Francis Oliver, Oral History

Local historian Jason Byrne interviews Francis Oliver on July 2, 2018 11:50AM at Patio Grill in Sanford. Francis is a civil rights activist, community leader, career educator, founder of the Goldsboro Museum, and longtime resident of the black community of Sanford’s Goldsboro district.


0:38 The “Overground Railroad” – Escape from Jim Crow

1:00 Family moving to Goldsboro in 1946

2:18 Family farm back in Alabama

6:28 Early memories of Sanford and Goldsboro

10:14 Attending Savannah State University and husband dying in Vietnam

10:55 Return to Sanford and early career teaching in public schools, desegregation

12:15 Growing up in Goldsboro during Jim Crow

14:12 Why the KKK never marched in Goldsboro

22:10 Life in Goldsboro, recreation, segregated pools

24:30 Desegregation of schools, Crooms Academy

28:00 Racial Divide in Sanford, mayors helping bringing Sanford together

31:20 Jerrymandering of voting districts, lack of blacks in positions of power in Seminole County

37:10 Section 8, government subsidized housing

40:00 1940s in Goldsboro, celery cultivation, labor camps

41:25 Fair Housing Act, HUD housing projects

43:40 Sanford becomes thought of as the ghetto of county, starting over, rebuilding Sanford

45:45 Trayvon Martin case

49:00 Aftermath of Trayvon Martin case, no riots, how they were prevented, praises Rick Scott

55:00 Background of rage that causes rage that has caused riots in other places

57:05 Events leading up to Travyon’s shooting by George Zimmerman, Jay Z documentary

59:03 Community reaction after the verdict was read, grown men going to their knees

1:00:28 No real gangs in Sanford, bad reputation, but it’s a good community with values

1:01:10 Issues still going on, only one black elected official in all of Seminole County today

1:02:20 Pasha Baker, her niece, running for mayor of Sanford

1:02:50 No progress politically in 30 years, few steps backwards

1:04:22 Goldsboro Museum and Cultural Exhibits, no help from city anymore

1:06:00 Francis created sign that say Live, Work Play in Sanford

1:08:00 Funded non-profit and museum at first with her retirement checks, Pasha helped get grants

1:09:00 Goldsboro Museum and Welcome Center campus, art square, gardens