleson, who had resigned for health reasons.

The Dunbar native and longtime Lee County schoolteacher made a strong impression, establishing a reputation for being pleasant but firm, and she showed a commitment to fairness, justice and helping others.

 She brought to the board her experience as a mediator during the desegregation of Lee County schools. Morgan was the 1954 Dunbar High School salutatorian and later taught there. Eventually, she became one of the first teachers to voluntarily leave her post there to teach at a white elementary school.

 In 2013, the commission unanimously voted to rename the building that had been known as the Lee County Constitutional Complex in her honor. We would like to encourage visitors to look for the photo on their next visit, prominently hung in the center of the foyer.