Goldsboro-The Orlando Times
Goldsboro: An American Story Of Hope, Freedom And Independence
SEMINOLE COUNTY – Black History Month, honoring the history and contributions of African Americans, may conclude with the month of February, however throughout the year Central Florida’s Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association has a great story to tell, as well as several commemorative sites to share.
Goldsboro is located west of Sanford, a short drive north of Orlando, yet a world away from the hustle and bustle of the Central Florida theme parks. Since the 1800s, Goldsboro’s earliest residents - a tight-knit community of African American citizens who worked the railroad yards, farms and ice houses - dreamed of formally establishing their own incorporated township and in time, led by merchant, carpenter and community leader Mr. William Clark, their aspirations came to fruition.
This effort had a solid foundation in William Clark, the brother of Joe Clark, one of the founders and incorporators of Eatonville, Florida, the first incorporated all Black-township in the United States. And so it was, December 1, 1891 Goldsboro became the second all Black incorporated township within the United States -- a small but solid community of educated, hardworking, and Christian value-led people, 19 of whom became registered African American voters.
However, it was not long before the essence of their cozy community was threatened, when in 1911 a powerful Sanford banker and state lawmaker, devised a plan to dissolve the charters of both Sanford and Goldsboro, to create a new charter that would annex and ultimately bankrupt Goldsboro to make it a community within the City of Sanford.
In time, after the demise of independent Goldsboro, the town began a downward spiral plagued with abandoned buildings, rising unemployment, and the loss of identity until in 2009, spearheaded by Francis Oliver, a group of community leaders created The Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association, Inc. to celebrate and preserve the history of Goldsboro.
For over 40 years Mrs. Oliver collected the town's oral and written history through the assemblage of pictures, artifacts, documents and personal recollections. And in 2011, in acknowledgement of the 100th year anniversary of Goldsboro’s 1911 demise, The Goldsboro Museum was born.
So passionate was Mrs. Oliver about the Goldsboro Museum, the retired schoolteacher spent her pension check to keep it funded. However, in the spirit of community, fellow residents soon began donating items kept in their families for generations, as well as contributing financially to the museum. Shortly, the Goldsboro Museum gave birth the Goldsboro Cultural Arts District, which consists of The Goldsboro Museum, The Francis Oliver Cultural Arts and Goldsboro Welcome Center, The Crooms Academy Museum, The Goldsboro Heritage & Art Garden, The Goldsboro Arts Square, and Page Jackson Cemetery.
Recently Mrs. Oliver passed the torch of history and heritage to her niece, Pasha Baker, who manages the daily operations and funding for the Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association, Inc.
The dream that Mr. Clark envisioned for Goldsboro is still alive and the community is on its way back to gaining the dignity, distinction, character, culture and respectability that it rightfully deserves.
About Goldsboro Museum- Goldsboro is celebrating its 125th Birthday in 2018 with the mission to enrich the quality of life through the History and Culture of Goldsboro. 1211 Historical Goldsboro Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32771.
To learn more visit www.goldsboromuseum.com, or call 407-585-0692.