History of the Community

1885 - 1905

1906 - 1925

1926 - 1945

1946 - 1965

1966 - 1985


The New Frontier


Following the Civil War, Black people made up over 40 percent of the total population in Florida.  Although northern Florida was populous, much of Central and Southern Florida was wilderness. Many of the early Black settlers in Lakeland came as laborers for the railroad.


In this section, History of the Community, we write about how life may have been for Black people in Lakeland during the first 100 years.  Unlike their counterparts around the United States, the Black people in Lakeland faced Jim Crow Laws.  This segregation and discrimination occurs with a backdrop of the Turn of the Century, WWI and the boom of the Roaring 20s, the hardship of the Great Depression and the patriotism of WWII.


In the 1960s, efforts to abolish Jim Crow laws and achieve equal rights and opportunities occurred in Lakeland.  The results had a devastating affect on the stability, pride and continuity of the community.



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.