Schools in the Community

Before 1920

1920- 1969

1970 - 1985


Baptist Seminary (Red School)

Colored School


Moorehead School

Colored School

The county school Board purchased Flanagan Hall to replace the Colored School that mysteriously burned down.


Amos Stewart

WJ Boyd

E.H. Williams

William Rochelle

Nattie Adderley

* Administrators also served as teachers.


James Dean

Christine Hector

Sarah  Saunders

James Dean

Christine Hector

Sarah  Saunders

Nattie Adderley

Lucy Rochelle

Sadie Young

Mattie Williams

Sarah Bingham

Zallie Houston

When St. Johns Baptist Church was established in 1884, it provided the first school setting for Black children in Lakeland.


In the book, the History of Polk County, Florida, the author indicates that in the 188os there were about 150 Blacks in Lakeland and that they "a neat church and good school.


Although the County school board provided marginal if any financial support, it exercised broad authority over  the school's operation.   Minutes from an 1887 Polk County School Board meeting reflect that Amos Stewart, an early Black pioneer, was appointed supervisor of the Lakeland Colored School.


Records reflect that in 1898, the members of the St. John Baptist Church built a separate building for a school, when the church burned down.


In 1905, the building for the Lakeland Colored School mysteriously burned down.  In turn, the County school board ordered ,"the Lakeland Colored School be suspended until a suitable building could be provided in which to continue the school."  Records reflect that at that time EH Williams was the principal, and Christine Hector and Sarah Saunders were teachers


In 1906, Hezekiah (HK) Morehead moved to Lakeland to become pastor of St. John Baptist Church.  It's reported that Reverend Morehead was an educated man and likely offered the church sanctuary again as a temporary school setting for the Black children.


In 1907, William A. Rochelle moved to Lakeland and began his teaching career at the Lakeland Colored School.  He gained some training at the Florida State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students--which later became Florida A&M University.  He also did graduate work at Hampton Institute (Va).


In 1913, the county Board of Pubic Instruction paid $2,300 for a 10 room, two-story building known as Flanagan Hall, to replace the school building for Blacks that burned down in 1905.  The building was located on West Orange Street in Black community.


In 1922, another school was built on the northside of Lakeland, or in the area then known as Teaspoon Hill or "the Hill".  The school was built in a section of the Hill referred to as Washington Park.  The section got it's reference after Booker T. Washington stayed with Blacks in the area when he made a historic visit to Lakeland in 1912.


The Lakeland Colored School continued to serve most of the children in the first Black neighborhood which Blacks began to refer to as Morehead after the death of Reverend HK Morehead, in 1916.  Subsequently, the school was named Moorehead Elementary School.


The Moorehead Elementary School was closed when the county school board opened a second elementary school, named Lincoln Elementary, on the northside of town or the Hill.

Iola Simmons

Callie Johnson

Black Students & Gallery

The information displayed in this section is a small portion of information about the schools 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.