Vanishing Point - Historical Daytona Times Building Targeted By Arsonist
The Daytona Times Newspaper Building, located at 429 South Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, was set on fire on Wednesday, March 12, 2020. It has been determined by the Daytona Beach Fire Marshall, that the fire was the work of an arsonist. The Daytona Times is the only African-American newspaper in Daytona Beach. The building was originally owned by Walter Peterson, a black surgeon. Dr. Peterson sold the building in 1970 to another black physician, John R. Parnell. In 1981, Dr. Parnell sold the building to Charles Cherry, who had founded the Daytona Times in 1978. Mr. Cherry, who moved to Daytona Beach in 1952, became one of the community's leading civil rights activists, participating in sit-ins, marches and labor strikes during the 1960s and 1970s to bring about racial integration and social justice.
Mr. Cherry served as president of the Volusia County branch of the NAACP in 1971. He served as president of the Florida NAACP from 1974 to 1984 and afterward headed the local chapter again. Mr. Cherry was elected to the Daytona Beach City Commission in 1995 and served as a commissioner until his death in 2004. Following Mr. Cherry's death, his two sons, Charles Cherry II and Glenn Cherry took over the publication of the Daytona Times and the family's other black-oriented newspaper, the Florida Courier, located in Fort Pierce. The Cherry brothers own Tampa Broadcasting, the largest privately black-owned media company in Florida, which consists of the Daytona Times, the Florida Courier, plus 11 radio stations in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
The building housed records and equipment belonging to the Daytona Times and Florida Courier newspaper, as well as the radio broadcasting facilities of WPUL 1590/100.7 FM. The Daytona Times Building was an iconic historical landmark in the city of Daytona Beach black community.