First Missionary Baptist Church in Sebring

By: Florida Division of Historic Resources Staff

Clarence Marion's former home soon to be a museum and community center.

Florida has a rich and diverse history.  African American landmarks and legacies exist in various locations throughout the state. The following historical sites can be found in Highlands County.  While some of these sites can be visited, other listings are marked "private" and are not open to the public.

Avon Park
Hopewell Public School

100 Ernest E. Sims Street (Private)
Hopewell School was the first public school for African Americans in Avon Park, serving for many years as the center for educational, cultural and social activities.

Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church

818 South Delaney Avenue
This one-story masonry vernacular style building with Neo-Gothic elements was built in 1940. The congregation was organized in 1920.

The E.O. Douglas

School Street
Built in 1957, the E.O. Douglas School was an all-black school named for the citizen activist and president of the First National Bank. The old wooden school building was originally located on Harris Street. Following integration, the final structure on School Street became headquarters of the Highlands County School Administration.

First Missionary Baptist Church
Lemon Street
Organized in 1913, the First Missionary Baptist Church was constructed from concrete blocks made with a hand-block press by Sebring’s first black carpenter and second black police officer, John Grady. It is one of the town’s oldest black churches.

Home of Claud C. Marion
829 Lemon Street
Claud C. Marion was Sebring’s first black principal and the principal of the E.O. Douglas School.

Adapted from Florida Black Heritage Trail, published by the Florida Department of State, in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, copyright 2007.  For more information on African American sites, please visit

Additional information can also be found at:

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