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Polk History Center Celebrates Black History Month


Published on Feb 8, 2021


February is Black History Month, and it is a great time to celebrate and learn about the vital contributions made by Polk's Black population to the early development of the county.

The Polk County History Center partnered with Polk Government Television to produce a series of short videos that highlight significant contributions made by those in the Black community.

Some of those videos, which are on the PGTV YouTube channel feature James "Big Jim" and Leander "Schoolboy" Tugerson, Althea Margaret Daily Mills, Karla Foreman Wright and Nat Adderley. The video segments will air each Friday through the end of the month.

Each year, the History Center also features a special guide, Black History, Polk County. This guide helps visitors navigate Polk's Black history as they learn about key people, places and events in Polk.

The guide features information on the early black settlements of Pughsville and Florence Villa, judges, soldiers and those who worked in the phosphate, cattle, citrus and turpentine industries.

If you want to do your own research into black history or black ancestry, the Historical and Genealogical Library will also help. Their resources include draft cards of WWI black Americans, newspaper excerpts along with access to their vast electronic files and Ancestry.com.

And this month's Genealogy Speakers Series will feature a virtual presentation of Intermediate African American Research, led by Annette Lyttle, from Heritage Detective LLC. This will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 27. For Zoom details, contact Preston Petermeier at (863) 534-4604, or by email at PrestonPetermeier@polk-county.net.

While you are there, you can also pick up a complimentary copy of, "The Florida Black Heritage Trail," and expand your knowledge of black history beyond the borders of Polk.