The Durkeeville community was founded in the 1930s, when African Americans were barred from living in many parts of the city.
This was during the period of mandatory separation of the races and legal discrimination. The people who came together to create Durkeeville were middle class and working class individuals. Some were doctors, lawyers, educators and business people. Others were ordinary laborers. They created a neighborhood that sheltered and nurtured many during this challenging time.
By the 1980s Durkeeville struggled with urban blight, poverty and crime associated inner city neighbor-hoods. A number of the remaining long-term residents formed the Durkeeville Historical Society and collaborated with city officials to revitalize this historic section of Jacksonville. Decaying structures were replaced, and services and resources were created.
One major resource was the Durkeeville Historical Center. The center contained exhibits and other materials that tell the story of Durkeeville, information about African Americans in Jacksonville and North Florida, as well as the African American experience generally.