Carver-Hill School.

     The school began ca 1915 as Rosenwalk in honor of Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), a successful businessman and president of Sears, Roebuck and Co and philanthropist who helped establish schools for American blacks.  The name of the school  was changed to Carver to honor Dr. George Washington Carver (1864 - 1943) and in 1954, local officials in Crestview added the name Hill to honorcarver-hill museum Rev. Edward Hill, who represented a group of black parents in efforts to have the school board establish a local school for black children.  Up until 1962, every black student in the county had to attend Carver-Hill school.   When the school opened it had 12 classrooms, 18 teachers, a gym and auditorium. "It was hands-on. The teachers were hands-on. They'd push and push you. I don't think I'd be where I am or what I am today if it wasn't for those teachers."

     Google a series of articles in the Northwest Florida Daily News. February 2, 2004. "Carver-Hill:  More than a School" by staff news writer, Isaac Sabetai.  The section also contains information on W.E. Combs School, Ft. Walton Beach; Tivoli High School in DeFuniak Springs and Jackson High School in Milton.   Learn more about the artwork by Vernon Lee. It depicts the proposed closing and repurposing of Carver-Hill School. The artwork and history of the school building are part of the collection of exhibits at the Carver Hill Museum, Crestview, FL. (See the Culture & Heritage section on this webpage)                                       
Carver-Hill Museum, 895 McClellan Street, Crestview.

    W.E. Combs School.

             In 1962 the W.E. Combs School - named for a professor - was built in Ft Walton. Carver-Hill School was closed as part of Okaloosa County's Integration plan at the close of the 1968-69 school year.

    Drew School.Baker, FL.

                     Pictured is the Class of 1951. The Faculty:  O'Dell Brown, Principal; Samuel A. Allen; Caroline J. Allen; Rabon Boyer; Leola Boyer; Dorothy A. Ealy;  Lucindy Gainer; Mozelle P. Thomas.   Ingrid Williamson and Luther Hart (in white robes) are the first Drew High School graduates.

                                   Drew High School Class of 1951

   Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church, Baker. FL.

     The church history, which is featured in the Citizen Review on page 1 - Section B, celebrates its 83rd Anniversary on January 26th.  Church records indicate that Lebanon was founded ca. 1914.  Camillia Sledge remembers worshiping with Lebanon under a Brush Arbor near the Chatman home in 1906 when her family moved to Baker, FL.  The frame building also doubled as a school.  The church building was built at the current location in 1923.  Sunday School classrooms were added in the 1970s.  Members of the church were baptized in the Blackwater River in the early years.  The church's pioneer families still attend today:  Henry; Adams; Gray; Sledge; Malone; Williams; Taylor; Holloway; Jones; Thomas; Spears; Williamson and Cobb. During the Anniversary service special recognition was made to the church's two oldest members, Mr. Tommie Simon, age 91 (at the time) and Rosa Jackson, age 89 (at the time).  The first pastor of the church was Rev. J. A. Thomas, the father of Mattie Swinson.  The theme for the anniversary service was, "A Country Church On The Move For God."  Mrs. Caroline Allen provided the church history to the Citizen Review for publication.  See the entire article and photos in the research library at the Baker Block Museum.  Pictured are members of the church during the early 1950s.

 Lebanon Baptist Church, 1950sCelebration Handout

The Simon Family

          Brandy Flores submitted a paper on this family as part of her studies with Professor Rucker in Pensacola, FL April 25, 2003.  She interviewed family members and records their responses in this paper.  The story should be read in its entirety. A copy is on file at the Baker Block Museum.
          The family migration began in North Carolina area . the furthest the family can trace its roots is back seven generations.  It is said that the patriarch was full-blooded Indian, though the family does not know the tribe they stem from.  They migrated to Florida via Georgia following work that was available in the turpentine industry.  Elisha and Isaac Simon were born in November of 1928 in Seminole, AL.  Brandy interviews Elisha and Isaac, asking about what it was like to work in the turpentine camps.  

  "Samuel H. Hayes Day, May 1, 2007, Crestview, FL."
Samuel Hayes Crestivew City Council

          Honoring decorated war veteran, Sam Hayes, who after his military retirement, came back home to serve the community. Among his accomplishments, he served on the Crestview City Council (including service as Vice President, then President of the council) for more than 25 years.
 Florida League of Cities and was the recipient of the 2002 Northwest Florida League of Cities Elected Official of the Year Award.

The American Black Colonial Experience.

Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom.   Kathleen Deagan and Darcie MacMahon. 1995. University Press of Florida.  This book tells the story of Fort Mose and the people who lived there. It challenges the notion of the American black colonial experience as only that of slavery, offering instead a richer and more balanced view of the black experience in the Spanish colonies from the arrival of Columbus to the American Revolution.  the fort was located in St. Johns County, 2 miles north of St. Augustine,built by the Spanish in 1738, destroyed by Oglethorpe in 1740,and rebuilt in 1756 to become the first free Black settlement in North America.

The Elgin 17
     On 12 July 1943, Eglin suffered its worst loss of life when 17 personnel were killed in an explosives test. Wartime censorship and the fact that 15 of the 17 were airmen of the African-American-staffed 867th Aviation Engineering Battalion contributed to the accident receiving virtually no publicity. The identities of the dead, including the two white officers supervising, were never released, and only one small newspaper article was published mentioning the incident. A documentary, the "Eglin 17", debuted at the 2009 African American Heritage Month luncheon at the Eglin Air Force Base Officer's Club on 18 February 2009, providing the story of the forgotten accident. "The cause and circumstances surrounding the incident remain 'clouded in mystery,' according to the documentary," although Lt. Col. Allen Howser (Ret.), featured in the documentary, recalled that it was part of an exercise to test fire a newly acquired explosive.  (See the resources section for additional research/resource information on this tragic and historic event.)

Seminoles and Slaves: Florida's Freedom Seekers

     This book by Jean West provides history regarding the connections between Seminole and Blacks.  Go here to find the book and learn more about this era of history. http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/history/hs_es_seminole.htm 

Olustee Battlefield Historic Site.

     In February 1864, it was part of the Union force that tangled with Confederates at Olustee (also called Ocean Pond) in the largest Civil War battle in Florida.

     The two sides fought nearly all day and by nightfall, the union was in retreat. The 54th, along with another black unit, the 35th U.S. Colored Troops, joined the fighting late in the day and helped save Union troops from disaster.  The 54th was one of the first black units organized in the northern states during the Civil War. By 1864 the unit was a battle-hardened force to be reckoned with, as well as a household name because of what happened at Battery Waggner in the summer of 1863

     The battle is re-enacted every February at the Olustee Battlefield Historic Site (in Baker County, west of Jacksonville on I-10). 

Baker Block Museum Educational Services.   Baker, FL         (850) 537-571