On the corner of Meridian and Jefferson Streets, at 419 E. Jefferson Street in Tallahassee, Florida is the John G. Riley Center & Museum. The two-story, vernacular, wood-framed house, located at the foot of a hill in the downtown area was home to John G. Riley. Its mission, according to its website is “to discover, archive and illuminate the blended interrelationship of African American, Native American and European history and preserve African American landmarks and legacies throughout the State of Florida as an enduring public resource through tourism and education.”
Born into slavery in 1857, John Gilmore Riley was fortunate to become formally learned by attending public and private academic institutions. He became an educator, first working in Wakulla County. He moved to work at The Lincoln Academy, which was later known as Lincoln High School. There, he taught (1881-1892) and then was promoted to lead as its principal until his retirement (1892-1926). The academy was one of only three Freedmen schools in Florida to provide secondary education to African-Americans who had been enslaved and to their descendants.