The historic African American community of Lakeland was first settled around 1890. The area was subdivided and began development by businessman Edwin Newman as a resort community for whites. Although Newman did build and sell some homes his plans were never fully realized as much of the land he selected was not suitable for development. His homes soon became residences for African Americans. Many other homes in the community were built by others and by 1903 Lakeland was a flourishing African American Community with two churches and a school. The community grew and thrived until it was devastated in the 1970s by an urban renewal process. That process resulted in the destruction of homes on two thirds of the community. The areas we will call Lakeland East and Lakeland West were completely destroyed. The central part of the community also underwent change but many original structures and families remain in the community today. Urban renewal displaced two thirds of Lakeland’s households.
This tour will help you see Lakeland as it was. It can be used independently or as an aid to your walking tour. Please feel free to post your impressions and suggestions.