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Gilbert Lawrence Porter

Educator. Born: January 6, 1909. Died: 1995.

Dr. Gilbert Lawrence Porter was born January 6, 1909, in Baldwin City, to parents Abbey W. and Christine (Wright) Porter.  He attended Talladega College located in Georgia and graduated with an bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He earned master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Michigan and a Ph.D from Ohio State University.

He began his career as a science teacher in Florida. He went on to be principal of Tivoli Junior High School in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. After the school became a high school, he moved onto Tallahassee where he worked at Lincoln High School. While there he helped the school gain accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Until that point there were only three African American senior high schools on the accreditation list.  

He married Willie Pearl Keller; they had two children.

Some of his other accomplishments during his five decade career include being the first full-time paid executive secretary of the Florida State Teachers Association (FSTA), he was special assistant to the Dade County Public Schools superintendent, and later the assistant superintendent for Dade County public schools.  He helped to improve educational opportunities for African American students.

In 1990 the Dr. Gilbert L. Porter Elementary School, known for its focus on aerospace, opened in Miami, Florida.  He co-authored a book with Leedell W. Neyland entitled History of the Florida State Teachers Association in 1977.

Porter belonged to many organizations such as the National Education Association, Florida Education Association, and American Association School Administrators; he served on the board of directors of the Florida Council on Human Relations, United Negro College Fund, Alpha Phi Fraternity, Sigma Phi Fraternity, and Miami Chapter March of Dimes; and he was the Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity delegate to the White House Conference on Children and Youth.  He served as the president of the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc.

He died on July 7, 1995.

Entry: Porter, Gilbert Lawrence

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2016

Date Modified: June 2017

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.