Boca Raton, FL – Boca Raton will celebrate a significant community milestone with the dedication of “Lois D. Martin Way”, a portion of Glades Road between Federal Highway and Dixie Highway, on Saturday, September 23, 2023 from 10:30am – 12:00pm. Hosted by Developing Interracial Social Change (D.I.S.C), the designation pays tribute to the legacy of Lois D. Martin (1928-2022), a community activist, educator, and lifetime resident of Pearl City, the City’s historic black community. The honorary street naming was the result of efforts by D.I.S.C. as well as the Boca Raton City Council and was voted into law by the Florida Legislature this summer.
The community is invited to attend the street naming dedication event to celebrate the life of Lois D. Martin and the significance of Pearl City. The event will be held at the Ebenezer Baptist Church at 200 NE 12th Street, Boca Raton, FL. Speakers at the event will include Marie Hester, President of D.I.S.C., Pastor Ronald Brown from the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer, and Senator Tina Polsky. Community leaders and Boca Raton Council Members will also be in attendance.
About Lois D. Martin
An exceptional figure in Boca Raton’s history, Martin’s activism and commitment to Pearl City was strong. Born in 1928 in Boca Raton, Martin graduated from Carver High School in Delray Beach, and earned her degree from Florida A&M College in 1950 before pursuing graduate studies at Boston College. In addition to her career as an educator, Martin was an active member of her community, whose involvement included:
Secretary to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
Vice Chairman for the Housing Authority
Contributor to Habitat for Humanity
Sunday School teacher and treasurer for the Ebenezer Baptist Church
Member of Boca Raton’s Historic Preservation Board
Vice Chairman of the Pearl City Blue Ribbon Committee
Treasurer for the Martin Luther King Memorial Committee
The Lois Martin Community Center in Boca Raton is also named in her honor and serves the underprivileged communities of Boca Raton.
“Mrs. Martin was considered a community champion,” said Marie Hester, President of D.I.S.C. “She was a public official, community leader, concerned citizen, a human/health service worker, and volunteer. She was always there willing to do whatever had to be done to keep things going.”
Pearl City, the community Martin championed, was established in 1915 as a three-block neighborhood for African American residents who worked nearby on farms and businesses. The area grew to include its own churches, businesses, and schooling during segregation. Pearl City is Boca Raton’s oldest surviving neighborhood and earned a historic designation from the City in 2002. Pearl City was recently approved by the state for historic designation on the National Register of Historical Places. It has been forwarded to Washington DC for signature and Department of Interior for final approval.
Building a strong partnership with the community is one of four Strategic Goals outlined by City Council. Longtime support of Pearl City, its milestones, and leaders, continues to be a priority for the City.
“Lois D. Martin’s legacy as an educator and community leader shines as a beacon of inspiration in the City of Boca Raton,” said Mayor Scott Singer. “Her unwavering commitment to fostering positive change has resonated deeply, particularly within the historic Pearl City neighborhood. In naming a street in her honor, we pay tribute to her life of advocacy and substantial contributions to our city and hope it will inspire generations to come.”
About D.I.S.C. (Developing Interracial Social Change)
D.I.S.C. is a community-driven organization committed to fostering inclusivity, social progress, and unity within Boca Raton’s diverse populace. Learn more about their initiatives at www.discofpearlcity.org.
About the City of Boca Raton
Boca Raton is a true full-service city offering five miles of beautiful beaches, cultural offerings, parks and recreation, three nationally ranked universities, top rated public schools, and a thriving business community. Located in the southernmost region of the Palm Beaches, Boca Raton’s unparalleled quality of life makes it a standout in South Florida. Learn more about the City at www.myboca.us.
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