Thursday, December 6, 2012
Journey to Work: Being African American Outside of Hannibal Square
While Winter Park welcomes everyone to its slow paced streets lined with boutiques and French café inspired restaurants, this city was not always as welcoming to minorities. Winter Park's Black neighborhood, Hannibal Square, was not incorporated into the city limits until 1887 and even then African Americans were not particularly embraced or liked among the Whites of the richer area of the (then) town. However this was pretty customary for any small town in the South and Central Florida was no exception. While the west side (Hannibal Square) was newly incorporated due to an election that also brought in two new city aldermen, Frank Israel and Walter B. Simpson, both African American, these stepping stones towards acceptance from Whites probably did not stop segregation or racial tension. In fact, both the election and incorporation probably only infuriated some people even more. That being said it is highly likely that Walter B. Simpson's journey to work as not only an African American but as a politician among White fellow political leaders must have been tense at best. What would walking to Ergood's Hall and Store (where Winter Park's Town Hall was located on the White side of town) as a Black city official feel like and at what areas or parts of his journey would the racial divide become obvious?