African-American history can be found throughout St. Augustine – a city recognized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for its pivotal role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That history is at times inspirational and filled with joy. At other times, it can be tragic and filled with injustice. For visitors to the city, it can be difficult to put that long history in perspective. Where to begin? The obvious choice is the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center.
The museum is located in the former Excelsior High School, the first public high school for Black students in St. Johns County. Built in 1925, the high school operated until desegregation in the 1960s. It later served as a government office building and, thanks to public support, it was saved from demolition in the 1980s. Impressive restoration efforts followed and are continuing, including current efforts by the National Park Service.