In commemoration of Black History Month, this series of blog posts highlights African-American history in Florida.
Emancipation, and the period of Reconstruction that followed, brought civil rights to freed slaves throughout the former Confederacy for the first time. Black communities organized and built churches, schools, hospitals, businesses, and civic organizations. These institutions developed separately from their white counterparts during the era of legal segregation known as Jim Crow.
The legal gains of the 1860s and 1870s proved short-lived, and full equality remained only a dream until the triumphs of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.
One of the schools founded by African-Americans in Tallahassee during Reconstruction was known as Lincoln Academy (later Lincoln High School). Opened in 1869, Lincoln initially served children in grades 1 through 12. Several prominent local citizens attended or taught at Lincoln, including educator and community leader John G. Riley.
Originally located at the intersection of Lafayette and Copeland Streets, the school moved to near Macomb and Brevard Streets in the 1920s. Lincoln closed in 1969 when Leon County implemented district-wide integration. A portion of Old Lincoln High School now serves as a Community Center in the historic Frenchtown neighborhood.
The photographs featured in this blog post show scenes from Lincoln High School in the 1950s and 1960s. These images are part of the Tallahassee Democrat Photographic Collection, which is currently in the process of digitization.