What Can We Learn From The Past?

De jure segregation, also known as Jim Crow, legally maintained the separation of races in the nation’s 17 Southern states. Black students were taught by Black teachers in Black Schools. Although unjust and unequal, this legacy of Black education was successful, professional, effective and cherished by Black communities.

There were hundreds of  Black institutions across the state of Florida. Each with their own unique history. Many of which we no longer possess records of. This project restores the rich legacy of these institutions.

stanton high school 1917

Stanton school – Jacksonville, Florida. 191-?. Black & white photoprint, 8 x 10 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Stanton High School, in Jacksonville, Florida, pictured above, was under the direction of Principal James Weldon Johnson, from 1894 to 1902. James Weldon Johnson was the author of the poem Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.  Stanton High School was the first Black high school with the honor of being accredited by the Florida State Department of Education.

Howard Academy 2

Howard Academy, Ocala, Florida.  Photo: Diedre Houchen

Howard Academy, in Ocala, Florida was the city’s first Black school. It was the site of a secret meeting featured in the Exhibition. Harry T. Moore, Edward Daniels, Gilbert Porter, John Gilbert and Noah Griffin attended that secret meeting in 1937, one year after this building, which still stands in Ocala was erected.

Visit here the audio files to hear the voices of Jim Crow’s Black educators.

Visit here to learn about the Florida State Teachers Association, the all-Black professional association of educators across the state.