Goldsboro Museum highlights ‘rise and fall’ of a once thriving all-black Seminole County town

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Goldsboro Museum says it celebrates Black History Month every single day of the year and this month, it plans on highlighting some of the stories that can be found within its catalog.

“This is the day that the Ku Kux Klan ran Jackie Robinson out of the Sanford Memorial Stadium,” Pasha Baker said as she led a tour around the Goldsboro Museum.

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Baker is the director of the Goldsboro Historical Museum and tells just one of little-known facts that can be found within the museum’s walls.

Incorporated in 1891, the museum tells the tale of Goldsboro, a community in Seminole County that was once a thriving all-Black town founded by one of two brothers.

“So Joseph Clark founded Eatonville in 1877, his brother a few years later Mr. William Clark founded Goldsboro and they were actually both businessmen,” Baker said.

Goldsboro lost its charter in 1911 after it was stolen by the city of Sanford.

Baker says it left the people of Goldsboro in over $10,000 in debt, and even after the townspeople sued, taking it all the way to Supreme Court.

The city of Sanford won, and the money lost was never repaid.

All of this was documented and saved by Mrs. Francis Oliver, Baker’s great aunt, who spent more than 40 years collecting stories and documents.

“And then started these museums with her retirement check. She was a former teacher of Midway Elementary, had 30-plus years of service in that and continued through her lifelong commitment of service by serving the community with these museums and now it is six entities,” Baker said.

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Entities that come in many forms from the museum to a cultural garden which all fall under the Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association.

Baker said she’s determined to continue her aunt’s work.

“It’s one of the ways that we can lead change,” Baker said, “It’s one of the ways that we can heed the warnings and not repeat the same mistakes, and history is one of your best teachers.”

Teachers, Baker said, that come in stories like Georgia Black’s.

As one of the first transgender people recorded in the nation, Baker said Black’s story teaches how being a good person can change perceptions.

Black lived as a caretaker in the early 1900s and became so popular that when the coroner revealed her birth sex after death, the people did not care, Baker said.

“No one cared because she was just a good person and that’s the kind of feeling you get when you come in Goldsboro today … We treat people how they should be treated and that’s kind of the Goldsboro rule, it’s the Goldsboro way,” Baker explained.

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There are more stories like Black’s and even one where she tells how Jackie Robinson was saved from a past Goldsboro mayor.

Another interesting fact, Baker also said the outside cultural garden tells the story of collards.

She says many people don’t know this, but collards were a European plant that was brought over to the states during times of slavery.

The enslaved people, at the time, recognized the plant that Baker said was like another plant found in Africa.

Baker said the people knew it needed to be cooked long and slow with seasonings, which eventually led to the tradition of the southern cooking of collard greens we know today.

The Goldsboro Museum has a list of events that you can find here for Black History Month.

Black History Month at Goldsboro Museum. (Goldsboro Museum)
Black History Month at Goldsboro Museum (Goldsboro Museum)

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