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Lee County Black History Society is looking for passionate history and community members

The Lee County Black History Society is looking for passionate community members to help prepare for growth and creation of a Black Culture Center in Fort Myers.

Betty Adams, the society’s office manager and one paid employee, is retiring, leaving vacant a pivotal position that oversees operation of the society’s office, archives and Williams Academy Black History Museum in Clemente Park in Fort Myers. Adams, a retired accountant, became volunteer treasurer of the society in 2010 and was hired as the office manager in 2017.

The museum is in one of the few early 20th Century wood frame schoolhouses still standing in Lee County and the first government-funded school for Black students. The society’s offices and community room are in the former city-owned segregated nursing home and library near the museum. The rest of the non-profit society’s operations are run by dedicated volunteers.

“Black history is the string that connects people in the community,” said society Chairman Charles Barnes. “We are excited to continue to move forward with plans in the next several years for the Black Culture Center and continuing to grow our staff, programs and our prominence in the community, and this position is critical to those efforts.”

The society is working with the City of Fort Myers to plan a $22-million, three-story Black Culture Center in Clemente Park, envisioned to be home to concerts, art exhibits and even recording studios that will also help spur development in the Dunbar area.

Adams’ duties three days a week for a total of 15 hours per week include opening the museum, giving and arranging tours, changing out exhibits and staffing the society’s office. The position is available immediately.

In addition, the society has grant funding from Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network (FAAHPN) for paid interns to help catalogue and digitize the society’s museum collection. Internship positions are currently available.

For information on positions and volunteer opportunities, contact Charles Barnes at Barnescjr@comcast.net or call 239-332-8778.

About Lee County Black History Society

The Lee County Black History Society, Inc. (LCBHS), a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1994 by Janice Cass. The LCBHS, Inc. is comprised of an 11-member Board of Directors which meets on the second Tuesday of each month. The meeting is open to the public. Cass’s objectives for establishing the LCBHS was to provide a way for African Americans in Lee County to recognize and celebrate Black History Month, as well as creating the Williams Academy Black History Museum. Black History Month, Legends Gala, Florida Emancipation Day May 20 celebration event, Juneteenth and Holiday in the Park are events presented each year by LCBHS through partnerships with other community-based organizations, churches and private citizens. For information, visit LeeCountyBlackHistorySociety.org, email blackhistory@lesscountyblackhistorysociety.org or call 239-332-8778.

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