Woodlawn Connection: The Dunlap family
The marker of Charlie Dunlap, Jr., World War II navy veteran, and Fort Lauderdale resident, found at Woodlawn Cemetery. Students (l-r) Jose Torruellas, Kevon Wright, and Anice Altema documents Charles Dunlap. Jr. tomb at Woodlawn Cemetery. (Photos By Roberto Fernandez, III)
By Anice Altema
While conducting historic preservation work at Fort Lauderdale’s Woodlawn Cemetery, students from Boyd H. Anderson High School’s History Across Broward Initiative, came across a couple of grave markers belonging to members of the Dunlap family.
After conducting some research students found out that the individuals buried at Woodlawn Cemetery are related to Boyd Anderson High School’s Band teacher, Mr. Nathaniel Dunlap, II. Wanting to learn more about his relatives that were buried in the Wood-lawn Cemetery, History Across Bro-ward students asked Mr. Dunlap to sit for an oral history interview. Mr. Dunlap arranged for his father, Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. to be interviewed in early February.
The Dunlap family has resided in Broward County since 1957 but they were originally from Thomasville, Ga. “We got tired of picking the cotton. So we came here.” Like many people during that time, Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. and his family moved to Broward to find better work. “I was about 18-years-old when that happened, so I had to come with them,” he said. As his first job, Mr. Dunlap worked at Zenoll’s Mattress & Bedding, which was on Sixth Street. Sixth Street was the main shopping area for African Americans in Broward County.
Like many Black children during that time, a great number of them would have to work during the day and then after-wards they would attend night school at Old Dillard. Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. also spoke about segregation and his experience during the civil rights movement and how there were certain roads which they were not allowed to cross.
During that time, African Americans were secluded into one area, which was between Sunrise and Broward Boulevard. African Americans were not allowed to go through downtown Fort Lauderdale. Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. also spoke about a time when he was denied service at a diner called Egg N’ You, “Black people couldn’t go in there. I mean, you could but they wouldn’t serve you.” When Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. went to pick up his bosses lunch at Egg N’ You Diner they would not acknowledge his presence and serve him. Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. said that “They would not serve me, so I went back, and my boss’ called them and sent me right back.”
When asked about his family that were buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery the Elder Dunlap spoke of his father, Charles Dunlap and uncle, Charlie Dunlap, Jr. who were buried there.
Mr. Dunlap also mentioned that he had relatives from his mothers’ side that were called the Ross’s that were also buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery, but they are not listed on the Memorial at Woodlawn. Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. was also asked if he knew of Dr. Sistrunk and we were astonished when his son, Nathaniel Dunlap, II interjected and said, “He actually delivered me,” in which Nathaniel Dunlap, Sr. nodded in agreement.
HISTORY ACROSS BROWARD NEEDS YOUR HELP.
If you have information about a family member or friend buried at Woodlawn Cemetery and would like to help please contact the students at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the club advisor Roberto Fernandez at (754) 322-0200.