Legal & Political Leaders

History of the  Black community in Lakeland fl 1885 - 1985

Professionals in the Community

Legal & Political





Legal & Political





Charles Coleman

Charlotte Adderley

Nellie M Brooks

Paul Diggs

In Lakeland's first 100 years, Blacks residents had limited legal or political rights.  For the most part, they were marginalized and Jim Crow laws ensured that their community was segregated from the white community and relegated to a secondary status.


Despite the intimidation and violence from sectors of the white community,  Blacks continued to fight for justice and equal rights under the law as prescribed in the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.


In the 1930s Martin Duke, the head of the Negro Recreation Department, lead a community movement against the School Board's discussion to reduce the length of  the Black school year, so that Black children could be used to pick strawberries.  The movement won and the Black school year wasn't shorten.  However, Mr. Duke lost his job; and for fear of violence against him and his family, he chose to move to Washington, DC.


Dr. Johnson is noted as the first Black to be elected to the Lakeland city council in 1968.  However, he wasn't the first to run.  In the early 1950s,  Dr. David J. Simpson and Dr. Wince Albert Jesse Johnson, ran for office.  Each received one vote apiece.  Most likely, each man cast a vote for themselves

Donnie Cummings, at age 94, registering to vote for the first time in Lakeland, in 1968.

Page Under Construction

Adderley, Charlotte


Amos, Stewart


Brooks, Nellie M


Coleman, Charles


Diggs, Paul



Duke, Martin


Glover, Kenny


Jackson, Dr. John




Jackson, Larry



Oldham, Carrie



St. James Masonic



Community Leader


Social Activist


City Commissioner


Community Leader &

     Social Activist


Social Activist




City Commissioner &




Attorney & Social



Attorney, City

     Commissioner & Mayor


Prince Hall Free Mason
















First Black to be elected to the Lakeland City Commission in 1968.  He also was the first Black to serve as Mayor of the city, 1972.

Masonic Lodge

Kenny Glover

Dr John Jackson

Larry Jackson

Carrie Oldham

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.