Schools in the Community

Before 1920

1920 - 1969

1970 - 1985


An Educational legacy

The first Black settlers in Lakeland made educating their children a priority.  The first school setting was in the St. John's Baptist Church around 1887.


For the first 100 years, the Blacks in Lakeland continual worked to ensure their children received educations.  Their efforts persisted despite racial segregation and discrimination in public education in Polk County.


When the first school setting was disrupted because the church it was housed-in burned down, the Black community built a separate school building. When the second school building mysterious caught on fire and school was suspended due to a suitable location, the Black community held school in the church again.


  This Section, Schools in the Community, provides a brief history of the schools Lakeland's Black community.  It provides some information about Lakeland's first school for Blacks, the Lakeland Colored School, as well as the development of the other Black schools including Washington Park High, which was later named Rochelle High, and more.

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.