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New organization will be dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Martin County's black Americans

Posted on February 2, 2021

At the start of Black History Month, a new nonprofit dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories and achievements of Martin County’s black Americans has been launched.

On Feb. 1, Martin County Black Heritage Initiatives (MCBHI), a pending 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was launched; its mission is to build a shared community legacy for the future by preserving black history in Martin County through education and action.1

Lloyd Jones, a Hobe Sound native and community activist, former Martin County School District board member Tony Anderson, and House of Hope CEO Rob Ranieri founded the organization to uncover, share, and preserve the stories of challenges, achievements and contributions of black Americans in shaping Martin County during its formative years and into the community it is today. The long-term vision is to improve race relations and build a shared legacy through historic preservation and education.

“Our goal is to make the stories of freedom and equality, injustice and struggle, loss and achievement, courage and triumphs experienced by our pioneers more accessible to the public. By understanding more about the people who have helped to shape the world around us, we hope to build greater understanding and connection,” said Jones.

Several key initiatives are already underway:

 
Martin County Oral History project which will collect stories of local black Americans before they disappear forever.
 
M.O.S.E.S project to restore and preserve black cemeteries.
 
Old Schoolhouse Preservation project to explore the history of what was known as Port Salerno’s One Room Colored Schoolhouse, potentially a Rosenwald School.2
 
Historic Land Markers and Museum project to assist Martin County in becoming a repository for statewide and national museums, illuminating the blended interrelationships of blacks, Spanish Florida, black Seminoles, Native Americans, and Europeans.

The organization’s most pressing need is to raise funds for the recording equipment needed for the oral history project. To learn more, get involved, donate, or to share a piece of missing history, contact Lloyd Jones at mcblackheritageinitiatives@gmail.com or 772-260-1766 or visit the organization’s Facebook page.3

 

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