Though he died in 2009 at the age of 87 in Virginia, the legacy of the man often cited as Syracuse’s first black pharmacist remains in bloom, like the fiery red roses he loved. Gaskin’s Pharmacy, which he opened on South Avenue in 1964, may be long gone. But his ties to the city he called home for 43 years will be on full display June 8 when 100 Black Men of Syracuse, in partnership with Crouse Hospital, hosts the fifth annual Winston Gaskin Community Walk for Wellness and Stroke Awareness.
The walk, a featured event of the Syracuse Juneteenth Festival, will be held for the third consecutive year at Thornden Park on Syracuse’s University Hill. Registrations, including a $10 registration fee for participants 13 and older, will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. the day of the walk and in advance online. Participants will walk a designated one-mile, two-mile or three-mile course inside the park.
The walk, which concludes at 11 a.m., honors its namesake, who was an Army veteran, one of three original founders of Housing Visions Unlimited, Inc. and chairman of the Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals during the administration of former Syracuse Mayor Lee Alexander. Gaskin also served on the boards of the Dunbar Center, Syracuse chapter of the NAACP and Onondaga Office of Aging, and he was a gardener for the Syracuse Rose Society.
Proceeds from the walk, which is also dedicated to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke, will benefit the 100 Black Men of Syracuse, Inc. health and wellness initiatives and the Syracuse Juneteenth Festival. Donations are always welcomed from those unable to participate in the walk.