February is Black History Month, and our team is proud to support, respect, and share the rich cultural history of our African-American residents, monuments, and legacies throughout District 47. For this reason, we want to spotlight our very own Hannibal Square.
Within Central Florida, Winter Park was our first planned community, deliberately crafted around the railroad to centralize commerce and travel activities. Florida and Winter Park remained deeply segregated into the 1960s, and Winter Park’s railroad enabled its black residents to experience life among wealthy white families in non-agriculture jobs, uniquely positioning the area for different cultural and economic influences. We continue to see the impact of these factors today.
Since the 1880s, Hannibal Square has been a historically black neighborhood, enhancing our immediate Winter Park and Orlando community with faith, culture, and diversity. As a testament to these contributions, The Hannibal Square Heritage Center was founded in 2007 to honor Winter Park’s African-American legacies. Now, the center serves as a hub and archive, allowing continuous exploration through local oral histories, exhibits, and photography.
Blocks away from the bustle ofPark Avenue, Hannibal Square always offers an enriching glimpse into the past at unexpected corners. If you’re interested in attending a walking tour in Hannibal Square, you can visit the Heritage Center every 3rd Saturday of the month from 10 am to 11:30 am for $10 per person and $5 with student ID. This is a great opportunity to sample a portion of our shared history year-round. If you’d like to learn more about the wide range of businesses flourishing in Hannibal Square, click here.
Despite the quaint and historic nature of Hannibal Square, The Orlando Sentinel depicted a troubling circumstance affecting Hannibal Square when residents began drawing awareness to amplified economic gentrification in 2016. Today, balancing economic growth and social welfare with historic stability and cultural preservation remains an ongoing challenge. We see these challenges in Parramore, too, and in cities across America. It’s important that we talk bluntly about these challenges, and work together to find solutions.
Our campaign is unapologetically proud of Hannibal Square, and the contributions of black Americans can never be overstated or celebrated enough. We are influenced and inspired by our communities of color, and will continue to stand alongside you — shoulder to shoulder — to advocate for peace, justice, and equality.