Black Heritage Museum - New Smyrna Beach, FL
N 29° 01.485 W 080° 55.973
17R E 506535 N 3210729
Quick Description: The Black Heritage Museum is located in the old St. Rita's Colored Catholic Mission, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 4:37:23 PM
Waymark Code: WM6W54
From the Volusia County Government Echo Tourism
St. Rita's Black History Museum
This 1899 former Catholic Church was restored in 1999 and converted to a race relations and African American history museum including historical inventions by African Americans. The museum is open from noon to 6:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and by appointment. Admission is free.
314 N. Duss St.
New Smyrna Beach, FL
For more information
An historical marker in front of the church provides the following information: "The old St. Rita's Catholic Church Mission Building is one of the oldest surviving church buildings in the city. It was built in 1899 as the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of New Smyrna Beach, moved to this site in 1956 to serve the colored Catholics in the Westside Community, and was named St. Rita's Colored Mission Church. The building represents an important architectural landmark. The distinctive belfry, wood shingles in the gable end and pointed arch molding on the windows represent important architectural characteristics. After integration in 1969, the Diocese of Orlando converted the church into a neighborhood clinic and day care facility. The former church served that function until 1980, when the city condemned it in 1991. A committee of citizens, organized by Father Rudi Cleare of the Orlando Diocese, supported by Mark Rokowski, city planner and chaired by Mary Harrell, a retired educator and founder of the Black Heritage Festival, received state grants in 1997-98. These grants, coupled with private donations, funded the restorations, completed in 1999. The Orlando Diocese deeded the building and grounds to the Black Heritage Festival in 1999. The building currently serves as the Black Heritage Museum."