Segregated school in Jacksonville Beach was home to Black students

JACKSONVILLE BEACH —  Although there’s an understated elegance to its brick construction and long windows,

JACKSONVILLE BEACH —  Although there’s an understated elegance to its brick construction and long windows, the old schoolhouse is nothing fancy: a simple rectangle that once held four classrooms.

With links to a woman born into slavery who went on to teach children in her kitchen, it became known by several names: School #144, Jacksonville Beach Colored School and Jacksonville Beach Elementary. 

For generations of Black residents at the Beaches, it became a distinct mark of pride, a centerpiece and social center for the community — as well as a refuge during Hurricane Dora in 1964.

In the days before desegregation, kids came from the streets around the school, a Black neighborhood known as the Hill, as well as from Atlantic Beach and Mayport. It even drew some country kids from the San Pablo area across the Ditch.