Black Pearls: The Story of Pearl City
Boca Raton's Historic Black Community
Reginald Cunningham lives in Washington, D.C., and works in the dynamic fields of concerts, fashion, and activist photography. Throughout his career, Cunningham has made his focus the celebration of Black talent. Reginald Cunningham's photos were commissioned by the Boca Raton Museum of Art and made possible with the generous support of Barb Schmidt and Michelle Maros and the Schmidt Family Foundation. Dr. Candace Cunningham, Associate Professor of History at the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, FAU, conducted interviews for the project.
Black Pearls is a photographic survey of Boca Raton's historic Black community, Pearl City, located between Dixie and Federal Highway on either side of Glades Road. Addressing past, present, and future, the photographer Reginald Cunningham has captured a multitude of images and voices that recall Pearl City's century of history and aspirations. Because there is perpetually the threat of development that would throw asunder this neighborhood that successive generations have created, the Museum of Art wished to tell the story through the current residents whose parents and grandparents were the original Pearl City settlers.
Historic Pearl City, founded in 1915, is Boca Raton's oldest surviving neighborhood. As a complement to Black Pearls, the Boca Raton Historical Society presents historic images, maps, artifacts, interviews, and documents relevant to the history of Pearl City and the Black community. Historic Pearl City features artifacts on loan from Pearl City pioneer Irene Rufus and in collaboration with longtime Pearl City residents. We thank all of our generous donors to our Pearl City collections both past and present as we celebrate Boca Raton's Black Heritage. This exhibit was compiled by Boca Raton Historical Society curator Susan Gillis.
Additional Sponsor Text
This exhibition has been made possible by the Museum's Leadership Donors.