Photo: JennLShoots/Shutterstock

How to Celebrate Black History Month in Orlando

Orlando Culture Black Travel
by Jori Ayers Feb 14, 2024

Many know Orlando for theme parks like Disney World, Universal, and Legoland, but Orlando is also home to a rich Black history that travelers can experience today. From historical locations to modern Black-owned businesses, public art, museums, and cultural experiences, these are the places to visit to see Orlando’s Black history first-hand during Black History Month and beyond.

Historic Eatonville & Zora Neale Hurston

Historic Eatonville is 25 minutes from downtown Orlando. It’s one of the oldest self-governing, all-Black municipalities in the United States that still exists today. Eatonville was founded on August 18, 1887, by 27 Black voters who made this a home for African-Americans after slavery. The town was built on three pillars: community, education, and religion, and the town’s motto is “The Town That Built Freedom.”

The town was also home to the famous American author Zora Neale Hurston, who described Eatonville as “the city of five lakes, three croquet courts, three hundred brown skins, three hundred good swimmers, plenty guavas, two schools, and no jailhouse.” Eatonville was and still is a historical Black empowerment model. The Orlando suburb is where you’ll find the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts and other cultural Black history gems.

The Parramore District

The Parramore District is Orlando’s oldest and most prominent African-American neighborhood. The Parramore District is just west of downtown Orlando and was developed by James B. Parramore in the late 1880s. The Parramore District was built during segregation, and many of the first residents were African, Caribbean, Seminole, and native-born African-Americans.

This district is home to the many unique African American artifacts and displays of the Civil Rights Movement at the Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture. This museum, founded by Florida State Representative Geraldine Thompson, is home to many African-American treasures and history. It’s also where you’ll find a wealth of culturally focused public murals.

Tinker Field

Tinker Field is located in downtown Orlando and served as a baseball stadium until 2015. The original field and its buildings were built in 1922 and became a dedicated ballpark on April 19, 1923. Many baseball greats have passed through here, like Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and more, but many don’t know that this field holds a special place in Orlando’s Civil Rights Movement.

On the pitcher’s mound is where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his first and only speech in central Florida, “Integration Now in 1964.” The field was added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

Hannibal Square

Hannibal Square is located on the west side of Winter Park. Hannibal Square was established in 1881 and was once a thriving African-American community where many African-American labor and domestic workers for white residents lived. At the time, Hannibal Square was filled with many Black-owned shops, barbershops, banks, theaters, grocery stores, and more, but as time passed, many moved out of the neighborhood. It’s now largely known for luxury boutiques and restaurants.

Although most of Hannibal Square’s history has been lost over time, those who grew up there and many others have fought to preserve the area’s legacy. In 2007, The Hannibal Square Heritage Center was founded by the Crealdé School of Art. This was in partnership with residents of Winter Park to restore the history, pay tribute to the past, and educate others.

Black history exhibits and events in Orlando for Black History Month

Hannibal Square Heritage Center

When: Ongoing
Cost: Free

Hannibal Square Heritage Center is home to the permanent “Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories of Winter Park” exhibit. This exhibit shares the African American history of those who lived in Hannibal Square in the mid-1990s. This exhibit depicts everything from the challenges and triumphs to the daily lives of the African-American residents who lived there.

Hannibal Square Heritage Center: 642 W New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789

Reflections Of Time II In Historic Winter Garden

When: January 6 through February 29, 9 AM to 4 PM
Cost: Free

Held at the Winter Garden City Hall, this free event is an exhibition of different Black artists from central Florida. The artwork showcases the Black American struggle that many Blacks go through daily to show the Black experience today.

Winter Garden City Hall: 300 W Plant St Winter Garden, FL

African Americans And The Arts Exhibit

When: February 2 to March 31; 8 AM to 9 PM on weekdays, 12 PM to 5 PM on weekends
Cost: Free

This exhibit is held at The Orlando City Hall Terrace Gallery. It honors the African-American community in Orlando by bringing together many Black artists to celebrate their various mediums. Many art forms are presented at this event, including the performing arts, film, music, literature, and more.

The Orlando City Hall Terrace Gallery: 400 S Orange Ave Orlando, FL 32801

Culinary Curiosities: Exploring African American Culinary Contributions

When: February 15 from 6 PM to 8 PM
Cost: $70

Edible Education Experience is hosting a culinary class on African-American foodways led by chef Crystal Clark. Guests will learn about the savory creations in Southern Black cuisine and how they impacted the Black community and Black history.

Edible Education Experience: 26 East King Street, Orlando, FL, 32804

Honoring Black Heritage & Culture

When: February 17 from 10 AM to 3 PM
Cost: Free

This event will be Orange County History Center’s second annual Honoring Black Heritage and Culture event, and this year’s theme is African-Americans as leaders in the arts. During this event, guests will see the impact Black Americans have had on the humanities, visual arts, music, and more.

Orange County History Center: 65 East Central Boulevard Orlando, FL 32801

City Of Orlando’s Black History Month Community Celebration Event

When: February 20 from 5 PM to 8 PM
Cost: Free

The city of Orlando holds an annual Black History Month Celebration every year that is free to the public. This event is a celebration of the African-American community in Orlando and their contributions to the city. Special guests such as Mayor Buddy Dyer, city commissioners, City of Orlando Poet Laureate Shawn Welcome, and saxophonist James Johnson will be in attendance. There will also be music, food, and other entertainment, like the debut of the City Beautiful Voices.

Camping World Stadium – East Plaza Lounge: 1 Citrus Bowl Place Orlando, FL 32805

Kevin Harris’ Joy-Filled Noise: A Musical Celebration Of Black History

When: Feb. 23 from 7:30 PM to 9 PM
Cost: $35 to $45

The Timucua Arts Foundation presents this event led by music director Kevin Harris, which showcases a vocal and instrumental ensemble that traces Black musical history. It will include one of the most exceptional talents from the region, delving into a rich tapestry of Black American musical influences both classic and contemporary from the South African hymn Siyahamba to African-American spirituals, jazz, blues, and gospel songs.

Timucua Arts Foundation: 2000 S Summerlin Ave Orlando, FL 32806

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.