Derek E. Bruce, a University of Florida Levin College of Law graduate, was profiled recently by the law school for his lobbying efforts to honor an area civil rights leader, the late Reverand Kenneth C. Crossman.
Bruce helped author the legislation, signed into law in June, designating a portion of the railroad bridge over U.S. Highway 17-92 at the Maitland-Winter Park line for Rev. Crossman.
The white minister, who died in 2004, preached at churches in Orlando, Melbourne, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Casselberry, and Deltona.
He was known as the “Bridge Builder” for his activism encouraging people of different races and religions to work together as a community.
The bridge, which connects Winter Park and Eatonville, acts as a literal and symbolic remembrance of his life’s work, according to John Crossman, son of the late minister, and owner of Crossman & Company.
John Crossman spearheaded the effort to have the bridge named after his father, and he turned to Bruce for help.
A Gunster government affairs lawyer, and Florida native, Bruce found advocating on behalf of the bridge-renaming legislation the perfect way to leverage his professional skills to help honor diversity trailblazers in the state such as Rev. Crossman.
A celebration of the renaming of the Reverend Kenneth C. Crossman bridge was held in September at the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park. At the event, Cecily Crossman said of her late husband, “He was a master bridge builder across social, racial and religious boundaries, making the seemingly impossible happen with his passion.” See below for photos from the celebration.
Read the entire UF profile of Derek Bruce: Alum’s legal and legislative expertise aids effort to honor civil rights leader (UF Law news, 11/6/17)
Read related news articles:
- Orange County bridge dedicated to Rev. Ken Crossman (The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church, 9/20/17)
- A bridge for the ‘Bridge Builder’ (Orange Observer, 9/14/17)
- Bridge between Winter Park, Maitland named for civil rights leader Kenneth Crossman (Orlando Sentinel, 9/12/17), including a video with John Crossman