Jacksonville Cultural Sites

Ritz LaVilla Museum, Jacksonville Cultural Sites

Ritz LaVilla Museum, Jacksonville; (c) Soul Of America

Jacksonville Cultural Sites

Edward Waters College
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1866, this HBCU was Florida’s first Independent institution of higher learning for African Americans; the restored Centennial Hall was built in 1916 under the leadership of Rev. R.L. Brown to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the AME church; the campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
ADDRESS: 1658 Kings Road

Ritz Theater & LaVilla Museum
DESCRIPTION: The Mecca for African American culture and heritage in all of Florida. Ritz Theater was designed in 1929 by local architect Jefferson Powell in the Art Deco style; from the 1930s thru 1960s this theater jammed with Ray Charles and many other artists who worked the Chitlin Circuit; the renovated theater seats 400 and a large stage for a variety of movies, music, dance and theatrical productions. Joined at the hip is the recently opened LaVilla Museum which features an eye-catching mix African and African American cultural exhibits. One half of the 11,000 square foot museum is dedicated historical exhibits of LaVilla and northeast Florida. It begins with the antebellum period when the area derived its name from the plantation called “LaVilla.” The other half of the museum features rotating local and national exhibits on tour that are certain please. The award-winning Ritz Voices all-city youth chorus founded by Deborah McDuffie features young vocalists ages 10-21 who have performed with celebrities Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams and Gerald Alston.
ADMISSION: varies by event
DAYS & HOURS: daily
ADDRESS: 825 West Davis Street, Jacksonville, FL MAP
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 904-632-5555
WEBSITE: http://www.ritzlavilla.org

Masonic Temple
DESCRIPTION: opened in 1913 for the Free and Accepted Masons of Florida, Colored its architectural elements resemble the Louis H. Sullivan style. Years ago, it was a larger focal point for commercial and fraternal activities in the historically black community of LaVilla; Anderson Bank, the earliest Black bank in Jacksonville, at one time occupied the ground level. This distinctive structure on the National Register of Historic Buildings is headquarters for the Prince Hall Masons of Florida, Grand East District.
ADMISSION: must be invited.
DAYS & HOURS: by appt
ADDRESS: 410 Broad Street, Jacksonville, FL MAP
PARKING: on street and lot across the street
PHONE: 904-354-2368
WEBSITE: http://www.mwuglflorida.org

LaVilla School of the Arts
DESCRIPTION: A magnet middle school built in the heart of historic Black Jacksonville offers a full academic program for gifted, advanced, and standard children in the arts and creative writing; contains two theatres, dance studios, instrumental and vocal suites, a piano lab and visual arts labs; the school also hosts plays and musicals.
ADMISSION: school enrollment
DAYS & HOURS: by appt
ADDRESS: 501 North Davis Streets, Jacksonville, FL MAP
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 904-633-6069
WEBSITE: http://www.duvalschools.org/LaVilla

Rhoda Martin Cultural Heritage Center
DESCRIPTION: resides inside the original Jacksonville Colored School #144, the first school for colored children in Jacksonville Beach. The remarkable school founder, Rhoda Martin, was a freed slave who lived to be 116 years old and died in 1948.
ADMISSION: small fee varies by event
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 8:30a-5:30p, Sat 10a-3p
ADDRESS: 376 4th Avenue South, Jacksonville Beach, FL MAP
PARKING: on street
PHONE: 904-241-6923
WEBSITE:
http://www.rhodalmartinculturalheritagecenter.com

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