Once upon a time, there were more than 50 Black All-Black Towns in Oklahoma. Today, only 13 towns continue to exist. Lima, OK is included in the remaining 13. Lima is located near the center of the state in Seminole County. The county is named after the Seminole Tribe due to members of the Seminole Nation and Black people who were freed from enslavement within the Tribe, known as Seminole Freedpeople, occupying the space. According to Hannibal Johnson in his book “Acres of Aspiration: The All-Black Towns in Oklahoma,” Lima emerged in 1919 but the post office dated back to 1907 (Johnson 153). However, Lima was incorporated in 1913 (O’Dell). Two prominent buildings that existed back during the town’s peak were Mt. Zion Methodist Church and Rosenwald Hall. Mt. Zion Methodist Church was “one of the oldest and best-preserved churches in the All-Black Towns” (Johnson 153). Although the church no longer stands, it stood into the 20th century (O’Dell). However, The Rosenwald Hall continues to stand today as a symbol of what once was, even though now it is an abandoned eroding building. The school was built in 1921 and served as the main school for Black children in the town, which was special due to Jim Crow laws requiring racially separate schools across the country. I believe that the educational opportunities offered in Lima made it an especially attractive place to live. Due to Rosenwald schools being granted to black communities to educate African Americans, Lima offered opportunities for educational advancement to its residents. Having an education was important to Black people in the 1920s especially because it was an achievement that was kept from the race for so long, so the town offered success to its residents by providing a source of academia. I one day would like to visit the town of Lima and imagine what was there once before.
Johnson, Hannibal B. Acres of Aspiration: The All-Black Towns in Oklahoma. Eakin Press, 2002.
O’Dell, Larry. “Lima: The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.” Lima | The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=LI003.
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