”Lois D. Martin Way”
Glades Road between Federal Highway and Dixie Highway
Lois D. Martin (1928-2022), was a community activist, educator and lifetime resident of Pearl City.
Pearl City, Boca Raton’s Historic Black neighborhood, was split in two by the extension of Glades Road in 1978.
Lois D. Martin fought the Florida Department of Transportation, to save Pearl City’s Tree of Knowledge……and won!
Now this section of Glades Road will forever bear her name.
LOIS D. MARTIN
Educator and community leader Lois Martin was born on September 23, 1928, in Boca Raton,
Florida to Sallie and Jasper Dolphus. After graduating in 1946 from Carver High School in Delray Beach, she earned an A.A. degree in 1948 from Florida Normal College.
In 1950 she graduated Cum Laude from Florida A&M College with a B.S. degree in Math in before
beginning to pursue graduate studies in Physics at Boston College. In addition to her career as an educator, Mrs. Martin had always been an active member of her community. Mrs. Martin acted as secretary to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and later served as Vice Chairman for the Housing Authority where she led the initiative to demolish the WWII army barracks and create the thriving Dixie Manor Affordable Housing complex. She worked with Habitat for Humanity and Pearl City residents to construct the first Habitat for Humanity homes in Pearl City. She served over 12 years on the Boca Raton’s Historic Preservation Board, held the offices of Vice
Chairman of the Pearl City Blue Ribbon Committee and Treasurer for the Martin Luther King
Memorial Committee. In addition, she served as a Sunday School teacher and Treasurer for the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Lois Martin Community Center, named in her honor, serves the underprivileged communities of Boca Raton with a variety of services for children and teens, including tutoring and after school programs.
Between 1896 and 1915 courageous African Americans escaped from Georgia and the Carolinas to settle in this South Florida wilderness which they later named Pearl City.
Pearl City was established as an African American community
south of what is today Glades Road between Dixie and Federal
Highway so that workers on local farms did not have to make the long walk from Deerfield Beach. Eventually, the community spread beyond the original three-block area near Federal Highway and Glades Road to include about another eight blocks to the north. Pearl City grew to be an independent community with its own churches, businesses, school, and entertainments during the days of segregation. In 1978, the Florida Department of Transportation, FDOT, extended Glades Road from Dixie Highway to Federal which ran directly through Pearl City causing the community to split into what is known today as Dixie Manor and Lincoln Court. Mrs. Martin boldly objected to this divide and also to the removal of a massive banyan tree, aka “The Tree of Knowledge” in the community. The Tree of Knowledge remains and is currently located at the corner of Old Dixie Highway and Glades Road.
Developing Interracial Social Change, (D.I.S.C.), an organization that works to bridge racial and economic gaps in the community, are in the process of obtaining a national historic district designation for Pearl City, within the National Trust for Historic Preservation.