Matheson Presents “Union Academy and Friends” with Fred Awbrey

Press release from the Matheson History Museum

Thursday, December 2, 2021
7 p.m. – Free In-Person and Virtual Program

The Matheson History Museum is pleased to welcome back local historian Alfred Awbrey to share his research into the fate of the buildings that once housed Union Academy, Gainesville’s first school for African Americans. Using original archival research, Mr. Awbrey will reveal details about Union Academy, the Carver Library, and the recreation centers that once occupied the block but have been lost for nearly 75 years.

For the safety of staff and attendees, capacity will be limited to 50 people and masks are required. Admission is free but registration is required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/union-academy-and-friends-tickets-196080621417

A virtual option via Zoom is available for those who cannot attend in person: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ubhd98rATCGfevy8Y_Gmmg

Fred Awbrey

A Gainesville native, Fred Awbrey was born at Alachua General Hospital and graduated from Gainesville High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in arts and teaching at Jacksonville University.

Fred is also a longtime musician – he played in school bands and the Gator Marching Band, and currently plays with the all-volunteer Santa Fe Brass Band. After graduating from UF, he began his teaching career in Orange Park. He taught band for 16 years at Orange Park Junior High and then taught eighth grade American history for 20 years. He also coached girls’ softball and worked as the announcer for the football games.

After retirement he moved back to Gainesville and became a volunteer at the Matheson History Museum assisting in the research library. His passion for local history began with researching the history of local high school football teams. The Matheson’s 2018 exhibition “Gators and Beyond: A Sports History of Alachua County” was based on his research. Now Fred is focusing on Union Academy, the first public school for Black students in Gainesville, and other buildings in that area that have been lost to time.

This program is sponsored in part by Visit Gainesville/Alachua County, FL and by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of the Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.

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