by Carol Gordon
Retired journalist Harriet Ludwig, co-founder of the Civic Media Center and a frequent columnist and letter-writer to The Gainesville Sun, died June 28, 2018. She was 93.
Ludwig was a long-time resident of Gainesville, newspaper reporter, advocate for civil rights, women, education, housing and health care. She wrote extensively and was actively involved in local politics to promote policy change for these issues.
Ludwig was also a founding member of the Civic Media Center and served on the local NAACP education committee and HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-school Youngsters.) N’Kwanda Jah, director of the Cultural Arts Coalition in Gainesville, said she began working with Ludwig on community issues in the late 1980s. Jah said Ludwig was committed to improving residents’ lives.
“She has always been a champion, especially in education and housing in the African-American community. She wrote about it, she worked on it,” Jah said. “She worked really hard to get the Unitarians to become aware of issues in the African-American community and to be allies.”
Ludwig continued writing for weekly alternative newspapers and was a frequent contributor to The Sun. Her most recent column in The Sun was in January 2015 and was about the 1965 civil rights marches in Alabama. Ludwig and her husband went there to attend the funeral of a Unitarian minister, Rev. James Reeb, who was killed by police during one of the marches. Rev. Martin Luther King gave the eulogy.
She was the recipient of many awards including 1997 Child Advocate Award for Intergenerational Leadership, Center for Children and Youth, FL; 2000 National Public Citizen of the Year, National Association of Social Workers; 2000 Women of Distinction Award, Alachua/Bradford County; 2001 Friends of Susan B. Anthony Award, Gainesville, FL; and 2004 Hall of Fame Award, Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida.
The Board of County Commissioners of Alachua County proclaimed December 12, 2000 as ‘Harriet M. Ludwig Day’ in tribute to her community service.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 27 from 2 to 4 pm at the Thomas Center. Music provided by Sidney Bertisch and Kali Blount.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Cultural Arts Coalition, 321 NW 10th Street, Gainesville, 32601 (culturalartscoalition.org) are welcome.
The Gainesville Sun archives contain about 125 articles and columns that Harriet wrote over a span of more than 15 years. You can access them online at https://www.gainesville.com/search?text=archives.