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Live Oak in Suwannee County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Florida Memorial College ~ Original Site

 
 
Florida Memorial College ~ Original Site Marker Side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, May 5, 2022
1. Florida Memorial College ~ Original Site Marker Side 1
Inscription.  
Side 1
The Florida Institute, renamed Florida Memorial College in 1918, was established on this site in 1879. It stood as a lighthouse of promise for generations of African Americans. After the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, there were few opportunities for African Americans pursuing education. The Black Baptists of Florida petitioned the American Baptist Home Mission Society to establish a co-educational school in Florida to educate ministers and teachers. In October 1879, the Education Board of the Bethlehem Baptist Association met in Gainesville to establish a school in Live Oak. The Board awarded $600 for construction, hired teachers, and established a curriculum. The Rev. J.L. Fish was appointed president, and his wife, Ada Fish, served as a teacher. Nine members were appointed to the school's Board of Trustees, including Dr. Henry Morehouse, founder of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. The Florida Institute opened in Live Oak in 1880, and offered students a 40-week term costing $1 for every four weeks of attendance. By 1884, the school had grown to consist of ten acres of land, classrooms, dormitories, an office,
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an auditorium, and the president's residence.
(Continued on other side)

Side 2
(Continued from other side) In the early 1920s, the General Baptist Convention moved Florida Baptist Academy, a sister school to Florida Memorial College, from Jacksonville to St. Augustine and renamed it the Florida Normal and Industrial Institute. It became an instant rival with Florida Memorial College when competing for philanthropic support. During this time, Florida Memorial College was plagued by low enrollment and financial limitations, and its administration building was destroyed by fire. In 1941, the General Baptist Convention voted to merge Florida Memorial College with Florida Normal and Industrial Institute into Florida Memorial University, and relocated to south Florida. The buildings that remained on this site were sold at public auction in 1948; the proceeds were used to build Suwannee County's first public hospital. Florida Memorial University is a private, co-educational institution offering thirty undergraduate and graduate degree programs, located in Miami Gardens. The university is the only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in south Florida, and is one of the thirty-nine member institutions of the United Negro College Fund.
A Florida Heritage Site
 
Erected 2020 by Douglass High School Alumni
Florida Memorial College ~ Original Site Marker Side 2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, May 5, 2022
2. Florida Memorial College ~ Original Site Marker Side 2
& Historical Assn., Inc., Board of Directors: Robert I. Ford, Rev. F.W. Williams, Jr., Annette Herring, Ruthie M. McClendon, Willie McClendon, Janice Goodman, Annie M. Herring, Gary Caldwell, Jimmy Cherry, Rev. Nelson Perry, Susan H. Ford, and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-1103.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionEducation. A significant historical year for this entry is 1879.
 
Location. 30° 17.842′ N, 82° 59.499′ W. Marker is in Live Oak, Florida, in Suwannee County. Marker is on 6th Street just east of Walker Avenue Southwest, in the median. Marker is in front of the gazebo in a small park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Live Oak FL 32064, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Douglass Center (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lynnette Ricketson Millennium Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Suwannee County Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Suwannee County (approx. 0.4 miles away); To Honor Stephen Collins Foster (approx. 0.4 miles away); Edward Waters College Original Site (approx. 0.8 miles away); Harry Tyson Moore ~ A Native Son of Suwannee County (approx. 0.8 miles away); Plot Exposed (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Live Oak.
 
Also see . . .
Florida Memorial College ~ Original Site Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, May 5, 2022
3. Florida Memorial College ~ Original Site Marker
 Florida Memorial University. (Submitted on June 13, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 13, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 13, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 1,389 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 13, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.

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Feb. 27, 2024