DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It’s home to “The World’s Most Famous Beach” and the Daytona International Speedway, but the city of Daytona Beach also has a history full of African American roots.
The Black Heritage Trail features 18 locations highlighting important sites around the city.
The trail is just a little taste for residents and visitors alike but honors some of the big contributions made by African Americans. Spots include more well-known areas like the Jackie Robinson Ballpark and Bethune-Cookman University, but also parks and buildings named after residents.
Masonic Lodge No. 36 is one of the stops featured on the Trail. Here, Black men were provided with community services and programs for self-improvement and ways to help others for the good of humanity. They met to discuss current events or learn job skills regardless of background. The Lodge, originally built in 1884, still serves the same purpose today.
Jackie Robinson made history as the first African American baseball player in the Major Leagues. In a time when black and white fans were segregated off the field, Robinson changed the game on the field when he played during spring training in Daytona Beach in 1946 and in the MLB on the Dodgers the following year. The Jackie Robinson Ballpark became part of the National Register of Historic Places in the late 1990s and is also part of the Black Heritage Trail today. Visitors can find a statue of Robinson near the stadium’s entrance.
Rose Marie Bryon spent 42 years as a public school teacher in the area during which she fought for equal pay for black and white teachers and organized various community events. Her hope of creating a community center came to fruition in 1967 and is today the Rose Marie Bryon Children’s Center located on the Trail at 625 South Street.
A major figure in the medical field for Daytona was Daisy Stocking. A registered nurse, Stocking served the community for decades through her work with the Girl Scouts, the Sara Hunt Orphanage and McLeod Hospital, to name a few. The Daisy Stocking Park at 550 Third Street honors her legacy.
Other locations on the trail include Campbell Hotel, Bonner Elementary and Stewart Memorial Methodist Church, among others.
The trail and the information provided about the locations are thanks to Yvonne Scarlett-Golden, the city’s first African American mayor and a native of Daytona Beach.
Certain criteria must be met to be featured on the trail, such as being the site of a significant African American event or being associated with a person who had a significant impact on the development of the African American community.
Anyone looking to download a map of the Trail or find more information on the historical sites can visit the city’s website here.