Invisible History: Black Life in Oviedo

This exhibit explores the lived experiences of African Americans in the small, agricultural community of Oviedo, Florida during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nestled south of Lake Jesup and eclipsed by the more populous and urban Sanford to its north, much of Oviedo's history was documented by the town's affluent and white founding families, rendering those who did not fall into either of those two categories historically invisible.

Items collected during the Oviedo History Harvest have helped to illuminate the vibrant black community that developed in Oviedo during the late 19th century. Through curating the metadata for this collection, it became apparent that Oviedo has a long and storied past of African Americans carving out a community for themselves after the Civil War and through the Jim Crow era. They fought for better education for their children and when denied that, they raised funds to create their own school. When denied entry into local businesses they integrated them during the 1960s through acts of civil disobedience.

Stories such as these are hidden across the country, and if not for the Oviedo History Harvest and the willingness of the local community to share these stories with us, they would never become part of the larger narrative of African-American endurance in the face of racial oppression. 


Porsha Dossie