LaVilla is one of Jacksonville’s oldest Gullah Geechee communities and one of Florida’s first urbanized Black communities. Incorporated in 1866 and settled by former enslaved and United States Colored Troops soldiers,
LaVilla emerged as a major epicenter for ragtime, jazz, blues and civil rights, earning the moniker Harlem of the South. Negatively impacted by urban renewal and gentrification, vulnerable property owners are at risk of losing their properties, further endangering the community’s historic sense of place.
The community is now working to designate what remains as a National Register Historic District. Furthermore, the neighborhood has organized to secure equitable redevelopment opportunities and to ensure infill development is complementary and respectful of the community, its heritage and history. Inclusion to the 11 to Save program will help these efforts by bringing more public awareness to the history of this urban neighborhood.
For more information, contact: Home | Florida Trust For Historic Preservation