Location of African American Landmarks Through Brevard County
By Florida Division of Historic Resources Staff
Richard E. Stone Historic District and Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center are two notable sites in Brevard County.
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 Brevard County. While some of these sites can be visited, other listings are marked "private" and are not open to the public.
Harry T. Moore Center
307 Blake Avenue
This is the site of the first black school in Cocoa and the only original black high school now standing in Brevard County. Built in 1924 as Cocoa Junior High School. The old school was vacant for many years until it was renovated by the Childcare Association of Brevard County and renamed the Harry T. Moore Center, in honor of the civil rights activist from Mims. (321) 264-6777.
Richard E. Stone Historic District
121-304 Stone Street
The district is named for Richard E. Stone, who invented and patented the Directional Signal Light for automobiles in 1935. Stone established the first recreational center building, Cocoa’s first black professional baseball team, and helped organize the Cocoa-Rockledge Civil League.
Stone Funeral Home
516 King Street
This funeral home was established in 1923 to serve all of Brevard County. By the 1930s, brothers Richard E. Stone and Reverend Albert T. Stone operated the Stone Brothers Funeral Homes, with branches in Melbourne, Fort Pierce and Cocoa. Stone Funeral Home is one of Brevard’s oldest businesses and is still in operation today.
Wright Brothers House
2310 Lipscomb Street (Private)
Wright Brothers was among Melbourne’s first settlers, establishing his homestead in the area by 1877. Brothers’ frame vernacular house was constructed circa 1892.
Corner of Church Street and Race Street
The site of the first black school of south Melbourne, the two-story Melbourne School was built by Brevard County between 1920-1921 on land donated by pioneer landowner, John S. Stone. Burned to the ground in December 1953, only the band room was left standing. (321) 255-4608.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Community Cemetery
North Tropical Trail, Merritt Island
Originally known as the White Lily Cemetery, the Mount Olive Courtenay Community Cemetery was on the grounds adjacent to the Bethel AME Church, one of the first black churches on Merritt Island. Grave sites date from 1919.
Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center
2180 Freedom Avenue
The Moore Memorial Park, on the property of the original Moore family home site, honors the lives of Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore, educators and leading local and national civil rights activists. Opened in 2004, the 11.93-acre park features the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Center and Museum, Moore Family Replica House, Twin Reflecting Pools with Flowing Fountain, Meditation Area and Special Events Gazebo, Community Pavilion and a Florida Civil Rights Walking/Nature Trail is dedicated to preserving African American history. The Cultural Center Museum is a repository of Moore family artifacts, historical documents, and features a timeline of strategic events of the pre-civil rights era beginning with slavery. To stimulate appreciation of African American culture and heritage, programs include visual, literary and performing arts, as well as on-site and outreach exhibitions.
More Information About Harry Tyson Moore
1906-1951, Civil Rights Activist
A native of Suwannee County, Harry T. Moore was president of the Brevard County Branch of the NAACP and later president, then state coordinator, of the Florida Conference of the NAACP. For seventeen years, Moore traveled through Florida, organizing NAACP branches, investigating lynchings, protesting acts of police brutality and organizing voter registration campaigns. On the evening of Christmas day 1951, a bomb planted under Moore’s small, six-room cottage in Mims killed Moore and his wife Harriette. In August of 2006, then Attorney General Charlie Crist released the results of a 20-month investigation into the murder of Harry and Harriette Moore. The fatal bombing of the couple’s home – on their 25th wedding anniversary – was never officially solved. The investigation pointed to extensive circumstantial evidence that the Moores were victims of a conspiracy by exceedingly violent members of the Ku Klux Klan. Details of the investigation and the Harry Moore case are available here. Moore was designated a Great Floridian in 2007.
Gibson Tenement Houses
Chain of Lakes Heritage Park at Brevard Community College, Titusville Campus
Three shotgun style tenement houses formerly located on Palm Avenue are the remaining evidence of what used to be the vibrant black-owned business section along South Street in Titusville. Owned by the William Gibson family and built in the early 1900s, a complex of these homes provided housing for grove workers, farm hands, and railroad workers. The remaining three houses were relocated by the Brevard County Historical Commission to Chain of Lakes Heritage Park on Brevard Community College’s Titusville Campus and are awaiting restoration. (321) 433-4415.
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 flheritage.com.