The Lee County Black History Society, Inc. (LCBHS) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. The organization is seeking financial sponsors and volunteers. Your continued support is needed for: 1. General operational expenses for our non-profit administrative office functions and organizational activities.2. Collecting and preserving local Black memorabilia and artifacts. 3. Development of historical archives.4. Displaying Exhibits 5. Developing of the Living History Classroom.
In November, 1994, the LCBHS (Society) acquired the 1942 ca. Williams Academy Building from the Lee County School District just in time to save the building from demolition. In three short months between November 1, 1994 and February 24, 1995, the Society raised $15,000 and moved the building from its location at the Dunbar Community School to its present location in Clemente’ Park at 1936 Henderson Avenue in Fort Myers, Florida. The Society is leasing the park area from the City of Fort Myers. On January 15, 2001, the Williams Academy opened its doors as the only Black History Museum in Southwest Florida.
Williams Academy was the first government funded school for black students in Fort Myers. The original two-story building was located at the corner of Anderson and Cranford Avenues. Classes went from first to eighth grades. The building was moved to the Dunbar High School site on Blount Street between 1935 and 1937. When Dunbar High School was opened in 1927, the Williams Academy was renamed Williams Primary and used for first and second grade classes.
. . .Clemente’ Park, the location of the Williams Academy Black History Museum and the Society, has served various functions in the Dunbar Community through the years. The park, in addition to serving as a recreational facility, was also a senior retirement facility for black citizens when such facilities were still segregated. The park also housed a counseling center and the first library for the Dunbar Community.