I decided that since it is Black History Month, now would be a great time to check out a few African American Historical Sites in my own backyard.
Trust me when I tell you that it’s amazing what you find when you go looking. Things that make you go hmmm!!!
Keep reading to check out the historical landmarks I found…
African American Historical Sites in the Palm Beach County Area
1. Pearl City – Boca Raton, FL
Pearl City, is the oldest remaining community in Boca Raton and sits immediately north of downtown in Boca Raton, FL.
This neighborhood was originally established in 1915, and although it was once segregated for the blue-collar African Americans workers, today it is a lot more diverse.
Note: The origin of the name Pearl City is no longer known. The community members suggests several possible answers:
- It was named for the first black child born in the community.
- Based on one of the subdivision’s major street names (Ruby, Pearl, and Sapphire).
- For the Hawaiian Pearl pineapple, which was processed in a shed on the site.
Address: This neighborhood sits between Dixie and Federal highways just south of Glades Road, in Boca Raton, FL.
2. West Settlers Historic District – Delray Beach, FL
Established in 1894, the West Settlers Historical District is the first African-American settlement in Delray Beach.
The S.D. Spady Cultural Complex, now known as the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, and the La France Hotel, located at 140 NW 4th Avenue are a part of this historical district.
Note: The La France Hotel was once the only hotel in Delray Beach that welcomed African-Americans during segregation. During this time, Charles and Francenia Patrick owned the hotel and welcomed celebrated black musicians and civil rights figures. In 1997, the community was locally designated the West Settlers Historic District.
Address: NW 2nd Ave To NW 6th Ave Delray Beach, FL 33444
3. Spady Cultural Heritage Museum – Delray Beach, FL
The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is a non-profit organization located in the West Settlers Historic District. It celebrates black history by shining light on local African-American heritage through wonderful exhibits that feature collections of rare photos and memorabilia.
The museum is housed in the home of the late Solomon D. Spady, who was an influential African-American educator/activist that made a huge impact on Delray Beach in the 1920s.
Note: Mr. Spady was the third African American public school principal/teacher assigned to Delray Beach, FL.
The Spady Museum Regular/Yearly Events:
- Jazz Sessions
- Ride and Remember Tour
- Youth Cultural Empowerment
- Yearly events:
- Juneteenth Celebration, which commemorates the end of slavery.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast in memory of the legacy of Dr. King.
- Kwanzaa Celebration
Address: 170 NW 5th Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33444 / Phone: (561) 279-8883
4. Hurricane of 1928 Mass Burial Site – West Palm Beach, FL
On September 16, 1928, one of the most powerful and tragic hurricanes on record, literally came through and demolished The Palm Beaches and Lake Okeechobee.
No one knows the exact number of fatalities. However, it is believed to be close to 3,000, and of those 674 were said to be African American. Sadly, due to racial segregation only white residents were given a proper burial. The black victims were buried in an unmarked mass grave, where only a single historical marker recounts the story.
Note: It wasn’t until 1991 that the marker was added and the site recognized.
Address: The cemetery is situated near the junction of 25th Street and Tamarind Avenue between I-95 and U.S. Route 1 (West Palm Beach, FL 33401).
5. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Landmark Memorial – West Palm Beach, FL
Located in Currie Park, sits a gorgeous large bronze bust of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holding the Holy Bible. This beautiful memorial was created in 2004 and invites contemplation on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights.
Note: This is the largest memorial to Dr. King in Florida and a must see.
Additionally, while there take advantage of the parks amenities:
- Tennis courts
- Benches, parking and paved walkways
- Boat ramp into the Intracoastal Waterway
- Restroom facilities
- Palm Beach Maritime Museum:
- Several artifacts, replicas of ships including the famous Jacques Cousteau ship are available for view.
Address: 1936 N Flagler Dr., West Palm Beach, FL 33407
6. Branhilda Richardson-Knowles Memorial – Deerfield Beach, FL
Between 1897 and the 1950, hundreds of African-Americans were buried in unmarked graves at Deerfield Beach’s “Old Colored Cemetery” now known as Branhilda-Richardson Knowles Memorial.
In 2018 the City of Deerfield Beach named the park after Richardson-Knowles, because throughout most of the early Jim Crow era, she was a midwife who delivered many African-American babies in the Deerfield Beach area.
Note: It is believed that there may be as many as 300 bodies buried in the 3.3-acre park.
Address: 411 SE 2nd St, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
I realize that Deerfield Beach, FL is Broward County. However, I felt that this historical location should be included in this post.
What African American Historical Sites would you like to visit? Inquiring minds would love to know.
Have A Happy Healthy, and Remember to Always…