isaiah_washington_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE —­ An ongoing exhibit at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) in Fort Laurderdale showcases one year in the late 1940s when Northwest Fifth Avenue was a neighborhood that inspired generations of black families to succeed despite the crippling effects of racial segregation.

The exhibit allows visiors to walk down a crowded street filled with a wide variety of stores, a school and a home.

 You can journey through a historical time line of events, observe the tools used to work in the crop fields, inspect a real ice box used to keep food cool using blocks of ice, browse the shop windows to see artifacts on loan from members of the community and cool off in the Victory Theatre and watch film clips of the era.

 The exhibit opened in November 2011 and will run through October when the AARLCC will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Visitors have includede actor and author Isaiah Washington, who dropped in at the library during a visit to the area.

A series of events inspired by the theme of the “Fabulous Forties on the Avenue” accompanies the exhibit.

So far it has included performance of a play, Mangos, Guavas and Mullet,  highlighting the lives of black pioneers in Fort Lauderdale and concerts featuring the Dillard High School Jazz Band and the Parkway Middle School Jazz Band.

This month, school children have been writing essays on the topic, “1940s – A Decade of Change,” for a Library contest.

The “Fabulous Forties on the Avenue” exhibit is open during regular library hours: noon to 8 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every other day of the week.


The AARLCC, part of Broward County Libraries Division, is located at 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort
Lauderdale. For more information, call 954-357-2810.

Photo: COURTESY OF AARLCC

FABULOUS CAR: Actor and author Isaiah Washington is entranced with a vintage Lincoln Continental, one of the highlights of the Fabulous Forties on the Avenue exhibit now on display at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center.