Photo Exhibit: Pahokee Prepares for War, Spady Museum

by Lexa Pennington /
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Jun 28, 2009 / 0 comments

Spady Museum Showcases Photographic Retrospective of Pahokee’s Wartime Contributions

Delray Beach, FL – (June 27, 2009) - - The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum will present “Pahokee Prepares for War,” a photographic exhibition that depicts what life was like in the 1940s in Pahokee, from July 9 through September 30, 2009. It is the first time the Spady Museum has showcased an exhibition entirely devoted to slice of life in the Glades.

Pahokee, a principal agricultural center of the Glades area in Palm Beach County, lies in the rich black soil that borders the southeastern edge of Lake Okeechobee. A major producer of vegetables for the northern market since the late 1930s, the town came alive each year from Christmas to April as black and white migrant workers poured in to harvest the crops.


guitar player, 1940s Pahokee Florida, Historical Museum of Southern Florida

Guitar Player.

Historical Museum of Southern Florida


The packing plants and trains of refrigerated cars kept going throughout the night, as did the stores, bars, gambling houses and jook joints. Early 1943 brought excitement and apprehension to the community as preparations began in earnest for World War II. Security around the lake was heightened, the locals took classes in first aid preparation and plane recognition, and Bahamian labor was imported to help harvest snap beans, the main crop.

“Pahokee Prepares for War” examines the town at work and play as it faced the realities of World War II, and provides a rare glimpse into the community at a pivotal moment in history. The work of an unknown local photographer who was intimately acquainted with his subject, these detailed images and the associated captions offer a sense of events as they unfurl.


“The Glades area has such a rich history, known for its fertile soil
and corps, the stories of the people who worked and live there are just
as rich. This exhibit is an opportunity to look at the community, its
history and the contributions of the migrant workers,”
said museum educator Brandy Brownlee.


Pahokee, Florida - Dr Cunningham, Historical Museum of Southern Florida

"Dr. Cunningham (former dentist) of U.S. Employment Service conducting registration of Bahama negroes as they arrive at Camp Everglades. Next to him, Migratory Health Assn Clerk. 4/13/43." -- original caption.
Historical Museum of Southern Florida



The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, a non-profit organization located at 170 NW 5th Avenue in Delray Beach, is dedicated to discovering, collecting and sharing the African-American history and heritage of Florida. Located in the former home of the late Solomon D. Spady, the most prominent African American educator and community leader in Delray Beach from 1922 to 1957, the museum opened in July 2001. It is the only museum of its kind in Palm Beach County.


Museum hours are Monday – Friday, 11am – 4pm; Saturday – 10am – 2pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for students and members. For more information, call 561-279-8883 or visit