Rosa Lee Jones:  The Mother of Cocoa

By Marissa Bellenger, HERstory: Women in History Intern at the History Center for fall 2022 The Space Coast certainly has its share of significant history, including notable women, but you may not have heard of one of the most remarkable: Rosa Lee Jones. Her life was dedicated to activism and

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Annual Brechner Speaker Series returns with a focus on music

Topics range from hip-hop and punk to Beatles, Allman Brothers The Orange County Regional History Center announces its 2023 Brechner Speaker Series, presenting four distinguished programs that focus on varied aspects of music in Florida — a theme designed to complement the museum’s current special exhibition, Figurehead: Music & Mayhem

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Can’t Stop the Music

By Whitney Barrett, History Center Archivist From the Spring 2022 edition of Reflections From Central Florida Although you might not think of Orlando as a popular music destination, many of the great singers of jazz, blues, and gospel music passed through the city during its history. Big names such as Ray Charles,

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Downtown Orlando’s Civil Rights Sit-Ins

On March 9, 1962, eleven Black students were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct for simply refusing to vacate a whites-only lunch counter during a peaceful sit-in demonstration at Stroud’s Rexall Drugstore on Orange Avenue and Church Street.

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Honoring the Honorable Mable Butler

The recipient of the John Young History Maker Award for 2021, the Honorable Mable Butler blazed a historic career in public service in Orlando and Orange County. She was the first African American woman on Orlando’s City Council and the first African American member on the County Commission.

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Parramore’s Landmark Churches

In Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood, African Americans worshipped outdoors in brush arbors and stables while they saved funds to build proper churches, which served not only as places of worship but also as social centers, gathering places, and schools.

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The Wells’Built: Rich Echoes of the Past on South Street

Now, the hotel on South Street near Division Avenue – originally called the Wellsbilt – is home to the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture.

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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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