TRS Documentary: Florida Black History
Florida Black History
The Florida black history story begins with most of Florida’s black community originally coming from the West Indies or other neighboring southern states like Georgia or Alabama, the story of Florida is very diverse and unlike any other state in the country.
Early Florida black history, black citizens experience heavy discrimination through local Jim Crow and Black Code laws.
Many in the black community would earn a living by working as servants for the wealthy, helping with construction of communities and infrastructures, or working on the local farms cropping fruits and vegetables.
One of the most populated states in the country is divided into North, Central, and South Florida.
North Florida has more of a traditional southern story than the rest of the state, due to the excessive amount of lynching’s and discrimination that was occurring years ago.
With most of North Florida’s black communities in rural and small towns, the urban communities of Jacksonville went from the predominantly black areas like the Davis Street district or Durkeeville to expanding into most of the neighborhoods on the North and West sides.
Similar to Jacksonville, the black communities of Tallahassee and Gainesville expanded from the historic neighborhoods of Frenchtown and 5th Avenue to their native part of town, whether its Tallahassee’s South Side or the East Side of Gainesville.
Central Florida, from Tampa Bay to Orlando to the Space Coast area of Brevard County, had countless of African-Americans to migrate into the area from places like North Florida or Georgia during the early 1900s as employment opportunities led people to live in communities like Parramore of Orlando or Tampa’s Central Avenue.
South Florida, which has a large West Indian presence of Bahamians, Haitians, and Jamaicans, is made up of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami Dade counties.
Legendary neighborhoods of Sistrunk in Fort Lauderdale, Pleasant City of West Palm Beach or Miami’s Overtown make up a few of the original communities that blacks were placed in during the early development of South Florida.
Even though South Florida is diverse among the ethnic backgrounds, the entire region can be seen as one big city, as many of the neighborhoods from Riviera Beach to Florida City have the same historic story and have similar cultures within the urban communities.
Many of the historic black communities of Florida were later affected by slum clearance and urban renewal construction of housing projects, highways, or public buildings that were built directly in the heart of the community.
While most of Florida’s black communities originally started in one or a few isolated neighborhoods, Florida’s black population would eventually expand over the years, especially after the ending of segregation, which led to the white and black flight out of a number of communities, starting around the 1960s and 70s.
Today, gentrification is currently affecting many of the urban communities in Florida, especially the ones that are near their city’s downtown areas, tourist attractions, universities and business and entertainment districts.