Meet Local 6's first African-American employee
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 08:48:55 AM EST
In 1948, WKMG Local 6 videographer Tee Taylor was born in Quincy, Fla. The oldest of 5, his mother Alfreda Taylor raised their family on practicing good discipline and respect. Growing up poor, Taylor spent his days working the tobacco and cotton fields of north Florida. This was before the civil rights movement so Tee experienced the segregation of the South first hand. “You understood your place in life and you respected that. As long as you respected it, you had no problems. That’s was just the way life was in 50s and 60s. “
At age 16, Taylor was involved in encouraging the desegregation that followed the civil rights movement. Taylor and his friends would ride around and try to integrate the few establishments in his small town. In particular, he recalls going to Chandler Hamburger Joint, where it was known that the front was for whites and the back was for blacks. When the civil rights movement finally gained momentum, the blacks started moving toward the front and it was accepted. With that success, however, there were still instances where people weren’t open to change. On the city bus, whites would get on Taylor’s case if he sat too close to them, forcing him to move toward the back of the bus.
After graduating from high school, Taylor had the chance to attend Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University on a drum scholarship for band. But once he weighed his options, he decided to join the Air Force, where he served for 4 years.
Ending his service run in Orlando, one night while watching TV he saw a public service announcement through the Broadcast Skills Bank that offered minorities who had completed their military obligations a position. The next morning he applied and 42 years later, he’s still working for Local 6.
In 1970, he became one of the first African-Americans employed in the market and the first African-American hired at Local 6. He started working in production and it wasn’t long before they realized he had the “it” factor needed to work in the television industry. As a result, they moved him to the news department and let him choose to work with photography. Taylor says that he got his start after picking up the camera and naturally knowing what to do. “WKMG saw the potential in me and gave me a opportunity. I’ve been able to stick around for 44 years because I was born to do this.”
During his time at Local 6 he’s traveled to Jamaica, the Bahamas, Japan, Paris, Switzerland, Africa (twice), all of the United States. He's been to 13 Super Bowls, and any bowl game played by a Florida team. His wife of 14 years and 2 children especially enjoy all of the souvenirs he collects on his assignments. Taylor has won numerous awards and is one of the most popular and easily recognized cameramen in Florida. When asked about his time spent at Local 6 and future, Taylor replied, “My life has been full! It’s continuous and it’s not over yet”.