Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hannibal Square

On my visit to the Winter Park Historical Museum, I noticed sitting on the desk a newspaper called the Observer, and the front-page article of that particular issue was about Hannibal Square, my topic! So, after asking to keep the paper, I read the article and found out some interesting information. Hannibal Square, which is located in West Winter Park, is the predominately African American section of town. And in 1887 two African American men, Walter Simpson and Frank Israel, were elected to serve on the City Commission, angering many of the white Democrats of Winter Park. So in 1893, Winter Park de-annexed Hannibal Square from the city, and therefore removed the African American men on the City Commission. Hannibal Square remained independent from Winter Park until 1925 when Winter Park needed more people to meet the requirements to reach city status. Since the re-annexation of Hannibal Square, there has not been one African American elected within the city limits. Many of the black leaders of Winter Park attribute this to the fact that there is a lack of interest in local politics from the African Americans, and that they look to their church leaders, educators, and police officers as leaders of the community.

I found the article to be very interesting and educating, and it really helped me to get a start on my research to look for specific dates to find primary sources. Also in the article, there was a person interviewed named Rebekah McCloud who is a researcher that is studying Hannibal Square. Maybe I can get into contact with her, and she would be a great person to interview for further research. I think it is lucky that I spotted that article, and hopefully more research and information is soon to follow!

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