Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Means Court School
— Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail —
Means Court School, 13th Street and Means Court
Sometime before 1920, St. Lucie County's only school for blacks moved to 13th Street and Means Court, and became known as Means Court School, providing classes through the eighth grade. Not long after, the school incorporated high school classes and became known as the Lincoln Park Academy. For a brief time in 1958, Zora Neale Hurston taught English at Lincoln Park Academy (at its present location, 1806 Avenue I, Heritage Trail Marker #2).
During the early 1900s, black families began a long campaign to obtain education for their children. The first school made available for blacks in St. Lucie County was a former tin storage shed located at North 8th Street. In 1906, the building next door was given to the black community for their school, which had no name. Sometime before 1920, the school moved to 13th Street and Means Court and became known as the Means Court School.
The Means Court School hadn't been open a year when parents began working on plans to expand it, raising money to build the first black high school south of Palatka. Mothers sold 10-cent
With Espy's assistance, parents convinced the school district to let them have a high school and pledged $1600 of their own money toward it. The community ended up paying more than $2600 in one term, and Lincoln Park Academy was approved as a senior high school. Espy kept academics at a high standard and insisted on degreed teachers, an unheard of luxury for black schools at the time.
According to the informative book, Treasure Coast Black Heritage (1996). "When Lincoln Park Academy was accredited in 1928, it was among four Negro schools that had this distinction in the state. Students came from as far north as New Smyma and as far south as Delay Beach and across the state from Tampa to attend high school at Lincoln Park Academy.”
Today, we sometimes take education for granted. Lets instead remember the dedication of Ft. Pierce's early families to provide students with an excellent education. They encouraged
In her 1942 autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Zora shared her mother's encouraging words with the world: "Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at de sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground."
Art by Patrica McCarren
Hold on to Your Dreams
In a February 14, 1990 Ft. Pierce Tribune article, Zora's friend and local writer, Marjore Silver Alder, remembered that Zora still believed in her mother's words: What kept Zora going was her determination to tell blacks not to take (discrimination), not to bow down to it, not to accept it." Alder recalled Zora's own words of encouragement as well: "She told the children how valuable they were. Told them they could have wonderful thoughts and dreams, And she told them to hold on to their dreams."
Carl Van Vechton, photographer. Reproduced with permission of the Carl Van Vechton Trust.
Florida’s bright Sun didn’t deter these youngsters from enjoying their school playground. The wooden buildings shown here were relocated from U.S. Navy facilities on the beach.
Zora's Early Education
Zora spent her childhood in Eatonville, Florida, the oldest incorporated black town in the U.S. (Eatonville is north of Orlando). For her elementary school education, Zora attended Eatonville's Hungerford School, founded in 1889 on the Tuskegee model. Zora's mother died in 1904, and so at the age of 13, Zora left to live in Jacksonville. She was not able to complete the equivalent of high school until her late twenties.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Zora Neal Hurston Collection, George A. Smothers Libraries, University of Florida, Department of Special Collections.
Erected by Florida Humanities Council, St. Lucie County and the City of Fort Pierce. (Marker Number 6.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Education • Women.
Location. 27° 27.27′ N, 80° 20.238′ W. Marker is in Fort Pierce, Florida, in St. Lucie County. Marker is at the intersection of Avenue E and North 13th Street, on the right when traveling west on Avenue E. Marker located in front of the original Lincoln Park Academy. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 532 N 13th St, Fort Pierce FL 34950, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln Park Academy (a few steps from this marker); Julius Caesar Scott (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Highwaymen Obelisk (approx. 0.2 miles away); Former Chronicle Newspaper Headquarters (approx. ¼ mile away); Sarah’s Memorial Chapel, Formerly Percy S. Peek Funeral Chapel, 728 Avenue D (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Lincoln Park Academy (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Lincoln Park Academy (approx. half a mile away); Zora Neale Hurston House (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Pierce.
Also see . . . Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail. (Submitted on July 20, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 21, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 20, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 20, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.