WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The City of Winter Haven is paying tribute to local Black heroes who blazed new trails. Attorney Larry D. Hardaway is one of the people being celebrated for his compassion for the community.
“It is my desire and purpose to give support to those regardless of cultural, educational, economic, racial, political, and/or financial status,” Larry Hardaway is quoted as saying.
That quote embodies what his life's work was all about. Hardaway attended Winter Haven High School during its first year of integration and excelled.
“My uncle always talked about how he was voted as the president of his class and not many people totally agreed with that back then, but because when they saw who he was inside, they tend to love him,” said Shandra Blocker, Larry Hardaway’s niece.
After earning his law degree from the University of Florida, Hardaway opened his own practice. Blocker said the prominent attorney, worked pro-bono, investing back into the community. He was the president of the Polk County Voters’ League and worked to restore voting rights to ex-felons.
“He would always say you don’t have to get paid for everything, it will come to you and I'm totally seeing that now,” Blocker said.
To honor his dedication to the community, the city has placed banners of Hardaway and other local black heroes around downtown.
“You can ask throughout the streets of Polk County, who Mr. Hardaway was and what impact he had on individuals and it’s just overwhelming to see the positive impact he had,” said Marissa Barnes, Special Event and Marketing Coordinator for the City of Winter Haven.
Mayor Bradley Dantzler has also proclaimed the week of February 7 as “Larry D. Hardaway week.”
Hardaway passed away September 9, 2021, but his family is grateful that his lasting impact will live on.
“His huge heart, giving back, loving his community, never saying no and always representing where he came from,” Blocker said.