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Hannibal Square Heritage Center Celebrates Longtime Residents With History Exhibit

The voices, lives and memories of residents of the historically black Winter Park neighborhood Hannibal Square will be on display beginning Friday night. The art exhibition will be at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center through August.

Volunteer historian Fairolyn Livingston said nearly 20 interviews and portraits will show Hannibal Square as she used to know it — a lively middle class neighborhood of black families. Livingston started The Sage Project along with the to preserve the neighborhood’s history in fast-changing Winter Park.

Livingston said she doesn’t want to say she has a favorite interview, but one sticks out in her mind — when The Reverend Haywood Cleveland saw his future wife at a local market.

“Mr Cleveland picked the ring out and she said I didn’t tell you I was going to marry you. And he said well we want the same things.” 

Cleveland now is in 90s still lives in Hannibal Square. His wife passed away last year. 

Livingston said the project aims to show newcomers how the area once was a thriving middle class neighborhood of black families.

“I think if you move into an area its on you to research the history of that community rather than your neighbor next door.”

Winter Park is in the middle of 16-year redevelopment of the neighborhood. Some residents have complained of encroaching development displacing families. 

The exhibit will run through August 31st. Opening night will include a performance from the Orlando Ballet.

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About Emily Lang

Emily Lang