The early 19th century was a grave time for African Americans. There were restrictions for citizens to vote for any political party and there were brutal corporeal acts to slaves. Nevertheless during this repression, a quantity of African Americans freed themselves from slavery by escaping or conveying agreements to purchase their freedom through gross labor. African Americans who were free in lived in societies in the Northern states developed organized groups to hold national resolutions conferences, discuss alternative policies of ethnic progression.
In the early 1830s, a number of Caucasians joined African American citizens and formed the American Anti-Slavery Civilization under the governance of Mr. William Lloyd Garrison. This movement changed the world and the way the world would function in the future, making colored people leaders instead of slaves. Some of these leaders throughout history brought a new light and a positive outcome for African Americans to believe in themselves and to contribute to society. Through nonaggressive protest, the civil rights crusade of the 1950s and ’60s demolished the pattern of public facilities’ being segregated by “color or culture” in the South, in addition to the educational institutions and corporate America.
Some of our great historical heroes in Polk County are the following:
• Neriah E. Roberts, who is now writing a book.
• Lakeland’s first (1st) African American female mayor for the City of Lakeland, Carrie Odom who was also a school educator, administrator and a district official.
• Ulysses Johnson who wrote a book on the “History of Florence Villa” who lives in Bartow, Fla.
• The L. B. Brown house, which hosts the L. B. Brown Heritage Conference and Festival annually.
The following historical events bring me to this point. Without my mother and father, grandparents, their parents, great grandparents and their parents’ parents, I would not be here today.
Dr. Shandale Terrell