History of the Community

1885 - 1905

1906 - 1925

1926 - 1945

1946 - 1965

1966 - 1985


roaring 20s, Great depression & WWII

The Roaring Twenties, between 1920-1928, was a period of economic prosperity in the United States.  The period was marked by rapid industrial and economic growth, increased consumer demand and significant changes brought about by the development and use of new technology like automobiles, telephones, electric appliances and radios.


Like the majority society, Black communities also prospered.  At that time, a social, artistic and cultural revolution was taking place and blacks were in the mist of the change.  Jazz and dancing blossomed and a new generation of women whose style was coined as Flappers emerged.  Josephine Baker played a significant role in promoting the phrase when she performed the Charleston dance.


In Lakeland, the white-controlled government provided funding for Black initiatives like schools and educational facilities.  The funding levels were in no way in comparison to that for the white community, but were beneficial.  The Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the era, as the Great Depression brought years of hardship worldwide.


The Great Depression started in the United States after a major fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929.  The depression became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday).   The economies of some countries started to recover by the mid-1930s.


As part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal agenda, the government created a series of programs, public works projects and financial reforms to respond to the negative conditions caused by the Great Depression.  One program was the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  Under one WPA program, Paul Diggs was commissioned to interview several Black Lakelanders to capture a view of their lives at the times.  Paul Diggs was a Black resident of the Lakeland.  The following is a list of the interviewees.  Select their name to view their interview.


Dave & Jeanette Bevely

John & Rebecca Boyd

Patience Flucher & Family

Ed & Ida Gray

William & Corneal Jackson

Robert & Ruby Kellum

Charlie & Lucinda Robinson

Robert & Rosa Lee Scott

Will & Julia Stembridge

Dan & Amelia Threet

John & Hannah Whitehead

John & Susan Wright



The effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II (WWII).  WWII was known as the second world war.  It lasted between 1939 and 1945.  It began with Germany's invasion of Poland.  Shortly thereafter, France and the United Kingdom (England) declared war on Germany.  By 1941, Germany controlled most of continental Europe and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan.


  The United States officially entered WWII in December 1941, after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  Up until that point, the United States only provided support to the Allies alliance including the United Kingdom (Britian), France, Russia and China.   Piper airfield in Lakeland was used by the US Air Force as a training base for British bomber pilots.


As in World War I (WWI), members of Lakeland's Black community courageously suited up and shouldered arms to fight against the Axis' alliance and their goal of global domination.  Black men and women served heroically in World War II, despite suffering segregation and discrimination during their deployment. Likewise, many were met with prejudice and discrimination upon returning home.  This was an irony considering why America entered the war; that it, to defend freedom and democracy in the world.

Under Construction







These pages contain a small portion of information about the people and places that made up Lakeland's Black community the first 100 years.   The sources include articles by LaFrancine Burton, the book by Dr. Neriah Roberts, Facebook, community members, etc.  Contact Us if you have information like pictures you don't mind sharing.