The Legacy’s Future
Philip Sylvester was born November 1st, 1988 in Jackson County Hospital at “8:32 in the morning, bright and sunny”. He was raised by Danny and Ruby Sylvester in Edenhill, near Marianna. He has an older brother, Danny Ray Sylvester Junior, as well as a younger sister, Sierra Sylvester. His grandparents, uncles, and cousins lived together on property bought by his grandfather in the 1940s.
“[Living with my relatives] was just a good time. You know, everybody got along” and recalls how they would play on the street together.”Philip Sylvester
At 10 years old, Philip went with his father to work at Renaissance Park “laying bricks, or cutting grass, or trying to build a building, cleaning up antic things.” He says, “some of my best childhood memories, I’d say, would be all of them. All my years were good, we had a good life – a good, balanced life – a lot of work and a little bit of play”.
Benefits of Education
Philip attended school in Jackson County and recalled some of his teachers, Shirley Roulhac, B. Williams, and Glenda Clawford. The two knew his parents, and this dynamic between his teachers and family is what he believed “held a community”. When reflecting on significant landmarks in his community, Philip says “One of the most beautiful things about the church is, in the past, it serves as a soul, not only spiritual but as social, you know, benevolent”. He adds that “it was a place that people were proud to go, a safe place”.
Philip spoke highly of Renaissance Park, saying “We spent the last 30 years working” on maintaining the landscape. He likes to focus on the advantages of Jackson County. He enjoys talking about the transportation networks and the abundance of colleges and universities in North Florida. Philip pointed out that “universities are not only economic drivers, but they are also, I would call, social change drivers”. Philip attended Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He also received an academic football scholarship and says that “going to FAMU was the best decision I ever made”. Philip has worked at the Florida Gulf and Atlantic Railroad company for almost a decade in Dothan. He has been married for six years and has a baby that is two-and-a-half years old.
Building a Legacy
Philip talks about the wisdom passed down through his family by sharing stories. Philip says that “there were a lot of passed down stories. But, in all the stories, all of them lead back to doing the right thing and working hard. And to take care of everybody and to love one another and just, do the right thing. That’s most of the stories we had”. These lessons passed down have instilled a sense of importance and value in remembering the past. Additionally, they highlight working hard in the present for the future.
He shared a story about his grandmother traveling alone with two small boys, getting lost, and eventually finding help. He describes this story as “a profound story about not being scared to step out of your comfort zone and go do something – because they did it back then, surely we can do it now”. Looking toward the future, Philip believes that intellectual property is paramount in building a legacy for the future.