Preacher’s House

Goldsboro, a bustling all-black community west of French Avenue in Sanford, was established in 1891. If the City of Sanford had not annexed Goldsboro, there would have been two all-black incorporated cities in Central Florida—Eatonville and Goldsboro.

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This Was Jonestown

Former slaves founded Orlando’s first African American community about 1880, when Sam Jones and his wife, Penny, settled along the banks of Fern Creek, about a mile east of Orlando’s downtown. Orlando’s promise of growth and prosperity attracted other African Americans hoping to find new lives in Florida.

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Preparing for a Landmark Exhibition

 History Center staff are preparing a major exhibition that will open just weeks before the 2020 national election and will look back a century to Election Day 1920 in Orange County – telling the story of the largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history, along with its aftermath.

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Chief Wilson and the Jones High School Band

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.

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Father Nelson Pinder and the Jones High School Class of 1962

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.

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The Crooms Family: A Legacy of Education

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.

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Gus Henderson: Crusading Voice for Voters and Newspaper Pioneer

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.  

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Sepia tone photos of doctors McEwan and Christ both wear suits and bow-ties.

Orlando’s First Hospital and the Rivalry That Transformed a Community

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.

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Mary McLeod Bethune wearing a Victorian-stye dress with a locket

Inaugural Women’s History Breakfast Honors Mary McLeod Bethune

On March 12, the Orange County Regional History Center presents its inaugural Women’s History Month Breakfast with a program honoring Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), the legendary Daytona Beach educator who is hailed as one of our nation’s most powerful advocates for civil rights and suffrage.

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