“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Lincoln Park Academy

— The Highwaymen Heritage Trail —

Lincoln Park Academy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, June 26, 2022
1. Lincoln Park Academy Marker
Many of the Florida Highwaymen attended Lincoln Park Academy. Founded in 1906, the first school was located in an old school supply building on North Eighth Street. In 1923, it had eight grades and the faculty was made up of five teachers, none having more than a high school education. Teaching materials were scarce.

The community had a strong desire to extend the eight grades through high school, even though Florida, at the time, had no four-year high schools for blacks south of Palatka. Citizens believed so strongly in the power of education that they raised $2,600 to support the effort and in 1925, a $10,000 building with four classrooms was constructed. The school grew, and in spite of poor and unequal funding in relationship to white schools, Lincoln Park excelled both academically and in sports. The school won the state tournament in boys' basketball in 1930 and again in 1932. New textbooks and furniture were ordered for the school in 1946, which was almost unheard of for an all-black school.

In 1952, plans began for a new building at its current location, and in 1959, the school became fully-accredited by
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the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

When the future Highwaymen attended Lincoln Park, it was an integral part of the community. When integration took place in Fort Pierce, as in many other citiès across the state and in the South, both blacks and whites resisted, and the transition was often painful. Many African American teachers and black principals lost their jobs, and Lincoln Parks' function as the epicenter of cultural life in the Lincoln Park community was diminished.

Zanobia Jefferson studied art and science at Fisk University from 1944-1948 then taught art, to several students at Lincoln Park Academy, who would later be known as The Florida Highwaymen. They included Alfred Hair, James Gibson, Isaac Knight, Carnell Smith, Johnny Daniels, Willie Daniels, and one of the Buckner boys (she has said she is not sure which one, since her students were identified by last name only).

Zanobia said she recognized early Highwayman Alfred Hair's potential as an artist and helped mentor him. It is said that when A. E. "Bean" Backus went to the Lincoln Park Academy counselor offering his services ás an art teacher, the counselor contacted Zanobia, and she suggested that Alfred become Backus' student. It is believed that Alfred Hair was the only Highwayman who took formal lessons from the well-regarded white landscape artist.

Lincoln Park Academy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, June 26, 2022
2. Lincoln Park Academy Marker
is said that Zanobia disapproved when her former students were first called "Highwaymen," and she was quick to say so, but, as they gained national attention and grew as artists, she took pride in their accomplishments. She even attended their exhibitions, hung their work in her home, and readily responded to invitations to talk about them.

During the time that the Highwaymen were educated at the school, academics were stressed and students were taught to believe in their potential. Support systems were strong, and teachers and school administrators believed in the power of hard work and a good education. This may partially be credited for the Highwaymen's certainty that they could become artists, even during a time when many believed it was pure fantasy.

Today, Lincoln Park Academy is a premier college preparatory 6th-12th grade academic magnet school with a waiting list for prospective students. The school offers Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment, and prepares its students for post-secondary education through challenging, engaging and satisfying work.

According to the school's website, the vision of Lincoln Park Academy is to "Ensure that all of our students graduate from our safe and caring environment, equipped with the knowledge, academic skills and the desire to be successful life-long learners and positive
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contributors in a diverse global society.”

Zanobia Jefferson
Lincoln Park Academy Today

Erected by Florida Humanities Council and the City of Fort Pierce. (Marker Number 4.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicCivil RightsEducation. A significant historical year for this entry is 1906.
Location. 27° 27.51′ N, 80° 20.62′ W. Marker is in Fort Pierce, Florida, in St. Lucie County. Marker is at the intersection of Avenue I and North 19th Street, on the right when traveling west on Avenue I. Located in front of Lincoln Park Academy. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1806 Avenue I, 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. A different marker also named Lincoln Park Academy (here, next to this marker); Zora Neale Hurston House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Former Chronicle Newspaper Headquarters (approx. 0.4 miles away); Highwaymen Obelisk (approx. half a mile away); Means Court School (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Lincoln Park Academy (approx. half a mile away); Julius Caesar Scott (approx. 0.6 miles away); Zora Neale Hurston Gravesite (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Pierce.
Also see . . .  The Florida Highwaymen Legacy. (Submitted on July 25, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 25, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 276 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 25, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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May. 28, 2024