Port St. Lucie in sunny Florida is known for its cheery motto, “the city for all ages,” and is a popular tourist destination. Though predominantly white, the city has a surging Black community with some deep historical roots.
Just 20 miles north in the city of Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County, author Zora Neale Hurston made her home there in the last three years of her life. The “Their Eyes Were Watching God” author lived rent-free in the home while working several jobs including teaching at a local school and continuing to work as a writer. Her home, the Zora Neale Hurston House, was named a U.S. National Historical Landmark in 1991.
Golfing is one of Port St. Lucie’s top attractions, and the city’s PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance. In 2009, the PGA awarded three Black golfing pioneers – Te Rhodes, John Shippen, and Bill Spiller – with posthumous membership to the previously whites-only golfing association.
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In 2010, Port St. Lucie’s PGA Center held an exhibit and Black History Month event honoring the trio which unveiled, for the first time to many, their contributions to the sport. Famed boxer Joe Louis was also honored and was taught the game by Rhodes.
PHOTO: Public Domain