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A Historical Lineage of Black Preservation

Project of Merit Winner!
Author: Kellea Roberson
Faculty Mentor: Professor Tru Leverette


The topic of this research will showcase Black preservation and perseverance through researching historical buildings that have been utilized for both the benefit and betterment of the Black community over time. Focusing in particular on the Ducote Federal Credit Union, located in Historic Durkeeville, which was the only credit union that serviced African American residents in Jacksonville in the 1960s. Tracking the building’s usage as it became the new home for the nonprofit organization, Families of Slain Children, an organization for families that have lost loved ones due to senseless violence. This research will focus on localizing the African diaspora to Jacksonville, Florida and will emphasize the agency and perseverance of Black people and the means of bettering their lives for themselves, by themselves. Through the use of participatory observation, interviews and archival exploration, this project will be able to exemplify the ways Black individuals adapted to attain personal success when social advances were not afforded to them. In addition, this research aims to contribute to the discipline of residential genealogy and historic preservation of the built environment, to emphasis the importance of recognizing the prior use and history of a space and the implications it can have on the current inhabitants of a space.
Research Types: Undergraduate Research


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17 Responses

  1. I did enjoy viewing and reading your poster. I am certain we will learn quite a lot from your research findings. Consider including a section on Residential Genealogy, as it seems to be the central element of the study.

  2. Great work, Kellea! This project is a great way for you to bridge your multiple academic interests, and I hope you continue to continue it beyond this semester.

  3. I think this project is really well thought out and explained. I like the way you show continuity from a historic institution and tie it into a present-day community use of the facility. It is a very positive and uplifting way to show how people come together to solve problems to meet their community’s needs.

  4. What an interesting topic. I like how locally specific it is and especially appreciate the overview of how the site has changed through time. I would be interested in hearing more about reciprocity with the site – how the NGO you highlight might benefit from this research, for example. I can imagine they would find value in this project and partnership.

  5. I also appreciate the presentation of historical change specific to a local site. I’d be interested in hearing more about reciprocity with the site; I can imagine the NGO you mention would be interested in these findings and a partnership.

  6. I love how you re-cast the experience of African-Americans in Jacksonville in terms of their agency as opposed to traditional narratives that cast them as lacking agency. I also love the idea of residential (building) geneology…the idea that buildings have history too, and that that history intertwines with that of people.

  7. I really appreciate the shift of the historical focus. I think this is a fantastic idea and could be further expanded to include other specific stories of this nature, based on region. A national project, such as this, would be very impactful!

  8. Great job, Kellea! This is such an important project that highlights the economic independence of the Black community in Jacksonville. The Ducote Federal Credit Union shows us that, in the face of discrimination and exclusion, African Americans thrived within their local communities. You show us the importance of examining the Black resistance to white supremacy at the local level.

  9. Good project and interesting approach: building genealogy. This could expand to include additional key buildings and spaces of cultural significance in Durkeeville as a whole.

  10. What a wonderful project! Too many times, communities of urban areas are ignorant of the powerful history they contain. How inspirational, powerful, and transformative are these histories to these communities. More projects like this need to be created for all the marginalized communities in our nation. Well done!

  11. This is an outstanding project, Kellea. Your poster is beautiful and beautifully showcases an ongoing story of Black agency, perseverance, and determination in the face of daunting odds. I’m struck by your descriptive phrase, “effortful adaptations” — rich and effective. Thank you for sharing your work!

  12. This is a very interesting topic, especially in the midst of Jacksonville continuously tearing down many historic buildings, rather than opting for restoration. Many of these buildings have rich history that gets lost once destroyed. I liked how you included the photos of the way the building changed over time. Highlighting the way that black people continue to succeed and keep the world thriving is definitely something that everyone should do. Great job!

  13. Great job, Kellea! Your poster is informative and well-designed. Your research on the historical lineage of the Ducote Federal Credit Union and the vital role this African American financial institution played in Jacksonville’s history is so important.

  14. This project was so informative. There are many historically black buildings in Jacksonville that I was not aware of as well as the history of African Americans not just in Jax but also St. Augustine. The progression of the Decote federal credit union building and it’s ability to still contribute to the black community speaks volumes. good work

  15. A bold presentation with splashes of color — sometimes a rarity in this genre. Looks great in a digital format. My only suggestion would be to maybe increase the font size (I am getting old and my eyes aren’t so good anymore). Otherwise, this is fantastic work!

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