History of the  Black community in Lakeland fl 1885 - 1985

Professionals in the Community





Legal & Political




Social &  economic self-sufficiency


During the earlier years of Lakeland's development, the economy in Polk County was driven by railroad development and agriculture.  The need for labor and steady wages fueled the migration of Blacks to the area.


Due to segregation, Blacks in Lakeland had to develop a community that was self-sufficient.  Some of the Blacks who migrated to the Colored-section of town developed   businesses that provided services including grocery, clothing, mortuary, boarding housing, etc.


Within 10 to 15 years of its incorporation, Lakeland had a notable size Black  population.  With the growth, by the early 1900s two additional churches were established and led by prolific ministers.  In addition, the area began to attract educated Blacks including doctors and teachers.


In this section, Professionals in the Community, there is a list of the businesses that were located in Lakeland's Black community during the first 100 years.  In addition, there is information regarding professionals like educators, entertainers, healthcare workers, lawyers,  political activists and athletes.

The information displayed in this section is a small portion of information about the businesses and professionals in Lakeland's Black community during the first 100 years.   We know there is more.  Contact Us if you have information like pictures you don't mind sharing.