Sept. 24, 2022

Sanford man breaks the color barrier at the University of Florida

The Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives has a brief 38-second clip of George Starke Jr.'s first day at the University of Florida law school. There is NO sound, but it gives a glimpse of his first day. You can find it here.

is significant for the state of Florida, the University of Florida, AND for the city of Sanford. George Starke Jr. is the son of Dr. George Starke, the first Black doctor in the city of Sanford. 

Interestingly enough, Sept. 15th is an important date for both father and son. On Sept. 15, 1927, Dr.Starke opened his first office in Sanford. 31 years later, his son integrated the UF on Sept. 15.

The University of Florida was the first university in the deep South to admit black students. It would another 3 to 6 years before the state universities in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana would integrate.

George Jr. had earned his undergraduate degree at Morehouse University in Atlanta, and he served 4 years in the Air Force before he was admitted to the University of Florida law school.

in previous Celery City Stories, it’s just been me telling the stories. For today’s episode, I was honored to interview Mr. Starke, so I’m going to let the man himself do most of the talking.


At the end of this episode I mention that I'll include an interview with Katie Whelchel Stewart in an upcoming show. If you missed the episode about her grandfather, Hugh Whelchel, you can check it out here: "Sanford man is hero in classic 1920 Alabama-Georgia game"