NewsBlack History Month


Boynton Beach Library preserving local Black history

Posted at 5:57 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 17:57:15-05

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Archives can be a lens to help put certain moments in time into focus. A local library has collected many but is hoping to preserve more.

“The Rosenwald Schools were really the brainchild of Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald,” said archivist Georgen Charnes.

You can find layers of local black history on display.

“You know a lot of times you hear about desegregation, but we don't realize that the teachers had to desegregate as well,” said Charnes. “There were four African American teachers who came to Boynton Beach Elementary School. Ginger Colebrooks was one of them.”

Charnes started to research and gather as much documentation. She showed WPTV some in the archive room that is kept at 41 degrees.

“Everybody has a history. Everybody has a story. We need to tell everybody’s stories,” she said.

These snapshots of the past are not the only thing they have. Oral archives are included as well as a digital one.

“The online timeline starts in the early 1890s where many black families farmed the land in Boynton Beach and then it goes to the 1930s where the sunset laws went into effect prohibiting a Blacks from certain areas in the white community," said Charnes, "to the 1940s where it talked about the ‘club continental’ a hub for black entertainers that went all the way through the 1960s. The timeline continues throughout the decades.”

The library is looking to add more – but needs help from residents.

“We embrace the history of all Boynton Beach Residents. Whatever their history is, whatever their story is, we want to collect it and then get it out there so people can know it.”