Flagler County’s new proclamation sets precedent this Black History Month

By Brittany Jones, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, February 05, 2018, 6:31 PM EST

Sandra Shank stood in the Holden House Museum as she flipped through pictures and newspapers that displayed Flagler County’s history. The black and white photos in the museum also tell the story of a county once divided.

  • Flagler creates proclamation to recognize unity
  • Flagler County was last Fla. county to integrate
  • Community has embraced proclamation, says Commr. McLaughlin
  • RELATED: Black History Month coverage

Shank said she was so grateful the county created a proclamation to recognize unity across the community.

"When I read it touched me deeply," Shank said.

Shank remembers living in a community much like Flagler decades ago.

"Blacks lived on one side of the tracks, and whites lived on the other side of the tracks," Shank said.

Now she said she's finally seeing history on the right track.

"Celebrating the unity now existent between all races," Shank read.

About 50 years ago, you'd see the separation, but Commissioner Nate McLaughlin said he prayed and wrote this proclamation last May recognizing change and unity across the county.

It was a time where schools, bathrooms and nearly everything were separate.

Back in the early 70's, Flagler was the last county to integrate in the state.

"There’s been some things that weren’t right in the past but going forward right now, we have come to the point of that progression of society," said Commissioner Nate McLaughlin, Chair, Board of County Commissioners.

Commissioner McLaughlin said there were a lot of issues back then where humanity wasn't understood, but now they have a better understanding.

"Everyone’s welcome. I think it’s a testament to where we’ve come," McLaughlin said.

"That’s what this proclamation does — it frees us from the past," said Shank.

Commissioner McLaughlin said the entire community has embraced the proclamation. He said he signed dozens of copies so people could have their own in their homes.

The proclamation is one page Shank said is proof they're now rewriting history.

"It is time to move forward continue to make history, new history, write a new story," Shank said.