Kathryn Palmer


In 1979 Nat Tillman, a Lincoln High School (LHS) alumnus and one of the Gainesville Sun's first African-American columnists, penned an article advocating for the preservation of Lincoln's history as a "pioneer of black education in Florida." Tillman interviewed Eric Roberts, a member of Lincoln's first graduating class of 1925 about why Lincoln's history as a historically black high school "deserved to be preserved." Like many of Florida's black high schools closed during school integration efforts of the late 1960s and early 70s, Lincoln's roots stretch back to Reconstruction. However, as Florida's second accredited black high school, Roberts praised the educational leadership of Lincoln's teachers, specifically longtime Principal A. Quinn Jones, as the "key" to Lincoln's exceptional reputation during legalized segregation. Roberts' memories of Lincoln as a respected local black institution read more like a eulogy, though, than an inspiring motivation for the school's future. One decade earlier, in 1969, the Alachua County Board of Public Instruction ignored the impassioned pleas of Gainesville's African-American community, and voted to close Gainesville's only black high school as a means of achieving federal standards of desegregated education.