Working against the odds, teenagers and their band leader became effective goodwill ambassadors for Orlando’s African American community in the days before the Civil Rights Movement.
Father Pinder led the fight to integrate Orlando’s restaurants and lunch counters, stores, playgrounds, parks, and schools. He helped to persuade the Orlando Sentinel to eliminate its “Negro Section” and to cover African Americans in the main edition of the paper.
The change Disney created in Orlando surely qualifies as the most dramatic and complete, with the most far-reaching consequences, but it was definitely not the first. Historian Tana Porter lists other significant events that shaped the City Beautiful.
The Crooms’ legacy of education lives on. Distinguished alumni of the Hopper Academy and the Crooms Academy include the author/anthropologist Zora Neal Hurston; U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings; and George Allen, the first black graduate of the University of Florida’s law school.
“When we were goin’ and blowin’,” Bob Snow says Church Street Station “had such a reputation.” In its prime in the 1980s, it was one of the premier attractions in Florida. Lili Marlene's Aviator's Pub and Restaurant was the "top-grossing restaurant in the state until Hard Rock.”
Gus Henderson was the embodiment of the “self-made man”; from his humble beginnings, he became one of the South’s most eloquent editorialists and left an indelible mark on Central Florida history.
In 1962, the citizens of Orlando passed a Civic Improvements Bond issue that provided a million dollars to replace the Albertson Public Library, a Neoclassical-style structure that opened in 1923. For the new building, the city selected the Connecticut-based architect John Johansen (1916-2012).
This is the extraordinary story of an Orange County native who became an aviation pioneer and world-class airshow performer. Grace Ellen Butt graduated from Winter Park High and Rollins College and was a debutante of the Rosalind Club, but to her generation, she was the legendary “Grace the Ace.”
Being sick or injured in early 20th-century Orlando was a much different experience than it is today. If you could not afford to pay a doctor to make a house call, you might have found yourself in a lantern-lit hospital ward, cooled only with fans blowing over crushed ice.
Like so many Midwesterners, Annie Oakley wintered in Florida, and despite her fascinating, globe-trotting personal history, two of the most “pivotal events of her life” happened in the Sunshine State. She was a part of our history, as Florida was of her’s.