Delray Beach, Fla. (September 28, 2014) – The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, working with Florida Atlantic University’s Department of History, will begin working to collect stories from key members of the Delray Beach community in an effort to learn about and engage the community in the history of the integration of Delray’s public beach in 1962. A contributing $5,000 grant from the Florida Humanities Council for the research phase of the Beach at Delray: Florida’s Segregation Dispute project will help the organizations take a comprehensive look at the landmark event drawing national attention to the seaside City of Delray Beach.
The project provides a platform for people of various cultures and interest groups who identify with and understand the relevancy of the beach segregation issues faced by African Americans during this period. Spady Museum Director, Charlene Jones, and FAU faculty, Dr. Derrick White, Dr. Sandra Norman and Dr. Evan Bennett, will identify the key issues to be shared with the community during the project. The retelling of these histories will provide a better understanding of the cultural and political dynamics that were at play in a time that remains a pivotal period in its evolution.
FAU faculty will research archived records in Delray Beach and Palm Beach County, including papers of C. Spencer Pompey, African American activist and key organizer at the time. Collections from the project will be put together in a booklet produced by Florida Atlantic University professors and Spady Museum staff to be made available to educators, scholars, and historians for use in augmenting education curriculums on civil rights issues pertaining to South Florida.
The Spady Museum will use its monthly community discussion, Delray Speaks, and Lunch and Learn Storytelling Circle to engage the public in conversations about the project and related issues. It will also allow the audience several points of access to engage in the project through collection of oral histories, training for interviews, interviewer and interviewee, community forums and a community reception. Programs funded under the Florida Humanities Council grant will be open to the public free of charge, as the Spady Museum strives to engender a sense of community ownership in this project by removing the financial barrier to participation.
The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located at 170 NW Fifth Avenue in the historic West Settlers District of Delray Beach, is dedicated to discovering, collecting and sharing the African-American history and heritage of Florida. Located in the former home of the late Solomon D. Spady, the most prominent African American educator and community leader in Delray Beach from 1922 to 1957, the museum opened in July 2001 and is the only African American Cultural Heritage museum of its kind in Palm Beach County. For more information about the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, please visit http://www.SpadyMuseum.com.