When A. Quinn Jones Sr. moved into his Gainesville home in 1925, the U.S. was still 29 years away from the birth of the civil rights movement.
But on Sunday, about 200 people of all races gathered in front of the late African-American educator’s residence to celebrate its transition into a museum.
The A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, located at 1013 NW Seventh Ave., honors the former principal of the then-segregated Abraham Lincoln High School, who developed it into the second fully accredited all-black high school in Florida, according to the museum’s website.
The crowd on Sunday celebrated a ribbon-cutting for the new museum, which will open in April and give visitors a glimpse into Jones’ life.
Jones’ family deeded the home to the city in 2005, said Stephanie Seawright, Gainesville’s Community Redevelopment Agency project manager. The 12-year project, funded by Gainesville’s CRA, cost about $400,000.
“The house tells his story,” she said. “It represents a man who was larger than life.”
All six city commissioners and Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe attended the ribbon-cutting and applauded Jones’ 96-year-old son Oliver Jones as he received a key to the new museum. He said although his father wasn’t able to complete his doctorate program, Jones motivated his two sons to complete graduate school.
“(My father) was always interested in education, and he encouraged us,” Oliver Jones said.
Although the museum will not open until April, the public can request a tour of the museum before then, said Steve Phillips, the director of the Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department.
“The museum is a phenomenal opportunity to know so much more about this man, which would have been lost otherwise,” Phillips said. “This site is unique in the sense of the history here.”
Contact Meryl Kornfield at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MerylKornfield