Exhibit on display at Orlando airport celebrates Black legends with ties to Central Florida

Exhibition features items from Parramore’s Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture

Dr. and Mrs. Wells about 20 years after the Wells' Built Hotel was constructed. (Credit: Wells' Built Museum)
Dr. and Mrs. Wells about 20 years after the Wells' Built Hotel was constructed. (Credit: Wells' Built Museum)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Travelers will get to learn about Central Florida Black history this month at the Orlando International Airport with the help of a new temporary exhibit.

The Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture, in the Parramore neighborhood, opened the exhibition this week highlighting Central Florida Black legends. The Wells’Built Museum is located in the historic hotel built in 1929 by Dr. William Monroe Wells on West South Street.

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The limited-time exhibition is located on the third level near the entrance to Gates 70-129.

Now through Feb. 28, visitors to the main terminal will get to learn about heroes including pilot Bessie Coleman. Coleman was the first American woman to earn an international pilot’s license in 1921 in France. She would often fly in and out of what’s now the Orlando Executive Airport.

The exhibit also features art from Odell Etim, a contemporary African American artist who lived in Central Florida, as well as photographs of other local legends.

Wells built the entertainment venue South Street Casino to help bring African American artists to the Central Florida area. (Credit: Wells Built Museum)

However, the exhibit at OIA is just a sampling of what the Wells’Built Museum has to offer.

The hotel built by Wells in Parramore had fallen into disrepair by the 1990s but was restored and added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

A nearby casino also built by Wells that was later demolished hosted famous guests including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and musical legends including Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King and Ray Charles.

A visit to the Wells’Built is a must for learning about Central Florida Black history.

For more information on the museum, visit www.Wellsbuilt.org.