02 July 2008
Front row (l to r) Ernestine McCleary, Velma Thompkins, Gussie Cribb, unidentified woman. Back row (l to r) Raleigh Ross, Annie Reynolds (Thompson), Harry Treeye, Gladys Reynolds (Ward), Mary Louise Cribb (Refoe) and Zack Spears. - Fernandina Beach, Florida.
These young people maintained their connections through old age. When my grandmother, Louise Cribb, died at age 83, she was still writing letters to some of the people who went to a local photographer and had this picture taken. The small, black community was insulated from much of the racism that was prevalent during the first decade of the 20th century. This photo was taken between 1911 and 1914; by 1914, Louise Cribb had become Louise Refoe, and she had moved to Sanford, Florida.
In 1989, the Florida A & M University (FAMU) Marching 100 was the United States representative in the Bastille Day parade. Their membership generally numbers more than 300 young men and women.
Florida A & M University started out as Florida State Normal School. Its purpose was to provide vocational training for black students. My grandfather was born in 1890 and passed away in 1987. In 1908, he was a student studying tailoring in Tallahassee, Florida where FAMU is located, and he was a member of the band and the baseball team.
Herman L. Refoe, Sr. is the sixth man from the left on the back row in the band picture, and he is the second player from the right in the baseball picture. He didn’t graduate, but he used his tailoring skills to support his family as evidenced by the reefer worn by his son between 1934 and 1938 at Florida A & M College (FAMC), which is now FAMU.
Silver Springs is noted for its glass-bottomed boats. In May 1949, students and teachers from Midway Elementary School, located east of Sanford, Florida in what was then an agricultural area, were used in the brochure advertising Paradise Park.
Jim Crow was alive and well in the two separate parks. Note the use of the nomenclature “colored people.” This vernacular is no longer in regular usage.
Text by © Annye Refoe
in cooperation with William Schmidt who scanned the photos.