The Cunningham Funeral Home in Ocala documents the largest minority-owned business in Marion County, Florida. Brothers Albert and James Cunningham founded the company in 1955. As African-American morticians in Ocala from the 1950s through the 1980s, the brothers and their business document a colorful, professional life.
Part of the collection's significance is due to the fact that, until the 1970s, the only comprehensive listing of African-American communities in any Florida county is found in morticians' records. For instance, if a researcher wants to know where African-American churches and schools were located, that information can be found in the records. Morticians have been - and continue to be - the means of knowing what was happening in the community: they knew everyone, and they could give directions to houses in obscure locations. They were truly the heart of the community.
James Cunningham, who died in 1985, served as the first black city commissioner in Marion County for ten years. Albert Cunningham, who died in 2006, was highly respected and liked among family, friends and the community, and his influence continues to reach far beyond the borders of Marion County.
This digital collection includes funeral/burial records from the Cunningham Funeral Home Records. See the Finding Aid for more information.