Century-Old Segregation-Era Ordinances Repealed In Boynton Beach

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The City of Boynton Beach has voted to repeal some segregation-era ordinances.

It's a largely symbolic move, as the ordinances haven't been enforced in decades. They prohibited residents of the opposite race from entering certain areas at night.

"We had the negro district and we had the white district."

79-year old City Commissioner Woodrow Hay says he was around when these ordinances WERE enforced.

He tells CBS 12 News that the 'Black district' consisted of just a few blocks along what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, west of Federal Highway to what's now I-95.

Hay remembers when his relatives and neighbors had to make sure they were not caught in the 'white district' after 9 p.m.

“If you were, you were subjected to punishment, not excluding being harmed. Because I knew the back streets, I got away with it. Some made it. Some didn’t make it.”

Mayor Ty Penserga says that while it may be a part of the city's history, it's not its future.

“This is a time when our city, our state, and our nation is extremely divided. This sends a message that we want people to be part of the government. You’re part of the process. we’re going to stand with you 100%.”

The ordinances date back to 1924 and the city will hold a march on Saturday, retracing the steps of the Black community’s journey toward equal rights, beginning outside City Hall to Sara Sims Park. Afterwards, commissioners will burn paper copies of the ordinances.

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