Florida boasts a rich, diverse history, with African American landmarks and legacies throughout the state. Here’s a guide to historical sites and African American Heritage Trail locations, grouped by county. While some of these sites can be visited, others are private and not open to the public.
Alachua County | Baker County | Bay County | Brevard County| Broward County | Charlotte County | Calhoun County | Columbia County| Duval County | Escambia County | Flagler County | Franklin County | Gulf County | Highlands County | Hillsborough County | Jefferson County | Lee County | Leon County | Marion County | Miami-Dade County | Monroe County | Nassau County | Okaloosa County | Orange County | Osceola County | Palm Beach County | Pasco County | Pinellas County | Polk County | Santa Rosa County | Seminole County | St. Johns County | St. Lucie County | Sumter County | Suwannee County | Volusia County | Wakulla County | Walton County
County Road 236, east of I-75 Exit 404
This cemetery is a landmark in the Bland Community. The old Damascus Church, built in 1900, stood several miles to the northeast on County Road 1491, on a site marked today by a commemorative sign. (352) 373-4062.
18700 South County Road 325
Many African Americans in rural Florida lived in small tenant houses like the one standing in the orange grove at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. Rawlings, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Yearling, came to Cross Creek in 1928 and wrote with wit and affection of those who helped tend her house, grove and garden while she worked. The park interprets her literary legacy and the lives of those who were part of her world in Cross Creek. The tenant house was moved to this site in 2000, replacing the original one which had been demolished. Letters between Rawlings and friend Zora Neale Hurston (who stayed as a guest at the Rawlings home) highlight the changing racial relationships in the rural south during Reconstruction, as well as the trailblazing attitudes of the two women. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006. (352) 466-3672
1108 NW 7th Avenue
Opened in 1925 as Lincoln High School and successor to the Union Academy, this two-story red brick school became one of the first accredited high schools in Florida for African American students. The historic school building was renovated in the 1990s. (352) 955-6840.
18 NW 8th Avenue
Established in 1914 by Matthew E. Hughes and Charles Chestnut, Sr., this funeral home is one of Gainesville’s oldest businesses. Chestnut’s grandson and great-grandson continue to run the business today. (352) 372-2537.
732 NW 4th Street (Private)
This was the only African American hotel in Gainesville in the early 20th century. The Dunbar family welcomed touring musicians, educators, businessmen and their families. The building has been restored at its original site and houses Pleasant Place Facilities for Single Mothers.
115 NW 55th Street
This church was part of a community founded during Reconstruction in Rutledge, an area given to disenfranchised slaves by the Freedman’s Bureau. An exchange of deeds allowed the church to move to its current one-acre location where the present church was completed in 1955.
426 NW 2nd Street
Organized in 1888, Friendship’s first building was destroyed by fire, and the present Romanesque-Gothic Revival style church, known for its beautiful stained-glass windows, was built of rusticated concrete block in 1911. (352) 376-4302.
7600 NW 23rd Avenue
Historic Liberty Hill United Methodist Church has served as the religious home of many area families since the 1850s. It was the home of the Farmer’s Aide Society, a group of pioneer African American farmers including Joe Duncan, Peter Jonas, the Rev. Chatman Haile and Johnny Roundtree. When families did not have money for health care and burials, this group pooled funds to establish an active association that today still provides scholarships and financial support during illness and loss of life. Mr. Duncan is buried in the Liberty Hill Cemetery. The present church was built in the 1950s. Liberty Hill School (NR), adjacent to the church and cemetery, is one of the oldest educational institutions for black students in the area, listed in Alachua County records as a school in 1869. The present one-room, wood-frame schoolhouse was built by the Alachua County Board of Public Instruction in 1892. (352) 375-5984.
8500 SW Archer Road
South Carolina’s Thomas and Serena Haile moved to Florida in 1854. Members of the Haile-Chestnut clan collectively owned large tracts of land predominantly in the western half of Alachua County, the Kanapaha area being just one area. The 1860 census indicates that Thomas Haile owned 66 slaves. The Haile Homestead included eight ground-floor rooms, with two bedrooms upstairs. The crop failure of 1867 forced the Haile's into bankruptcy in 1868. Though much of the property passed into the hands of Thomas' brother Edward Haile, Thomas reacquired 110 acres in 1873 and continued to rebuild his land holdings. The Hailes operated a successful farm until their deaths in the mid-1890s. The house passed to their son Evans Haile who used the house primarily for parties until the 1930s. The house is believed to be unique in the nation for its "Talking Walls." The Haile family and friends wrote altogether over 12,500 words on the walls of the house dating back to 1859. Completed in 1856, the house stands as a testament to the skill and expertise of the enslaved craftsmen who built it, though the 18 slave cabins have not survived. (352) 336-9096, www.hailehomestead.org.
1510 West University Avenue
Created in 1971 at the University of Florida, the Institute is home to many historical artifacts and resources related to the African and African American students who have enrolled at the school. ufl.edu
1207 NW 7th Avenue (Private)
Jesse Aaron (1887-1979), was part Seminole and African American and began carving wood when he was in his eighties. He was a noted folk artist whose cypress and cedar carvings were widely sought by collectors and museums. Aaron carved on the front porch of the house he built in 1925 in Gainesville’s Fifth Avenue neighborhood.
630 NW 2nd Street
Organized in 1867, the first church building was a wood frame structure constructed on a site purchased from Charles Brush. That building was replaced by a brick structure in 1887 which was destroyed by fire in 1903. The present building, a Romanesque Revival-style structure, was completed in 1906. The Mount Pleasant Cemetery at 2837 NW 13th Street, was established by the church in the 1880s and is the final resting place of many pioneer African Americans and their descendants. (352) 372-4872.
837 SE 7th Avenue
Located in Gainesville’s Springhill neighborhood, the large wood-frame building was first constructed in 1940-41 as the Post Exchange at Camp Blanding in Starke, Florida. At the end of World War II, the Perryman brothers purchased the surplus building, moved it to Gainesville and converted it to a movie theater for African American patrons. It became The Cotton Club and was renamed “The Blue Note Club” in the 1950s. The building can be toured by appointment.
Pleasant Street Historic District
Bounded approximately by 1st Avenue, NW 8th Avenue, NW 2nd Avenue and NW 6th Street
The oldest and largest continuously inhabited black residential area in Gainesville, this district is significant as the religious and social center for black entertainment, commerce and educational life in the city. Blacks built most of the 255 contributing historic buildings in this quadrant of original Gainesville in the post-Civil War era and the early 20th century. When emancipated blacks moved into Gainesville after the Civil War, many settled here, where they could buy land and establish churches, schools and businesses.
804 SW 5th Street
One of the oldest congregations in Gainesville, the Shady Grove Primitive Baptist Church stands on land deeded to the elders of the church in 1900. The present coquina block church was built in the Porters neighborhood in the 1930s. “Porters Quarters” as it is still called, dates to the late 19th century when Canadian physician, Dr. Watson Porter, platted the addition and sold land exclusively to African American families, encouraging them to plant and cultivate gardens to become self-sufficient. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, Shady Grove Church was the venue for NAACP meetings during the Civil Rights Era. A historic marker has been placed in front of the church.
University of Florida, Northeast corner of the Plaza of the Americas
This Library has an extensive collection of documents, photographs and other material related to African American history and culture.
St. Augustine Day Care
405 NW 4th Avenue (Private)
Erected between 1875 and 1889 as an Episcopal mission church for the black community in Gainesville, this building served as a parochial school after moving to its present site in 1895. It became a day care center in 1957 and was integrated in 1964.
524 NW 1st Street
In 1865 the Freedmen Bureau established the Union Academy to educate blacks. Supported by northern friends, the George Peabody Fund, and the Alachua County Board of Public Instruction, black carpenters built the frame building, the second largest school constructed by the Freedmen Bureau in Florida. Originally a one story structure, a second floor was added in the 1890s. Union Academy was the intellectual heart of the African American community in Gainesville and Alachua County, serving elementary through high school grades for almost 60 years. (352) 334-2193.
918 NW 5th Avenue
During the 1930s, 40s and early 1950s, Lincoln High School held proms and football victory dances on the second floor of Wabash Hall. On the ground floor, sisters Elzora Gill and Fannie Glover and their husbands operated the Glover and Gill Grocery. The 1932 sign can still be seen on the façade of the two-story brick building, a landmark in Gainesville’s Fifth Avenue neighborhood. (352) 334-5064.
7225 SE 221st Street
Established in 1907 as home to the New Hope Methodist Church, one of Hawthorne’s oldest black congregations, the building was transplanted from its original location four blocks away. Restored in 1993, the museum displays the original pulpit, pastor’s chair, several pews and many other artifacts. (352) 481-4491.
U.S. Highway 301, a mile north of the center of town
Pioneer African American families are buried in the town’s black cemetery. Henry Hill, the first black fireman in the City of Waldo, was laid to rest here, as are veterans from the Civil War. (352) 334-5064.
Olustee Battlefield State Park
Two miles east of Olustee on U.S. Highway 90
This site commemorates the Feb. 20, 1864, Battle of Ocean Pond. A Union force of approximately 5,200 troops under the command of General Truman A. Seymour marched westward to meet a Confederate force led by General Alfred H. Colquitt. The battle lasted nearly five hours before Union forces retreated. Casualties amounted to an estimated 1,860 Union and 946 Confederate soldiers.
The Olustee Battle Festival and Re-enactment commemorates the largest Civil War battle fought in Florida, resulting in more than 2,800 casualties and a Confederate victory. Three African American regiments, the 8th and 35th United States Colored Troops and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, fought as part of the Union Army. It is estimated that one-third of the total Union casualties for the battle were from the black regiments.
Each year dozens of African American Civil War reenactors pay tribute to the black regiments by participating in the reenactment of the Battle of Olustee. Reenactors gather, as they have since 1975, at the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, the actual site of the Feb. 20, 1864, Civil War battle. The activities of both soldiers and civilians during the war are portrayed, including military camps and drills, medical demonstrations, and period music concerts. Held during President’s Day weekend just east of Lake City (located near the intersection of I-75 and I-10 in North Florida), the event features a Civil War skirmish on Saturday afternoon and the re-enactment of the Battle of Olustee on Sunday.
For more information visit the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park’s website or call 386-758-0400.
Off Business 98, Massalina Drive and Massalina Circle
African American Spanish fisherman Josea Massalina was founder of Red Fish Point, a small community on what is now Tyndall Air Force Base. The community moved across the bay, settling along the Bayou now named for the Massalina family. Massalina’s son, Hawk, was a prominent Panama City ship builder and fisherman. Many original homes remain in this once-African American neighborhood.
The Rosenwald School
624 Bay Street
Located in what was once the black business district of Panama City, the Rosenwald School served black students in Bay County during segregation. The original building remains on its original site.
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.
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.
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.
The “Colored Beach”
6503 North Ocean Drive
In the early 1950s the northern tip of what is today Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park was purchased by the Broward County Commission for use as the “Colored Beach.” Beachgoers took a ferry from Port Everglades across the Intracoastal to reach the beach until a road was built in 1965. (954) 923-2833.
St. Ruth Missionary Baptist Church
145 NW 5th Avenue
Founded by Charlie Chambers in 1908 and named in honor of his daughter, the St. Ruth Missionary Baptist Church was the first black church in Dania and housed the first “colored” school. The bell tolled to call the congregation to service and to mark the death of a black member of the community. (954) 922-2529.
The African American Research Library and Cultural Center
2650 Sistrunk Boulevard
The African American Research Library and Cultural Center, research facility, and cultural center contains 85,000 books, documents and artifacts by and about people of African descent, a community cultural center, a 300- seat auditorium, meeting rooms, exhibit areas, a historic archive, a viewing and listening center and other historical material on black history in Broward County, South Florida, the Caribbean, the African Diaspora and the nation. Also included are papers of W.E.B. DuBois, the Langston Hughes Collection, the Bethune-Cookman College Collection, the Alex Haley collection, and the papers of Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. (954) 357-6282
Old Dillard High School
1009 NW 4th Street
This Masonry Vernacular structure, one of the oldest buildings in the city, was built in 1924. The Old Dillard High School was the first black school in Fort Lauderdale and named in honor of James H. Dillard, a philanthropist, educator and promoter of education for blacks. Now a museum, exhibits include a recreated historic classroom, art display and artifacts of local African American history. (754) 322-8828
Three tenant houses dating back to the 1930s are being restored here. Each February, Black Heritage events take place in the Clay Mary Community Park.
The George Brown House
27430 Cleveland Avenue (Private)
This large 1924 bungalow was built by George Brown, a talented African American carpenter and local businessman, as a home for himself and his second wife Tommie Fulford Brown. Reportedly, in 1910, he had built a two-story home on nearby Riverside Drive and Scott Street, but rented it to whites after residents objected to Cleveland's only African American owning the largest house. He rented another house, bought all of Block 1 -- north facing Cleveland Avenue in 1916 and eventually built this home. Damaged during Hurricane Charley in 2004, it was renovated extensively in 2006.
Cleveland Steam Marine Ways
5400 Riverside Drive
George Brown came to the Peace River area in about 1890 with Captain Albert F. Dewey to work for a phosphate mining company. During the 1890s, he was superintendent of buildings for the Desoto Phosphate Mining Company in Liverpool, near Arcadia. In 1916, Brown founded the Cleveland Marine Steam Ways, where he built, outfitted and refurbished steamboats, schooners and barges, as well as luxury yachts for affluent white residents of the Charlotte Harbor area. Brown was an "equal opportunity" employer, hiring whites and blacks and paying equal wages for equal skills. The building is now a recreation hall for a mobile home park.
History & Culture of Charlotte County
406 Martin Luther King Boulevard
This 1925 house was originally built for Joseph Blanchard, a black sea captain and key member of early Punta Gorda’s business community, and Minnie, his mail-order bride. Upon the death of Blanchard’s last surviving daughter, African American community historian, Bernice Russell, purchased the Blanchard House. Since Russell’s death, the museum has been operated as an open access, educational institute devoted to the procurement, preservation, study and display of artifacts and materials related to the culture, contributions and history of African Americans in Charlotte County. (941) 575-7518.
650 Mary Street
This is the original site of Baker’s Academy, Charlotte County’s first African American school. Located in the East Punta Gorda Historical District, in the 1960s, this site was a gathering place and recreation center for the black community. (941) 639-3034.
1009 Taylor Road
The Atlantic Coast Line Depot, built in the Mediterranean Revival architectural style, was the southernmost station in the U.S. when it opened in the late 1920s. Segregated bathrooms and waiting areas as originally designed, and a refurbished ticket office are part of the exhibit. Rotating exhibits display the historic and cultural impact of the area’s aviation and fishing industry. (941) 639-6774.
Niblack Elementary School
837 NE Broadway Avenue
This school was built in 1954 in an effort to consolidate elementary schools serving African American students in Columbia County. Because of her efforts to build, consolidate, and improve schools in the area, the school was named after Minnie Jones Niblack, a teacher, principal and county supervisor. 386-755-8200.
Richardson High School
255 NE Coach Anders Lane
The high school was built in 1957 for the African American youth of Columbia County, and closed in the early 1970s. The gymnasium and basketball court still stand. The playing fields and gym are now part of the Richardson Community Center. 386-754-7095
829 N. Davis Street
You’ll find The Ritz Theatre & Museum in Jacksonville’s historic African American community of La Villa, heralded as the “Harlem of the South” during its heyday in the 1920s-1960s. The Ritz Theatre & Museum highlights the story of James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, Jacksonville natives who composed the African-American national hymn, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” It also invites visitors to explore recreations of streets showcasing how African Americans in Jacksonville lived. On weekends, nationally renowned African American performers thrill sold-out crowds at the Ritz Theatre.
11676 Palmetto Ave
As Jacksonville's oldest residential home and Florida's last remaining plantation home, it’s hard to overstate the historic importance of the Kingsley Plantation. The Plantation dates back to 1814, and offers remarkably preserved slave quarters, a barn, the plantation house and a kitchen house. Weekend tours of the Planter’s home are available by reservation.
J.P. Small Memorial Stadium, also known as Durkee Field
1701 Myrtle Avenue
Though the name of the stadium has often changed – it’s been called Barrs Field, the Myrtle Avenue Ball Park, Joseph H. Durkee Athletic Field, and currently James P. Small Memorial Stadium – its purpose has not; it’s been the epicenter of organized baseball in Jacksonville since 1911.
Major league teams have employed the field for spring training and exhibition games, and minor league teams that include as the Jacksonville Tars (Jacksonville Braves) and the Jacksonville Red Caps of the Negro League have used it as their home base.
In 1953, the Jacksonville Braves defied the traditions of the South Atlantic League by adding three African American players to their ranks. That changed history; one of the players was 19-year-old, Henry “Hank” Aaron, who played at Durkee Field for one year before being moved to the Milwaukee Braves.
1658 Kings Road
Of the four colleges formed during the Reconstruction to provide necessary educational opportunities and teacher training for Florida’s African American citizens that were recently emancipated from slavery, Edward Waters College is the oldest. The College began in the late 1860’s, using several different names and locations; in 1891, it acquired its current name.
843 West Monroe Street (in La Villa)
The first medical facility to serve Jacksonville’s African-American community, the Old Brewster Hospital and Nursing Training School was built in 1885 as a private residence. In 1901, the hospital opened its doors to the public, thanks to the work of the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Matilda Cutting Brewster of Connecticut, deserves special recognition; she donated $1,000 in honor of her late husband, the Rev. George A. Brewster, to help start the hospital.
Home and School, a private institution for African-American girls, was one of the first nursing training programs in Florida. To say its students were welcomed by the community is an understatement: they made 1,230 house calls in 1901. The rapidly-growing hospital outgrew its first facility and relocated to another La Villa location in 1910; by 1931 it had moved again, this time to a spacious brick structure in the Old Sugar Hill neighborhood. With the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Brewster Hospital closed in 1966 only to reopen in 1967 as the Methodist Hospital. In 2005, the Old Brewster Hospital building was moved to its present site from its original location at 915 West Monroe Street.
1293 W. 19th St.
Discover the story of historic Durkeeville and its African-American residents, showcased in the museum’s artifacts, pictures, videos, and its ever-growing catalog of oral histories. Admission is available by appointment, so please call in advance.
613 West Ashley Street
Using her own kitchen, Clara White provided food and assistance to the needy. Eartha White, Clara’s daughter, continued and expanded the tradition, organizing the Clara White Mission in 1932. Her accomplishments include helping found the first retirement home for Jacksonville’s African American seniors, establishing the Milnor Street Nursery, a tuberculosis sanitarium for African Americans, and Oakland Park, the first municipal playground reserved for African American children. She was the first paid employee of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company, and is heralded for saving the company’s records during the Great Fire of 1901. She taught for 16 years, and was also one of the first paid social workers for Duval County as well as the first African American census taker. You can explore the remarkable lives and careers of these two women through a virtual walking tour of the museum.
521 W. Broad St. (PRIVATE)
Edwin M. Stanton, a vocal abolitionist and Secretary of War under Abraham Lincoln, would be proud of his namesake, Stanton High School. Established in 1868 by the Trustees of Florida Institute, the school holds bragging rights as the first public black school in Jacksonville and the only black high school in the country at the time. One alumnus is James Weldon Johnson, the first African American to pass the Florida bar exam, and the lyricist of Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, considered ‘the black national anthem.’ Johnson served as the school’s principal from 1894 to 1902. Closed as a public school in 1971, the building now houses a private school.
Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park
Intersection of Houston and Lee Street
The NAACP has declared “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” written in the late 1800s, as the “Black National Anthem.” The park marks the birth site of James Weldon Johnson, who wrote the song with his brother John Rosamond Johnson, and encompasses three historical markers, one for each brother and one for the song. Plans to further develop the site are in the planning stages.
135 Monroe Street West
Hemming Plaza was the site of a brutal event known as ‘Ax Handle Saturday.’
In the late 1950s and early 1960s racial unrest simmered in the South, thanks to the glacially slow progress being made segregating public facilities, schools and businesses as well as a lack of economic equality. In Jacksonville, under the direction of local social studies teacher Rutledge Pearson, members of the Youth Council of the Jacksonville branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People reacted by organizing non-violent civil rights demonstrations -- often marked by a violent response from those who preferred to maintain the status quo.
After numerous sit-ins at the lunch counters of several downtown department stores, members of the Youth Council were ferociously attacked by segregationists equipped with axe handles and baseball bats. This event, which occurred on August 27, 1960, is known as “Ax Handle Saturday.” The notoriety of “Ax Handle Saturday,” and later demonstrations in 1964, played a large part in ending segregation and improving race relations in Jacksonville.
841 Franklin Street
Pioneer African-American builder and designer Richard L. Brown, who served two consecutive terms in the Florida House of Representatives, designed and constructed the Mount Olive A.M.E. Church in 1922. Brown also purchased ground in Campbell’s Addition, subsequently deeding part of it to the Duval County School Board for an elementary school that was named in his honor, and constructed Centennial Hall at Edward Waters College in 1916.
11964 Mandarin Road
The last remaining one-room schoolhouse in Duval County, St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children invites you to delve into its storied past. When the Civil War ended in 1865, black children had new opportunities for formal education --but because of racial prejudice, black and white students couldn’t be taught together.
The Sisters of St. Joseph, members of a Roman Catholic religious order from France, dedicated themselves to teaching black children in post-war Florida. They founded their first Mandarin school in 1868 and built the Mandarin Schoolhouse in 1898 expressly for the education of black Mandarin children.
This unique building now highlights the history of the schoolhouse and others like it that no longer exist. The Museum is open Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; the park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
East Union Street and Cemetery Street
Established in 1852, you’ll find this cemetery just northeast of downtown Jacksonville in the Oakland neighborhood. The cemetery was originally situated on a four-acre square, but expanded another two acres to the north in 1869, primarily to serve as a burial ground for African -Americans.
Prior to Evergreen Cemetery opening in 1881 and Memorial Cemetery in 1911, this part of Old City Cemetery, known as the Duval Colored Cemetery or the “Freedmen’s Cemetery”, was the preferred final resting place for many of Jacksonville’s prominent African-American families. It houses the graves of 50 African American veterans, commonly referred to as Buffalo Soldiers, including several that served in the Union army.
St. John’s Cathedral, 256 E. Church Street
This culinary training café promises visitors an upscale menu and a tasty afternoon in the Cathedral’s historic Taliaferro Hall. “Clara’s at the Cathedral” is an offshoot of Clara White’s Culinary Arts Program, providing students with extensive hands-on training in production, presentation and front of the house restaurant service every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All proceeds directly benefit the Clara White Culinary Training Program.
6337 Arlington Road
Jacksonville was home to more than 30 silent film studios from 1908 through 1922, calling itself the “World’s Winter Film Capital.” When Richard E. Norman, Sr. purchased The Eagle Film City in 1922, he was one of the first independent movie producers to realize the financial potential of making films featuring all-black casts for African American communities. Though the studio was filling an obvious gap, Norman’s reason to produce race films wasn’t only a business decision; he also wanted to make a positive impact on race relations. Norman produced eight feature films between 1920 and 1928 including The Green- Eyed Monster (1920), The Crimson Skull (1921), The Bull-Dogger (1921), Regeneration (1923), A Debtor to the Law (1924), The Flying Ace (1926), and The Black Gold (1928). In contrast to the majority of silent screen era movies, Norman’s films were free of racial stereotypes and depicted African Americans in an upbeat light. Just one of Norman’s films, The Flying Ace, is known to still exist, but the five buildings that formed the studios remain.
201 E. Beaver St.
Stunning, red and proud, this brick building boasts arched windows and doors, art-glass windows, and an imposing bell tower. The church was born in 1866, organized by a group of Freedmen that settled in Jacksonville just after the end of the Civil War. The present building is the sixth built after the previous 1,500-seat church was demolished by the Great Fire of 1901. Mount Zion A.M.E. was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 30, 1992 and designated a local landmark on May 10, 1994.
1456 Van Buren Street
During and immediately following the Civil War, many African-American churches were built in Florida, usually independent, community-based congregations that a minister organized. The first official religious group created by Freedmen under the authority of a national denomination was in 1865, when William G. Stewart, an ex-slave, was appointed pastor of Florida by the South Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The day after arriving in Jacksonville on June 9, 1865, Reverend Steward met with a group from a tiny settlement east of Jacksonville called Midway to organize the first AME Church in Florida. Still situated in East Jacksonville, the Mother Midway A.M.E. Church is now renowned as the “mother” of the Florida Conference of the A.M.E. Church, organized in 1867, and the East Florida Conference, established in 1877.
1058 Bethel Baptist Way
The first organized Baptist church in Jacksonville, Bethel Baptist Institutional Church dates back to 1838. Originally its congregation embraced both white and black members, but following the Civil War, white members went to court in a bid to remove the blacks. The court ruled in favor of the black members; ultimately the black members got to keep the name Bethel Baptist Church, and received a cash settlement as well.
The sanctuary built after the Great Fire of 1901 was finished in 1904. The design, by New York architect M. H. Hubbard, features an imposing, ornate bell tower and octagonal steeple. Bethel Baptist was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 6, 1978, and was designated a local landmark on March 11, 1997.
Check out this map of Duval County’s African-American Heritage Trail to plan your self-guided tour.
200 Church Street
Built in 1890, the historic Kate Coulson house is now home of the African American Heritage Society’s resource center.
Daniel “Chappie” James Birthplace
1606 Martin Luther King Blvd
A Pensacola native, “Chappie” James became the first black four-star general in American military history in 1975. His illustrious career included 101 combat missions as a fighter pilot in Korea and 78 more in Vietnam. He was decorated for valor and air tactics. As commanding officer of the U.S. Air Force base in Libya, and wearing a 45 automatic stuffed under his belt, he confronted the new dictator, Moammar Khadafy, at the front gate and forced his withdrawal. Khadafy had intended to seize the base with his half-tracks. In the late 1970s, the General was sought out as a potential candidate for lieutenant governor of Florida but died of a heart attack a few weeks after his retirement.
The birthplace of Chappie James, this home is also where his mother, Lillie A. James, ran a school for black children. On Martin Luther King Boulevard, the city’s Memorial Garden includes a marker in Chappie James’ honor.
John the Baptist Church
101 North 10th Avenue
Established in 1846 as the first black church in Pensacola, John the Baptist Church is the oldest black church in Pensacola and the only surviving evidence of Hawk Shaw, an African American community.
210 E. Zaragoza Street, Pensacola Historic District
This simple, wood-frame building, built around 1804, is Pensacola’s only surviving “to the sidewalk” construction. It belonged to Julee Patton, a free woman of color. The cottage’s pegged framing and beaded ceilings were preserved during rehabilitation. It serves as a black history museum.
Zion Talbot Chapel
525 West Jackson Street
The second oldest African American Baptist church in Pensacola, the congregation was organized in August 1880 after a break with John the Baptist Church. The present Romanesque Revival style structure was erected in 1918, after the original building was destroyed by fire. It is home to one of the first pipe organs in Pensacola.
Rosamond Johnson Monument
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Johnson Beach Road
The Gulf Beach area was one of the few beaches that blacks were allowed to enjoy during segregation. Escambia County resident Rosamond Johnson joined the U.S. Army at 15, and died in the Korean War, a hero before his 18th birthday. The first resident from Escambia County to die in that conflict, Johnson died trying to cross the 38th parallel in efforts to rescue wounded soldiers. His bravery earned him a posthumous Purple Heart. Renamed Rosamond Johnson Beach by the county after the Korean Conflict ended, a formal monument was erected on the beach in his honor in 1996. Rosamond Johnson Beach is now part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
4422 U.S. Highway 1 North
Built in 2001, the center provides office, classroom and reference library facilities. (386) 447-7030.
Old Kings Road
Local groups have completed renovations to refurbish this long-abandoned African American Cemetery. They will continue working to obtain an information kiosk or plaque with history of the cemetery to mark the important site. (386) 439-5400.
Fort Gadsden or British Fort
Located in the Apalachicola National Forest a short distance from State Road 65, near Sumatra
This National Historic Landmark is a precursor site to the Underground Railroad.
Near Sumatra, Florida, it's approximately 15 miles from the mouth of the Apalachicola River and is a short distance from State Road 65. According to the National Park Service, the significance of the British Fort is its testament to the resistance to slavery that arose decades before abolitionism became organized and influential.
Here, runaway slaves and Seminole Indians traded for goods and forged an alliance that would allow the runaway slaves to cultivate crops, paying one-third of their produce to the Indians. The two communities lived side-by-side and collaborated.
PORT ST. JOE
George Washington Elementary / High School
George Washington Elementary / High School began in a wooden building located near Main Street and Avenue G around 1940. Before the school was built, local black students received instruction in an old house and in a small wooden church in North Port. From 1940 to 1945, all eight grades were taught in the building. The school moved to a larger facility on Kenny Street and, in 1952, into a new building of concrete. The gym still stands and serves as a community cultural center. Another building houses a George Washington High museum. (850) 899-6454
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
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
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.
205 South Allen Street
Plant City Janie L. Bing Rooming House, a National Historical Site anchoring the Laura Street Restoration District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, primarily for its role as a domestic hotel for people of color during the period of segregation. The hotel operated from 1928 through 1975 with the addition of the Seminole Restaurant in 1931. The facility, which is located at 205 South Allen Street, Plant City, Florida now operates as a museum to emphasize the Plant City community’s triumph over segregation.
5104 Horton Road
Seven miles south of Plant City, the Bealsville area was settled in 1865 by freed slaves who built their homes of logs from the trees cleared for future farmland. Bryant Horton and Alfred Beal planted orange seeds, starting the heritage of orange production in Bealsville. The first of five churches, Antioch Baptist, was established in 1868, and included a school. Residents raised funds to build the wood-framed school building in 1933. A concrete block addition was built in 1945 and a wooden building was added in 1949. 913-757-6760.
Original building was torn down; now located at 6406 N. 43rd St. and 12535 Tinsley Circle
Opened in 1924 by Mrs. Von Charlton and run by Inez Boyer, the school's previous students include former Florida State Senator James Hargrett, Tampa City Council Chair Gwen Miller and the late Sylvia Rodriguez Kimbell, former Hillsborough County Commissioner. It is one of the few businesses that survived 1960s urban renewal.
Morgan and Jefferson Streets
Oaklawn opened in 1850 as Tampa’s first public cemetery. The first person buried here was an unnamed slave who was owned by the Lesley family. A slave burial ground is located in the center, along with grave sites of prominent citizens Nancy Ashley, Benjamin and Fortune Taylor. (813) 274-8615.
1505 North Nebraska Street
The Ybor City Library was renamed in 2003 for Robert W. Saunders, former Field Secretary of the NAACP. Saunders followed in the footsteps of Harry T. Moore who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan on Christmas night 1951. In this difficult and dangerous role Saunders guided the state through challenging years, working with Roy Wilkins at the NAACP, and serving as Chief of Civil Rights for the southeast region. (813) 273-3652.
Elizabeth School in the Dills Community
Groover Road (Private)
Originally housed in the Elizabeth Church, Elizabeth School was established when Miles Groover and his wife, Daisy Black Groover donated land for the new site. The school building was completed as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. In 1938 students moved from the Masonic Hall to the new three-room school.
100 East Chestnut Street
The two original Howard Academy buildings burned, and African-American students were taught in local churches and the Masonic Lodge (Solomon Lodge #7) until the two buildings on this site were built. The smaller was used for all grades until the larger building was built to instruct high school students. There is a Historical Marker on Mamie Scott Drive in front of the larger structure.
2100 Edwards Drive
The “Civil War’s 2nd Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops” monument is dedicated to the black Union soldiers who defended a federal post in Fort Myers against the Confederates in 1865. A single black soldier standing before a wall with a gate represents the gateway to freedom from slavery.
Northeast corner of Cranford and Martin
Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Constructed in 1938 by Clifford McCollum, Sr., McCollum Hall was a commercial center in the Dunbar Community. The second story held a large dance hall with a raised stage for live performances by Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and others. During World War II, the second-floor facility served as a USO for African American troops stationed at Page and Buckingham Fields. White residents and soldiers attended when big bands performed at McCollum Hall.
2754 Orange Street
One of the oldest churches in the Dunbar community, Mount Olive’s congregation dates to 1895. Church services were held for many years at several locations, including the Lee County Courthouse, where the congregation was originally organized. The church was built at this location in 1929. (239) 332-0305.
1857 High Street
Completed in 1927, the Dunbar School served as the “colored” high school for the predominantly black Dunbar community and surrounding area. Prior to September 1925, educational opportunities for African Americans were limited to grades one through six. The masonry vernacular structure now houses community programs.
1936 Henderson Avenue
The first Williams Academy, built in 1913, was a two-story building located between Anderson Avenue and Lemon Street. It was the site of the first government-funded, black school in Fort Myers. When the second floor was destroyed by a fire, the building’s first floor was moved to the Dunbar campus between 1935 and 1937. In 1995, the building was moved to its current location. The “Living History Classroom” represents the 1940s era and other exhibits present the contributions of blacks to the development of the area.
421 4th Street West
Known today as Amory Memorial Chapel, you'll find the church near Port Boca Grande Lighthouse in Gasparilla Island State Park, built in 1959 by Louise and Roger Amory for the Black community living on Gasparilla Island. Tarpon Estates, the housing area for many of the Black community, was located in what is now the parking lot of the chapel. The Black community lived there from about 1960 until 1981.
224 North Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
The late Rev. C. K. Steele, former pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, was one of Tallahassee’s most notable civil rights activists. Many meetings associated with the Tallahassee bus boycott were held in this church, which made it a target of Ku Klux Klan activity. (850) 222-8440.
Carnegie Library, The Carrie Meek/James Eaton Sr., Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center & Museum
FAMU campus, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Gamble Street
The Carnegie Library was completed in 1907 and is the oldest standing building on the Florida A&M University campus. As a specialty museum and research center, the Archive houses historical papers and artifacts. The Black Archives and Carnegie Library have been expanded into a regional research facility. (850) 599-3020, http://famu.edu/index.cfm?MEBA.
500 South Bronough Street
In addition to on site research, the Florida State Archives offers web-based access to an extensive collection of original documents, photographs, and other materials for historical research on state history through the Florida Memory Project at www.floridamemory.com. (850) 245-6700.
First Presbyterian Church
110 North Adams Street
Organized in 1832, congregation members completed this sanctuary in 1838. The only Tallahassee church still standing from territorial days, the Classic Revival style building with Gothic doors and windows is prominent in downtown. The north gallery was set aside for slaves who were allowed membership, but sat apart from their masters. (850) 222-4504, www.oldfirstchurch.org.
Martin Luther King Boulevard
Established in 1887 as the Florida State Normal College for Colored Students, FAMU is the oldest historically black public university in Florida. The first president, Thomas DeSaille Tucker, and his assistant, Thomas Van Rennasaler Gibbs, the university's co-founder and vice president, guided the school’s beginning including its move from Copeland Street to its present location, as the Florida State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students. Today this multiracial university is comprised of several schools and colleges. (850) 599-3000
Fred Douglas Lee Statue
Corner of Macomb and Georgia Streets
Fred Douglas Lee was the first black police officer in Tallahassee assigned to a regular beat. He was recruited by civil rights activist Rev. C. K. Steele, Sr., and others, to break the color barrier that existed in law enforcement prior to Lee’s appointment in the late 1950s. This statue to his legacy was erected in 2004.
Frenchtown Historic Community
Tennessee Street to Brevard Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Copeland Street
In 1831, Tallahassee historical sites, plantations, churches, homesteads, educational institutions, businesses and residences filled this area. The community has long been occupied by free people of color and other persons of African descent. Following the Civil War many freed slaves migrated into the area. Frenchtown developed into a thriving middle-class African American community, with Macomb Street as the hub of activity. Frenchtown declined in the 1960s and only a few original structures remain, but the area is currently undergoing revitalization.
South Adams Street (Private)
Gibbs Cottage, constructed in 1894 and moved here from its original site, was the home of Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs. Gibbs was a member of the Florida Legislature who in 1887 introduced legislation that resulted in the founding of the Florida State Normal College for Colored Students.
Bainbridge Road and Tharpe Street
When a 1936 ordinance prevented the sale of burial plots to blacks in the Old City Cemetery, those already owning spaces were permitted to continue burials, although they were not encouraged. In protest, seven African Americans, led by J.R.D. Laster, Tallahassee’s first black funeral director, purchased 16 acres on Old Bainbridge Road and established Greenwood in 1937. The City of Tallahassee assumed ownership and responsibility for perpetual care of the historic cemetery in 1987.
At the dead end of Woodward Street, headed south
This statue recognizes three of the first African American students to enroll and graduate from Florida State University in the 1960s. Represented are: Maxwell Courtney, who was one of three African-Americans to become the school's first full-time enrollees and he was the first African-American to graduate; Doby Lee Flowers, who enrolled, graduated, and was the first Black Miss Florida State University; and Fred Flowers, the first black to wear a varsity athletic uniform. (850) 644-2450.
FAMU Campus, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
On May 26, 1956, Florida A&M University students Wilhelmina Jakes and Carrie Patterson were arrested in Tallahassee because they were asked to locate to the standing-only area of the bus in order to give up their seats to white passengers. They insisted that they would prefer to just leave the bus upon return of their bus fare. The driver refused and had them arrested. The students were harassed and a cross was burned in their front yard. This act of passive resistance rallied Tallahassee NAACP leaders Robert Saunders and the Reverend C.K. Steele, and FAMU students to initiate a boycott that ended segregation on the city buses.
419 East Jefferson Street
The John G. Riley house represents the thriving black neighborhood that once existed in what is now the downtown area of Tallahassee. John Gilmore Riley was a black educator and civic leader in Tallahassee in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was the principal of Lincoln Academy, the first black high school in Leon County. The frame vernacular house which Riley had built for his family in the 1890s was the family home until his death in 1954. Today, the home is restored and open to the public as a museum and research center dedicated to African American history and culture. (850) 681-7881, rileymuseum.org.
301 East Park Avenue
The Knott House was first occupied in 1843 by Attorney Thomas Hagner and his wife Catherine Gamble. The house is thought to have been built by free black builder George Proctor. When Union General Edward M. McCook entered Tallahassee on May 10, 1865, with orders to accept the surrender of Florida’s capital, he set up Union headquarters at the house. Ten days later, on the steps of the house, McCook issued President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. In 1928 the house was acquired by William and Luella Knott.
The Knott House Museum is open to the public. (850) 922-2459
The McKinney House
438 West Georgia Street
Built in 1945 by Nathaniel and Lucille McKinney, the present owner was the second female African American assistant principal of Leon County Schools. (850) 224-1775.
Museum of Florida History, Florida Department of State
500 South Bronough Street
Permanent exhibits include information about Florida’s African American history. “Florida in the Civil War” presents the story of African American troops who served in the Union Army and fought in the Battle of Olustee near Lake City in 1864, and at the Battle of Natural Bridge south of Tallahassee in 1865. “Florida Remembers World War II” recalls the more than 50,000 black Floridians who entered the military during World War II, and displays memorabilia of Lt. James Polkinghorne, a Tuskegee Airman from Pensacola who lost his life in Italy serving as a fighter pilot. (850) 245-6400, www.museumoffloridahistory.com.
Old City Cemetery
Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Park Avenue
Tallahassee’s first public cemetery served as the burial place for blacks and whites as early as 1829. Laws required that blacks be buried in the western half of the cemetery, so segregation continued after death. Prominent African Americans buried here include Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs, Reconstruction legislator and educator; William Gunn, one of the first black physicians in Florida; John G. Riley, noted educator; and James Page, founder of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. A 1936 city ordinance further prevented the sale of burial plots to blacks, and after 1937 most African Americans were buried in the Greenwood Cemetery and later at Southside Cemetery. (850) 545-5842.
Florida Historic Capitol Museum and Florida Legislative Research Center
400 South Monroe Street
Highlighting the history of Florida politics and encouraging citizen involvement in the political process, exhibits examine the struggle for civil rights in Florida with displays about Martin Luther King, Jr., the Tallahassee bus boycott and civil rights activist Harry T. Moore. Topics also include racial violence, slavery, reconstruction, integration and the Jim Crow period. (850) 487-1902.
Old Lincoln High School
438 West Brevard Street
The academic body that became Lincoln Academy was first organized in 1869. When the first building at Lafayette and Copeland burned, a new structure was built at Copeland and Park Avenue. In 1906, Lincoln Academy moved into a frame building on Brevard Street in Frenchtown, and in 1926 the wooden structure was replaced by a brick building that also served as a gathering place. This Lincoln High school site was closed in 1967. The building now serves as a community center. (850) 891- 4180.
3945 Museum Drive
This museum features several structures of historical significance related to black heritage. Bellevue, an 1840s plantation house and reconstructed slave cabin, addresses a period in Florida history when cotton planters built fortunes through slave labor. The 1890s Concord Schoolhouse provided classrooms for the children of former slaves, and is a reminder of the struggles and strides made in black education. The B.O. Wood Turpentine Commissary, a “company store” of the early 1900s, sold provisions to black workers returning from long days in the pine forest. The Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, built in 1937 by a rural black congregation, traces its founding to slave preacher James Page, ordained in the 1850s. (850) 576- 1636 or 575-8684, www.tallahasseemuseum.org.
The Tookes Hotel
412 Virginia Street (Private)
Mrs. Dorothy Nash Tookes, a founder of the Bond Street School for African American children in the 1930s, modified her home to accommodate African American travelers who could not stay in white hotels during segregation.
Union Bank Building
219 Apalachee Parkway
The Union Bank, chartered in 1833, was a planters’ bank in the territorial period of Florida history. Constructed in 1841 and displaying elements of Federal and Greek Revival architecture, the building has housed a variety of business and cultural interests including the National Freedman’s Bank for newly emancipated slaves during Reconstruction. The Union Bank now serves as an extension of the Southeastern Regional Black History Archives Research Center & Museum of Florida A&M University. Artifacts and documents reflecting black history and culture are on display. (850) 599-3020 or 561-2603
Fessenden Elementary School
4200 NW 90th Street
Established in 1868, the school became Fessenden Academy in honor of Ferdinand Stone Fessenden, a wealthy businessman from Boston who provided financial support and encouraged the American Missionary Association to sponsor the school. Existing buildings date from the Great Depression and 1963 when three new buildings were added to the campus. (352) 671-4935
Howard Academy Community Center
306 NW 7th Avenue
Howard Academy was established in 1887 by the Board of Public Instruction as a “grade school for Negroes.” (352) 629-7082
Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church
623 South Magnolia Avenue
The only surviving brick 19th century religious structure in Ocala, the present Gothic Revival church stands behind the site of the original white frame building. Construction of the first brick church owned by a black congregation began in 1891 under the supervision of black architect and builder, Levi Alexander, Sr. (352) 622-5500.
West Ocala Historic District
Silver Springs Boulevard between Eastbound I-75 and Pine Avenue
This historic district includes more than 100 buildings that are significant to the African American community that flourished here between 1886 and 1920.
Charles Avenue Historic District Marker
Charles Avenue and Main Highway
The first black community on the south Florida mainland began here in the 1880s when blacks from the Bahamas and southern U.S. came to farm the land or to work at the Peacock Inn, the first hotel in the Miami area.
Coconut Grove Cemetery
3650 Charles Avenue
This cemetery was developed in 1913 by the Coconut Grove Colored Cemetery Association, which included several prominent, local, black citizens including E.W.F. Stirrup, Walker Burrows and Joseph Riddick. It is the final resting place of many influential pioneer settlers.
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
3315 Douglas Road
The congregation organized in 1895 as the first Baptist church for black people in Dade County. The church was then known as the Fifty-Six Members Church, and met in a local home. The name was later changed to St. Agnes Missionary Baptist Church and in 1922 changed again to Macedonia Missionary Baptist. Services are still offered at the present structure which was completed in 1948. (305) 445-6459.
Ebenezer W.F Stirrup, a Bahamian who came to the United States in 1888, built this two-story frame vernacular structure in 1897. Stirrup invested his earnings in land and built over 100 homes to rent or sell to other Bahamian blacks who came to Coconut Grove around the turn of the century. Some of the houses still stand, some occupied by descendants of those early pioneers.
MacFarlane Homestead Subdivision Historic District
Bounded by Oak Avenue, Grand Avenue, Brooke Street and Jefferson Street
Developed by Coral Gables founder George Merrick as a black residential neighborhood, the early homes of this district were built in the late 1920s and 1930s in the Vernacular style of architecture not seen elsewhere in Coral Gables. The styles include bungalows and one-story frame “shot-gun” homes. The land was formerly the homestead of Flora McFarlane, a white woman who, before there was a public school, taught both black and white children at the Peacock Inn, Miami’s first hotel.
1200 South Crandon Boulevard
Situated on the southern tip of Key Biscayne, Cape Florida was the point from which many black Seminoles and escaped slaves sought passage east to the Bahamas when Florida was transferred from Spain to the United States in 1819. Those who could afford passage bargained with the Bahamian “wreckers” while others made the crossing in Seminole dugout canoes fitted with sails and paddles. The lighthouse, built in 1825, was attacked by Seminole Indians in 1836 during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). Cape Florida was a secret meeting place and departure point for runaway slaves, freedom seekers and Black Seminoles before the lighthouse was built. One of the earliest stations on the national and international Underground Railroad Network, in 2005 the park was dedicated as a site in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. (305) 361-5811
5400 NW 22nd Avenue
Founded by Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields and incorporated in 1977, this research center contains documents, photographs and artifacts documenting the black experience in Miami- Dade County from 1896 to the present. Artworks showcase Overtown’s “Little Broadway” and local historical sites in Miami. (305) 636-2390
Booker T. Washington School
1200 NW 6th Avenue
Construction of Booker T. Washington School began in 1926 amid protests from white citizens living in the area. Men in the community took turns standing guard at night and working during the day, until the school was built. Officially opened on March 28, 1927, it is now a middle school. This was the first school in South Florida to provide a twelve-grade education for black children. (305) 324-8900
1200 NW 6th Avenue (on the grounds of Booker T. Washington High School)
This colonial-style residence was built in 1923 by Dr. William A. Chapman, Sr., M.D. for his family and medical practice. In the 1980s Dr. William A. Chapman, Jr., deeded the house and land to Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Designated a historic site by the City of Miami in 1983, this single-family home now serves as a district-wide multicultural learning center for school children and offers public programs for adults. (305) 995-1275.
250 NW 9th Street
Dana A. Dorsey moved to Miami around 1896 to engage in farming. He purchased lots for $25 each and advertised as the only colored licensed real estate dealer in the city. A pioneer citizen and developer of early “Colored Town,” Dorsey is generally recognized as Miami’s most famous early black resident. He organized South Florida’s first black bank, served as chairman of the Colored Advisory Committee to the Dade County School Board, and as registrar for black men during World War I. (305) 636-2390.
Evergreen Park Cemetery
3055 NW 41st Street
With nearly 3,300 burial plots, this is one of the oldest black cemeteries in Dade County. Most remains are placed in above-ground vaults, a tradition in the area’s black community.
Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
245 NW 8th Street
Home of the oldest black congregation in Miami, Greater Bethel AME Church was organized in 1896, several months before the city was incorporated. Construction of this Mediterranean Revival style building began in 1927 and was completed in 1942. It is one of the few examples of this architectural style in Overtown.
4200 NW 27th Avenue (Not currently open to the public)
Built in 1953 and originally named Booker Terrace, the two-story Hampton House was promoted as the social center of the South. The hotel had 20 rooms, a swimming pool, patio, restaurant and night club. Black performers jammed at the hotel club after playing for all-white audiences in Miami Beach. Visitors included Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Jackie Robinson, Jackie Wilson, Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. (305) 635-5130
3001 NW 46th Street
Lincoln Memorial, opened in 1924 in the Brownsville section of Miami, was for decades the black cemetery in Miami. Most of the 538 burial plots are above ground vaults. Dana Albert Dorsey, Miami’s first black millionaire, and Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, the first black woman to serve in the Florida Legislature, are among those buried here.
819 NW 2nd Avenue
Prominent black entrepreneur Geder Walker built this masonry vaudeville and movie theater in 1913. Once one of the major centers of entertainment for blacks, this building is the lone survivor of the “Little Broadway” district that flourished in Overtown for almost 50 years. It is the oldest legitimate theater remaining in Miami. Now restored, the 390-seat theater features exhibits, festivals, jazz, theater, dance and multicultural performances. The Lyric Theater anchors the Historic Overtown Folklife Village. (305) 358-1146
Mt. Zion Baptist Church
201 NW 9th Street
Home to one of the oldest and most prominent black congregations of South Florida, this structure is noted for its Mediterranean Revival design. The Mt. Zion congregation helped raise funds to build Miami’s black-owned Christian Hospital. (305) 379-4147.
Bordered by NW 21st Street, NW 6th Street, NW 1st Avenue and I-95
One of the oldest neighborhoods in Miami, Overtown began as a community home to African American railroad, street and hotel workers. As early as 1904, the City of Miami directory listed businesses owned and operated by blacks, including general goods and services, a medical doctor, laundresses and laborers. At least one national convention was held annually in Overtown, and Miami’s Colored Board of Trade was established as a clearinghouse for commercial and civic betterment.
St. John’s Baptist Church
1328 NW 3rd Avenue
The congregation was organized in 1906. The current building, designed by the black architectural firm of McKissack and McKissack, was completed in 1940. The two-story masonry building is a rare example of the Art Deco style in Overtown. (305) 372-3877.
3861 Rickenbacker Causeway
In 1918, D.A. Dorsey, an African American millionaire, purchased what is now known as Fisher Island in hopes of establishing a black resort there. Due to increasing property taxes, Dorsey sold the property and without a beach, blacks protested by attempting to swim in white beach waters. On August 1, 1945, county officials designated Virginia Key Beach a “Dade County Park for the exclusive use of Negroes”. The park was only accessible by boat from a downtown dock on the Miami River. Structures included a concession stand, a bathhouse with restrooms, an octagonal carousel building and three picnic pavilions. A 70-foot wood tunnel surrounded by native coral rock was constructed in 1956 for a miniature train, and remains today. In 1944, the Navy conducted Negro training on this beach, since black enlisted men could not be trained on other beaches. (305) 960-4600
Florida Memorial College
15800 NW 42nd Avenue
In the late 1800s, the American Baptist Home Mission Society created two colleges in North Florida: The Florida Baptist Institute for Negroes in Live Oak (1879) and the Florida Baptist Academy in Jacksonville (1892). The two institutions merged in 1941. In 1963 the name Florida Memorial College was adopted and in 1968 the college moved to its permanent campus in Miami. This is the only historically Black university in the southern region of the state. (305) 626-3600
Bordered by Whitehead, Louisa, Fort and Angela Streets, Key West’s Bahama Village is a time capsule of unique residences, businesses, churches and community centers that were built during the 1800s when several hundred free blacks came from the Bahamas along with white Bahamian (English) settlers. Homes were built on land owned by John Simonton, William Whitehead, and John Fleming. Bahama Village was part of the original platted section of what is now downtown Key West. It's a great stop to experience Bahamian culture.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
223 Truman Avenue
The original church building was first established in 1878, in the 700 block of Duval Street. The Ku Klux Klan was rumored to be the culprit when it burned down in 1922. Reconstruction began in 1923. It's an important stop on a tour of Florida Keys history.
Bill Butler Park
Poorhouse Lane near the City Cemetery
This was the site of the county’s home for indigent senior citizens, also known as Monroe County Colored Folks Home. In 1986 the City created a park to honor the memory of William “Bill” Butler, a musician and founding father of the Key West Junkanoos and member of the Welter’s Coronet Band. The park is the site of the New Year’s morning Junkanoo Parade, a celebration with African roots which began in the Bahamas in the 17th century to preserve African cultural traditions in danger of being lost in the displacement process of the slave trade.
The Church of God of Prophecy
815 Elizabeth Street
Constructed in the late 1920s, this building began as an 800-square-foot family dwelling. Brother Kemp, a black Bahamian, and his protégé, John Bruce Knowles, Sr., remodeled it. This church was also called the “Jumper Church.”
The Community Pool at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Community Center
300 Catherine Street
The City of Key West built this pool for African Americans in 1946, when Key West beaches were segregated.
Cornish Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
702 Whitehead Street
This wood-frame, Gothic Revival structure is the oldest AME Zion church in Florida. Built in 1903, it is named in honor of Sandy Cornish, an early Bahamian immigrant who founded the congregation.
Higgs Beach Historic Marker
In 1860, African men, women and children being transported to Cuba on three American-owned ships, to be sold into slavery, were rescued by the U.S. Navy and brought to Key West. Local authorities took responsibility for the Africans while in Key West. While some returned to Africa, 294 were too ill to make the journey and died. They were buried in a mass grave on Higgs Beach where West Martello Tower now stands.
Key West Cemetery
Frank E. Adams, a black man, was the first law-enforcement officer in the Keys to be killed in the line of duty. Adams carried a gun and a badge as a Deputy Sheriff when few blacks in the nation held such jobs. Adams died on October 7, 1901, and was buried the next day. The location of his grave remained a mystery until it was discovered that Adams was not buried in the traditional black section of the cemetery because he was Catholic.
Nelson English Park
Corner of Thomas and Amelia Streets
Located in Bahama Village, this park is named for the African American civic leader who was the island’s postmaster from 1882 to 1886.
St. James First Missionary Baptist Church
312 Olivia Street
This church was founded in 1876 by freed blacks from Georgia, Alabama and North Florida who had come to the Keys to work on Henry Flagler’s railroad. Today’s masonry building is built around the wood original.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
800 Center Street
St. Peter’s is the oldest black Anglican Church in the Diocese of South Florida. It was designed and built in 1923 by Joseph Hannibal, a Key West native and son of Shadrack Hannibal, a runaway slave. The church was founded in 1875. A hurricane blew down the original building.
Trinity Presbyterian Street
717 Simonton Street
Served by ministers from the Bahamas on a quarterly basis until 1895, Trinity English Wesleylan Methodist Church was then accepted in the St. John’s Presbytery, and its name changed to Trinity Presbyterian. Established by both black and white Bahamians, the congregation was truly integrated, with no designated seating.
Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church
619 Petronia Street
Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church began when the congregation sought to join the U.S Presbyterian denomination because English ministers stopped coming from the Bahamas to serve Trinity, then the only English Wesleyan Methodist Church in America. George Allen, Sr., became an ordained pastor, and all pastors since have come from within the Allen Family. As a result, Trinity is informally known as Reverend Allen’s Church or the Allen Family Church.
Truman Little White House
111 Front Street
At the “Little White House,” on December 3, 1951, President Harry S. Truman, wrote the fourth Executive Order establishing the Committee on Government Contract Compliance to secure better compliance by contractors and subcontractors with laws that forbade discrimination because of race, creed, color or national origin. Truman announced the Executive Order to the press from the steps of this building. It's a significant part of Florida Keys history.
V.F.W. American Legion Hall
803 Emma Street
Architect and County Mayor C.B. Harvey donated plans for the building. Also known as the Black Town Hall, the building was constructed in 1951 by its members. The hall is named to commemorate blacks killed in World War I (William Weech American Legion Post) and World War II (Walter Mickens V.F.W. Post 6021).
5550 Overseas Highway
Located in the Crane Point Historic and Archaeological District, this Masonry Vernacular house was built in 1906 by George Adderley, a black Bahamian immigrant who was a sponge diver, boatman and charcoal maker. The one-story building with a hip roof is similar to residences built by blacks in the Bahamas during the 19th century.
Pigeon Key Historic District
Off U.S. Highway 1 at Mile Marker 45
The district consists of eight frame vernacular structures built between 1909 and 1920 as a railroad construction work camp for laborers on Henry Flagler’s “overseas railroad.” The camp includes a 1912 “Negro Workers’ Cottage.”
Off Highway 105 between Amelia City and Franklintown
The American Beach historic district, an important area during the era of segregation, is at the south end of Amelia Island. In 1935, A.L. Lewis, president of the Pension Bureau of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company bought the first 33 acres of oceanfront property. Company employees were invited to use the beach and the company held outings on the property. In 1937, 100 acres more were purchased, and in 1946, 83 additional acres were added to the land. Later subdivided, lots were sold to company executives and shareholders. The Pension Bureau acquired more land and built a public inn and beach resort. Although originally for the Company’s elite, later (from 1930-1970), the community was opened to blue collar workers. (904) 261-0175.
202 South 9th Street
Organized in 1872 from the Prayer Band started some years earlier by Samuel Irving, Macedonia AME Church was originally located on the corner of Seventh and Beech Streets. The Congregation moved into its newly built sanctuary in 1899. The bell in its belfry is original to the building. In the 1940s families purchased stained glass windows in honor of their loved ones. The Church has survived fire (1898), relocation and decline in membership. (904) 261-4114.
103 South 9th Street
Though Jefferson Davis stayed at this 1859 Antebellum mansion when he was president of the Confederacy, it later became part of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. The secret room used for that purpose is still in existence. The Williams House was constructed in 1859 by Marcellus Williams, a surveyor who worked to validate Spanish land Grants and the Everglades. The unique porch was added in 1860 and the south wing was added in 1880. The House now serves as a bed and breakfast inn. (904) 277-2328.
State Road 107
The church was founded just after the Civil War. The traditional site for free Blacks, Indians, Spanish Indians and Mulattoes, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church served as the rallying place for the African American community in Nassau County. The original church was built in 1870, destroyed in 1920 and rebuilt with community funding the same year. Restoration took place in the 1990s.
895 McClelland Street
The Okaloosa Negro Civic Club established a neighborhood park in the early 1950s. When a new school was built in 1954, Carver-Hill, the old one-room frame lunchroom building was given to the Civic Club by the Okaloosa County School Board. Enlarged and renovated, it became the Carver-Hill Museum, operated by the Carver-Hill Memorial and Historical Society, Inc. (850) 682-3494.
JRL Conyers Lodge #364
550 McDonald Street
The Masons and Eastern Stars are vital members of the African American community. This 1909 Lodge Hall was also used as an early school facility. 850-682-6043
FT. WALTON BEACH
Indian Mound Lodge #1205
118 Kiwi Place
The Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW) is the largest black fraternal organization in the world. This property is home of Indian Mound Lodge #1205 and Booker T. Washington Temple #852. The Lodge and Temple provide entertainment, historical programs and community service activities. (850) 244-1154.
The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts and Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community Inc. (PEC)
227 East Kennedy Boulevard
From the 1880s to the 1930s, hundreds of communities founded by and for African Americans were established throughout the southern U.S. Few have survived, but Eatonville is an exception. In 1887 it was the first of these communities to incorporate with an all black government. This 20-acre historic district includes buildings constructed between 1882 and 1946. The museum provides information on the community and displays the works of artists of African descent. Quarterly exhibitions feature the works of emerging and legendary artists. Eatonville’s Zora Neale Hurston Trail correlates 16 historic sites and 10 markers with Hurston’s writings. A walking/ driving tour brochure is available at the Museum. The Zora Neale Hurston trail is continued with the “Dust Tracks Heritage Trail” in Ft. Pierce. (407) 647-3307.
Bounded by Colonial Drive, Central Avenue, Division Street and Orange Blossom Trail
This is one of Orlando’s oldest black communities, originating in 1886. The district includes Callahan Neighborhood Center, the former old Jones High School, established in 1895. Though the educational group was founded in 1895, the building that housed Jones High (now the Callahan Neighborhood Center) was built in 1921. (407) 246-4442.
Dr. I.S. Hankins House
219 Lime Street (Private)
This Mediterranean Revival style residence was built in 1935 as the home of Orlando’s pioneer black physician who campaigned for improved race relations and black home ownership.
647 West South Street (Private)
Dr. I.S. Hankins constructed this Art Deco commercial building in 1947. Hankins was an African American physician, civic leader and active participant in the Washington Shores development, which provided opportunities for new home ownership for Orlando’s African American residents.
29 West Church Street
This Commercial Style structure was built in 1911 for J.A. Colyer, an African American tailor and J.E. Nicholson, a Canadian baker. It was one of few properties outside the traditional African American neighborhoods that was owned and operated by African Americans.
Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist
701 West South Street
The congregation first met in a shed in 1919, and erected this stone church in 1920. This Gothic Revival style building now houses the Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church. (407) 841-3658.
511 West South Street
Dr. William Monroe Wells, an African American physician, built this hotel in 1926 to provide lodging to African Americans visiting the Orlando area. Second-floor hotel rooms complemented three first-floor store fronts. The adjacent South Street Casino attracted many famous entertainers, and the hotel became their favorite stopping place. Today, with authentic furnishings of the 1930s, the museum, features artifacts that include official hotel documents, an original Negro League baseball jersey and slave records. Fully restored by The Trust for Public Land and the Association to Preserve African American Society, History and Tradition, Inc. (PAST), the Museum focuses on African American contributions to jazz and entertainment. (407) 245-7535.
Hannibal Square Historic Neighborhood
Pennsylvania and Morse Boulevard
From its beginning in 1881, African Americans played an integral part of Winter Park’s development. The original town plan designated the Hannibal Square neighborhood for homes of African Americans who worked in the groves, hotels, homes, and as carpenters and farmers. Landmark buildings include Mount Moriah Church, Bethel Baptist Church, Flowers Temple, Grant Chapel, the Early Rising Lodge and Lake Hall Lodge. For more information, visiit the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, 642 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407-539-2680
1702 North Back Street
This one-story masonry vernacular church was constructed in 1916. The name of Lawrence Silas, a prosperous black cattleman in Florida’s range country, appears on the cornerstone. With his father’s estate gone, Lawrence Silas rebuilt the family fortune and eventually owned thousands of head of cattle, contained within 50 miles of fence. (407) 847-4446.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
B.F. James & Frances Jane Bright Mini-Park
East side of NW 5th Avenue, 100 feet south of NW 1st Street
The park contains a bronze marker commemorating five historic sites in one of the oldest sections of Delray Beach. They are: School No. 4 Delray Colored, located on this site; Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 40 NW 4th Avenue; St. Paul AME Church, 119 NW 5th Avenue; Free and Accepted Masons Lodge 275, 85 NW 5th Avenue; and St. Matthew Episcopal Church, 404 SW 3rd Street.
The La France Hotel
140 NW 4th Avenue (Private)
Built in 1947 by Charles Patrick, the La France Hotel was one of the few establishments in South Florida that rented rooms to African Americans, including such great talents as Duke Ellington. www.delraycra.org.
170 NW 5th Avenue
Located in the 1926 Spanish-style home of the late Solomon D. Spady, a prominent African American educator and community leader, the museum is the only one of its kind in Palm Beach County. A 1935 house used by one of the city’s first black midwives, Susan B. Williams, was moved from Northwest Third Avenue to the museum grounds to house the Kids Cultural Club on the site. (561) 279-8883, www.spadymuseum.com.
The Osborne School
1726 Douglas Street
The first black school in Lake Worth, the school building was constructed in 1948, and served that purpose until 1971. The school was constructed by local residents and self taught builders, P.W. Odums, Able Wilson and Frank Jones. In 1980, the Osborne School reopened as a community education facility. (561) 493-1190.
WEST PALM BEACH
2200 N. Flagler Drive
One of the largest memorials commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this park contains numerous plaques and photos honoring Dr. King’s life, family, speeches and the civil rights movement.
Hurricane of 1928 Mass Burial Site Historical Marker
Southwest corner of 25th Street and Tamarind Avenue
On Sept. 16, 1928, a hurricane came ashore near the Jupiter Lighthouse and traveled west across Palm Beach County to Lake Okeechobee. Many of the 1,800 to 3,000 fatalities occurred when the Lake Okeechobee dike collapsed, flooding the populated south side of the lake. Approximately 1,600 victims were placed in a mass grave in Port Mayaca in Martin County. In West Palm Beach, 69 white victims were placed in a mass grave in Woodlawn Cemetery and 674 primarily black agricultural workers were interred in the city’s pauper’s burial field at Tamarind Avenue and 25th Street. Many others were never found. On Oct. 1, 1928, a city-proclaimed hour of mourning for the victims was observed. Memorial rites were conducted simultaneously at both of the burial sites. At the pauper’s cemetery, black educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune read the mayor’s proclamation to the 3,000 people attending the ceremonies.
Industrial High School
800 11th Street
When Industrial High opened in 1914, it was the first African American high school in Palm Beach County and housed grades one through 12. The last class graduated in 1950 when a new school, Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School, was opened.
815 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard
Built in 1946, the Jenkins House was home to African American pharmacist, Dr. Joseph Wiley Jenkins, his wife, Roberta and daughter Ramona. In 1966, the Jenkins House was sold to the City of West Palm Beach and designated a historic site.
The Mickens House
801 4th (Private)
The Mickens House was built in 1917. Alice Frederick Mickens rose to prominence as a promoter of higher education for blacks. She was chosen “Outstanding Woman of the Century” at the American Negro Emancipation Convention in 1963, and entertained such notables as Dr. Ralph Bunche, Mary McLeod Bethune and A. Phillip Randolph at her home.
Bounded by NW 2nd St. 15th St., Tamarind Avenue and N. Rosemary Avenue
Local black builders and contractors such as Simeon Mother, R.A. Smith, J.S. Woodside, Alfred Williams and Samuel O. Major constructed most of the buildings in this district. Local architects such as West Palm Beach’s first black architect, Hazel Augustus, and the firm of Harvey and Clarke designed a few of the buildings, notably churches. The first blacks arrived here starting in 1894, when residents of the Palm Beach area known as “The Styx” relocated to the northwest section of the city. This district is the only remaining portion of the original black settlement.
Old Pleasant City Elementary School
501 21st Street
One of two black schools in West Palm Beach, Pleasant City Elementary School began on the first floor of the Mount Parnassis Odd Fellows Hall. Constructed in 1914, this was the only building in the Pleasant City area designed by Hazel Augustus, the first black architect in Palm Beach County. The school board purchased and renovated the building in 1926. In the early 1960s, the city acquired it for a recreational center. Renamed the Pleasant City Community Multi-Cultural Center, the school today serves as a social service center. (561) 835-7105.
Pine Ridge Hospital
1401 Division Avenue (Private)
Harvey and Clarke, an architectural firm responsible for $7 million worth of new construction in South Florida from 1921 and 1925, designed Pine Ridge Hospital in 1923. It was the only area hospital admitting blacks during segregation. In the 1920s and 1930s, the hospital superintendent, Petra Pinn, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, and all the nurses, were medically certified, and the hospital was well-equipped for the time. Pine Ridge Hospital was open until 1956, when patients were moved to the new black only north wing of St. Mary’s Hospital. The building was completely renovated in 2000. It has since been converted to apartments. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church
3345 North Haverhill Road
Organized by the Rev. Charles Long, Sr., in 1900, St. Paul is the oldest church in Pleasant City. As membership grew, the congregation built a small church and named it Gethsemane. When African American families moved from Palm Beach, many settled in Pleasant City, where they built the current church and named it St. Paul. (561) 242-0001.
Tabernacle Baptist Church
801 8th Street
This church was founded in 1893 as Mount Olive Baptist Church. In 1894, the first public black school in West Palm Beach was organized and held classes in the church through 1896. Built in 1925, this neo-Romanesque Revival style structure is the sole example of this style in the Northwest Historic District. (561) 832-8338.
Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church
14518 7th Street at Martin Luther King Blvd.
Organized in 1896, this congregation built its first sanctuary, a small wooden structure, on a nearby lot donated by W. I. Porter. The present brick church was dedicated on January 1, 1920, by Rev. C. J. Smith. (352) 567-6565.
1101 Marshall Street
Headquartered in the former Curtis Elementary School, the museum serves as a research center for the study of African American culture and life and as lead sponsor of the Florida African American Heritage Celebration. 727-499-8067
600 Jones Street
Constructed in 1913, the historic Gothic Revival style building is located on the site of the original church built in 1896 for the Mount Olive AME parishioners. 727-443-2142
Heritage Village in Largo is a 21-acre living history museum and village that includes 28 historic structures. Of special interest is the Union Academy building which stood on the grounds of the 1915 Union Academy in Tarpon Springs, one of the first “Negro schools” established in Pinellas County. The Sulphur Springs Depot is a 1924 wood-frame railroad depot typical of rural stations in the south that required separate facilities for white and “colored” passengers during segregation. The Pinellas County Historical Museum archives and library contain collections pertaining to local African American history. The museum is open by appointment only. 727-582-2123
2240 9th Avenue South
The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is named in honor of the man, born of slave parents, who became the driving force behind The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and first editor and publisher of The Journal of Negro History. Dr. Woodson is often called “The Father of Negro history”. The museum is housed in the former Jordan Park Housing Development Community and Management office. Built between 1939 and 1941, the Jordan Park neighborhood was established on land donated by the Elder Homer Jordan, a successful entrepreneur. The facility provides exhibitions and educational programming. 727-323-1104
Johnnie Ruth Clark Health Center at the Historic Mercy Hospital Campus
1344 22nd Street South
Built in 1923, Mercy Hospital is St. Petersburg’s oldest surviving hospital building. Designed by St. Petersburg architect, Henry Taylor, it was directed by Dr. James Ponder, one of the most influential leaders of St. Petersburg’s African American community. Dr. Ponder became St. Petersburg’s first African American physician in 1926. As the primary care facility for the City’s African Americans from 1923 to 1966, Mercy Hospital was the site of protests demanding the desegregation of the City’s hospital facilities during the civil rights movements of the 1960s. A public gallery features early contributions by African American physicians and health workers to St. Petersburg’s medical community.
642 22nd Street South (Private)
Built in 1925, the Manhattan Casino is significant for its association with Elder Jordan, a local African American entrepreneur, who, with his five sons settled in St. Petersburg in 1904. Jordan and his sons contracted in 1925 to build the two-story building, which first opened as the Jordan Dance Hall in 1931. Later known as the Manhattan Casino, it was the place for cultural and social entertainment in the black community during segregation. Closed in 1966, the original Manhattan Casino space has been restored and is available for lease. 727-893-7539 (City of St. Petersburg, Midtown/ Economic Development).
1011 22nd Street South
The Royal Theater operated from 1948 to 1966 in the African American community in St. Petersburg. During segregation it was one of only two movie theaters serving African Americans in St. Petersburg. Built in 1948, the theater was designed by Philip F. Kennard for the Gulf Coast Entertainment Company. It is one of the few remaining “Quonset Huts” within St. Petersburg. As a lightweight, portable, and economic building type, these huts are inherently rare pieces of architecture. The building was renovated in 2002 and is now a youth center. 727-327-6556
Trinity Presbyterian Church/Happy Workers Day Care
902 19th Street South
Built in 1929, the Trinity Presbyterian Church/Happy Workers Day Care is important for its link to St. Petersburg’s educational, social and religious history. In 1928, the Presbyterian Synod of Atlanta determined that south St. Petersburg should have a church, and chose Rev. Oscar M. McAdams as ordained minister. His wife, Willie Lee, established the church in a wood frame vernacular-style building believed to have been constructed as a private residence in 1928. In 1929 the McAdams’ established a Day Nursery at the church. 727-894-5337.
Jasmine Avenue off Keystone Road
Rose Cemetery, formerly known as Rose Hill Cemetery was a segregated burial site built in the 1800s. Ground-penetrating radar has identified the grave of J. Richard Quarls, honored for his service by the Sons of Confederate Veterans because he joined the Confederate Army and fought against the Union Army. Quarls was the only black citizen of Tarpon Springs to have gone to the National Convention of the United Confederate Veterans. In 2003 a graveside dedication was held for the tombstone that reads: “Pvt. J. Richard Quarls, Co. K, 7 SC Inf. CSA.”
470 L.B. Brown Ave.
This Victorian-style house was built in 1892 by Lawrence Bernard Brown. Mr. Brown was a self-taught master carpenter who was born in slavery in 1856. Upon gaining his freedom, Brown invested in property in Bartow and built a large number of houses, which he sold or rented. Brown was a pioneer entrepreneur and a leading citizen in the Bartow community. Members of the Brown family lived in the home for nearly 100 years, until 1989. The house has been restored to its original condition and now houses a museum. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the general public. Admission is free. (863) 534-0100
First Providence Missionary Baptist Church
1030 West King Street
Organized in 1856 as the Providence Colored Baptist Church, the congregation is the oldest black church in Polk County. Known today as the First Providence Missionary Baptist Church, it is located in one of Polk County’s oldest settlements of West Bartow. West Bartow was originally called "Over The Branch" by the black citizens who lived there. The church served as the place where the first school for black children was housed and where the First South Florida Missionary Baptist District Association began in the 1890s. A number of other black statewide church groups were also started there.
Historic Evergreen Cemetery
Highway 60 West
This historic cemetery is located on 12 acres of land on the western edge of Bartow. One of the county’s oldest black cemeteries, it includes the headstone of Prince Johnson, one of four black men who, along with 18 white men, voted to incorporate the town of Bartow in 1882. The 1890s graves of Andy and his wife Tamer (Reed) Moore are also found there. Andy and Tamer Moore were brought to Bartow as slaves prior to the Civil War and remained after slavery ended, becoming prominent farmers in the Bartow community.
St. James African Methodist Church
765 S. Fourth Ave
This AME church started as a small wooden structure in 1894 and been a beacon in this thriving East Bartow community ever since. (863) 533-6109.
Bethune Neighborhood Center
8th Street and Avenue E
Formerly known as Oakland High School, this five-building complex was a school for black children from Haines City, Loughman, Davenport, Lake Hamilton, Dundee and the unincorporated areas of Northeast Polk County. It is presently used for civil, recreational and educational functions. (863) 421-3725.
Buffalo Soldiers Encampment Historical Marker
20 Lake Wire Drive
One of four all-black regiments in the regular army at the outbreak of the Spanish American War, the 10th Cavalry camped at this site on the shore of Lake Wire in the spring of 1898 while awaiting transport to Cuba. The black regiments gained renown and the nickname “Buffalo Soldiers” as a result of their exploits in campaigns against the American Indians on the Western frontier.
115 East Street North
Roosevelt is Lake Wales’ only remaining historic school, and the historic site for African American education in Lake Wales. The largest building, constructed in 1937 is of masonry vernacular construction with Italian Renaissance elements.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
New Providence Missionary Baptist Church (Bagdad Museum Complex)
4512 Church Street
This church is among the oldest in Santa Rosa County. Carpenters who were sons of the pastor, the Rev. John Kelker, Sr., built the original church. The current wood frame vernacular structure was built in 1901. Moved to its present location in 1989, the building serves as a community center and museum devoted to the history of Bagdad, the churches and the black community. (850) 981-1313.
410 Clara Street
The Mount Pilgrim African Baptist Church was organized in 1866 by blacks that left the First Baptist Church. This 1916 building is an excellent example of Gothic Revival architecture designed by Wallace A. Rayfield, a leading African American architect in the South during the early 20th century. Members of Mount Pilgrim helped establish four other African American congregations in the community.
1101 South Pine Avenue
Built between 1900 and 1910, this frame vernacular two story T-shaped building served as Sanford High School. One of the few remaining early black high schools in Florida, the facility now houses an educational community service center.
John H. Hurston House
621 East 6th Street (Private)
The Reverend John Hurston was the father of noted author and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston. Reverend Hurston and his wife, Mattie, lived in this Second Empire style residence.
1211 Historical Goldsboro Boulevard
On Dec. 1, 1891 the town of Goldsboro marched into history as the second black incorporated City in the United States. The Goldsboro Museum showcases and preserves the history, heritage, livelihood, and culture of the area.
1211 Historical Goldsboro Boulevard
Crooms Academy, an all-black institute, was constructed in 1926 due to the westward movement by the Black population of the Goldsboro Community, once known as the “Celery Belt”. The history of Crooms Academy is told in a wide-ranging collection of pictures, year books, and other artifacts and memorabilia depicting the Crooms story.
West 25th Street
Page Jackson Cemetery was established in 1830 as the main burial ground for former slaves and their decedents residing in Goldsboro. At the time of its conception it was known as the “Colored Cemetery,” and is located approximately on 2 acres of land that gave African Americans the opportunity to give their loved ones a final respectful resting place. The extraordinary heritage of African American community leaders, businessmen, educators, politicians, farmworkers, railroad labors, domestics, indigents, all who were early settlers before the incorporation of Goldsboro and the City of Sanford are all buried side by side. Within its boundaries also lies the final resting place for African American Civil War, World War I, World War II Veterans.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
On Anastasia Island east of St. Augustine on Highway A1A just south of the Mary Street ramp
In 1927, Lincolnville businessman Frank B. Butler bought land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River, which he developed into Butler Beach. For many years this was the only beach that African Americans were allowed to use between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach.
Cary A. White, Sr. Complex, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
207 North St. Marco Avenue
This classroom and dormitory area is dedicated to the memory of the first African American deaf graduate of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Cary A. White, Sr., worked at the school for 46 years and was an assistant in the dorm where Ray Charles lived while he was a student at the school. (904) 827-2219
Excelsior High School
102 Martin Luther King Avenue
Built in 1924 as a public high school for St. Augustine’s African Americans, for 50 years this building also served as a state social service center. Currently home to the Excelsior Museum and Cultural Center of Lincolnville, the exhibit includes seven historical themes. The building also includes a reading resource center and a small library. (904) 824-1191.
Fort Mose Trail, two miles north of St. Augustine off U.S. 1
In 1693, King Charles II of Spain decreed runaway slaves were to be given sanctuary in his colonies. Black fugitives from the British Colonies made their way south and fought against a British retaliatory attack on St. Augustine. In 1728, the territorial governor abolished the slave market and freed any remaining soldiers who were slaves. Ten years later Governor Montiano established Fort Mose´ as the first free black settlement in North America and the northernmost outpost protecting the capital of Spanish Florida. The Spanish encouraged enslaved Africans to flee English settlements in the Carolinas, promising them freedom if they converted to Catholicism. Fort Mose´ was a diverse community made up of people from widely varied backgrounds: Nandingos, Congos, Carabalis, Minas, Gambas, Lecumis, Sambas, Gangas, Araras and Guineans. The fort and village were abandoned in 1763 and for more than 175 years the remains of this first free black town lay forgotten in a salt marsh north of St. Augustine. Although nothing remains of the fort, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and is a tangible reminder of the people who risked and often lost their lives in their struggle to attain freedom. A festival is held annually to reenact the journey to freedom. A Florida State Park Visitor Center showcases the history of the site. (407) 823-2232.
Bounded by Bridge, Cordova, Cerro and Riberia streets
In 1866 former black slaves began settling a three-block area in St. Augustine at first known as Africa but later renamed Lincolnville. By 1885, Lincolnville was a growing black business and residential community. Lincolnville has the greatest concentration of late 19th century architecture in the city.
St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church and School
86 Martin Luther King Boulevard
This block of property in the Lincolnville District is owned by the Catholic Church and contains historic buildings important to St. Augustine’s African American heritage. It was part of the “Yallaha” orange grove plantation before the Civil War and was conveyed to the church by the Dumas family in 1890. The first building constructed in 1898 was the school (currently under renovation), originally called St. Cecilia, later St. Benedict. It is the oldest surviving brick schoolhouse in St. Augustine. With a tower and original wraparound porch, it is a landmark of Victorian architecture. Part of the proceeds came from Saint Katharine Drexel, a wealthy Philadelphia heiress who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People and established more than 60 Catholic parochial schools around the country.
The Sisters of St. Joseph who came from Le Puy, France in 1866 operated the school. They were involved in a civil rights case in 1916, when three Sisters were arrested for violating a 1913 Florida law that made it a criminal offense for whites to teach black children. St. Benedict the Moor Church, located on the north end of the property, designed by Savannah architects Robinson and Reidy, was completed in 1911. The rectory was built in 1915 and housed the Josephite Fathers out of Baltimore, who pastored here for many years. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited the rectory in 1964. (904) 824-2806.
399 South Riberia Street
This recreational facility is named in honor of St. Augustine native Willie Galimore. The former Florida A&M three-time All American played seven years with the Chicago Bears in the National Football League. (904) 825-1010.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
500 North Indian River Drive
This museum was established in 1960 by A.E. Backus, a preeminent Florida landscape painter and local art enthusiast. Backus was recognized for his friendship and encouragement in the 1950s of a number of African Americans who became known as “The Highwaymen”. This museum and gallery features the work of Backus as well as that of a number of other artists. (772) 465-0630.
More about The Highwaymen
A. E. Backus, a white Southerner during a time when racial equality was not yet taken seriously, cultivated friendships with Highwaymen artists Harold Newton and R. A. McLendon. In the mid and late 1950s other self-taught African American artists started painting with Backus, or making frames in his studio. The only Highwayman artist believed to have ever taken formal lessons from Backus was Alfred Hair. Hair organized the other (nearly 26) Highwaymen artists and was instrumental in directing the “mass production” of Florida landscape paintings. They painted landscapes with available paints and materials, framing them with molding from doors, ceilings, and baseboards. Sometimes with the paint still wet, the artists would travel the state selling their paintings out of the trunks of their cars (hence the name, “The Highwaymen”). By selling directly to the public, they set the standard for other self-taught African American artists who started painting Florida landscapes using the highwaymen-like art motif.
1734 Avenue L
In 1957 Zora Neale Hurston moved to Fort Pierce, and was offered a small two-bedroom house, rent free, by Dr. C.C. Benton, a family friend from her Eatonville childhood. Dr. Benton, a respected physician, had worked to establish the School Court community. He sold land for a new black high school, built duplexes on the south side in 1950, and individual houses in 1957. School Court was the first attempt by a private enterprise to provide affordable, safe housing for the community. This house was Hurston’s home from 1957 until her death in 1960. During this period she wrote for the Fort Pierce Chronicle, a black weekly, and worked on her manuscript, Herod the Great. Contemporaries recall her dog Sport, a back bedroom full of papers, books and a typewriter, a garden with beans, peas, onions, and collards and a flower yard with roses, zinnias and hibiscus.
Zora Neale Hurston Branch Library
3008 Avenue D
The Zora Neale Hurston Branch Library is named for the African American author, storyteller, folklorist and anthropologist who grew up in Eatonville, and spent the last years of her life in Fort Pierce where she is buried. The library serves as the starting point of the Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail. (772) 462-1618
Avenue S and North 17th Street
Zora Neale Hurston was buried in an unmarked grave until African American novelist Alice Walker (best known perhaps as the author of The Color Purple) and literary scholar Charlotte Hunt found and marked the grave in 1973. Located in the Garden of the Heavenly Rest Cemetery, Hurston’s grave marker is flanked by two plants and inscribed, “Zora Neale Hurston, A genius of the South.”
Off State Road 476 West Highway 301
Louise Pacheco (Patio), a Negro slave and interpreter for Major Francis L. Dade, was one of only four survivors of the Dade Massacre. The 1835 battle marked the beginning of the Second Seminole War, the most protracted and costly of the nation’s Indian wars. (352) 793-4781.
502 Walker Avenue SW
The first church was built on the corner of Parshley and Houston Avenue. Workers later moved the building to its present site on Walker Avenue.
640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard
In 1904 Mary McLeod Bethune established the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. At the time, her only assets were $1.50 in capital and packing cases. Through her persistent efforts, Bethune received funding from several wealthy northern industrialists who wintered nearby, including Thomas H. White of White Sewing Machine Company and James Gamble of the Proctor and Gamble Company. In 1923, her girls’ school merged with the Jacksonville-based Cookman Institute to become Bethune-Cookman College. In February of 2007, the college was officially renamed Bethune-Cookman University. The campus of Bethune-Cookman University is home to several buildings and sites important to Daytona Beach African American history including White Hall, a two-story Georgian Revival style building on campus, was constructed in 1916. (386) 481-2000
Howard Thurman Home
614 Whitehall Street
This two-story frame vernacular structure, the childhood home of Dr. Howard Thurman, constructed circa 1888, was one of the first located on the street. Born in the home in 1900, Dr. Thurman lived there for some time. Dr. Thurman was known as a theological advocate of the unity of the human race. He became the first black dean at Boston University and then first dean at Rankin Chapel at Howard University in the District of Columbia. Thurman created, taught and wrote of a climate of action-oriented nonviolence that was later inherited and institutionalized by the Civil Rights Movement. His home is a must-visit on a tour of African American sites in Daytona.
105 East Orange Avenue
Baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson played his first exhibition game as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers farm club at this park on March 17, 1946, professional baseball’s first integrated game. In 1947, Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and made baseball history. Not only is this park an important part of African American history in Daytona Beach, but it's also a fun place to go. (386) 257-3172,
Mary McLeod Bethune House
640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd.
This simple two-story frame vernacular structure was the home of Mary McLeod Bethune from the time of its construction in 1913 until Dr. Bethune’s death in 1955. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974, the house museum contains original furnishings and archives for the Mary McLeod Bethune papers. Visitors may tour the Mary McLeod Bethune Home and gravesite, and the guest bedroom in which her friend, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, stayed during a visit. (386) 481-2122, ext. 372.
325 South Clara Avenue
Established in 1994 to enhance public appreciation of African American and Caribbean American cultures, today more than 150 pieces of art including sculptures and masks from countries of Africa are featured in the permanent gallery. (386) 736-4004
J.W. Wright Building
258-264 W. Voorhis Avenue
This building was constructed in 1920 and designed by architect Francis Miller, who was active in the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The Wright Building is a two-story masonry vernacular structure. Until the 1960s, the building was a cornerstone of a bustling African American business and entertainment district.
230 N. Stone Street
The original masonry vernacular building constructed in 1926 was significant in the development of medical services for African American residents of Volusia County. The original building was replaced because of termite damage with a similar-looking one erected in the mid-1990s. A portion of the new building contains the Black Museum. (386) 740-5800
Centered around Voorthis, Euclid, Garfield, and Boston Avenue
The Yemassee area contains some of the oldest buildings (1890s through 1920s) associated with black residential neighborhoods in DeLand. Embodying Late Gothic Revival styling, the Greater Union Baptist Church was constructed at 240 South Clara Avenue in 1893.
Garfield Avenue at Lakeshore Drive
Dating back to the late-19th to mid-20th century, an archeological survey of this African American cemetery has found 13 marked graves.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH
Highway A1A, 6 miles south of New Smyrna Beach
Educator Mary McLeod Bethune and other black investors purchased this ocean-front property in the 1940s to develop a black residential resort community and recreation area.
314 North Duss Street
The Old Sacred Heart/St. Rita (Colored) Mission Church building, constructed in 1899, was one of the few houses of worship for black Roman Catholics in this area, and the only one left standing. Moved to this site, the building now houses exhibits with more than 100 replicas of African American inventions, Florida East Coast Railroad artifacts and photographs from Chisholm High School, the first black school in Volusia county. (386) 478-1934
3431 Ridgewood Avenue
A state historic marker recognizes this community settled in 1867 by freed slaves after the Civil War. On the second Tuesday in February each year, the City of Port Orange celebrates Freemanville Day, with historic reenactments.
Mount Moriah Baptist Church
941 North Orange Avenue
The last building standing from the Freemanville community, a settlement of freed slaves. Built in 1911, it still serves as a place of worship for descendants of those original settlers.
Old Shadeville High School Marker
87 Andrew Hargrett, Sr. Road (off County Road 61 east of Crawfordville Highway)
An African-American high school for Wakulla County was constructed as an addition to the Shadeville Elementary School. After providing education to black students for 36 years, Shadeville was closed due to school desegregation in 1967. It is the oldest educational site used by the school board; the school was granted to the school board in 1909. A monument was placed at the site in 1992 by Shadeville High School Alumni.
Corner of Florence Street and Dorsey Avenue In 1945, John Booker Jordan built the Jordan Theater as a motion picture theater. In the mid-1950s the theater was converted into a teen club, and is now a church. The block between the former Jordan Theater and the Tivoli School on Park Street was the business center for the black community in DeFuniak Springs. Building signs indicate the former business occupants.
145 Park Street
Tivoli School opened in 1908 to serve black students in elementary and junior high grades. By 1938 the school taught grades one through twelve until its closing in 1969 during desegregation. The Tivoli Complex is now home to the administrative offices of the Walton County School Board. (850) 892-1100)
261 Flowersview Boulevard
Gladys Milton (1924-1999) was a local midwife who operated a birthing center in the Flowersview community. Milton was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994, and in 2001 into Okaloosa County’s Women’s Hall of Fame. The library displays books, reference material and pictures honoring Ms. Milton’s career from 1959 to 1999. (850) 834-5383
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 dos.myflorida.com/historical/ .
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