Muck City (shared with nearby Belle Glade, Florida)
|• Mayor||Keith W. Babb, Jr. (D)|
|• Total||5.32 sq mi (13.77 km2)|
|• Land||5.32 sq mi (13.77 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||13 ft (4 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,188.15/sq mi (458.74/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0288376|
Pahokee's residents, according to the 2010 Census, are 56% African-American; almost all the rest are Mestizo or American Indian, primarily Mexicans or descendants of Mexicans. In 2018, the Mayor, Kenneth W. Babb, and the other four members of the City Commission are all African-American.
Pahokee was incorporated in 1922. The name "Pahokee" means "grassy waters" in the Creek language. Local residents refer to Pahokee as "The Muck", which signifies the mineral-rich dark soil in which sugar cane, citrus fruits, and corn are grown by agribusinesses. In the 1930s, it was known as the "Winter Vegetable Capital of the World".
Pahokee was founded on the produce grown in the muck, the fertile bottom of the Everglades after part of it was drained in the early 20th century. In 1939, the Federal Writers' Project guide said of Pahokee: "From Christmas until April, Pahokee is a 24-hour town; long trains of refrigerated cars roll out for northern markets day and night." "The streets are noisy and crowded; bars, restaurants and gambling places are never closed."
As a result, it is one of two Palm Beach County cities—the other is South Bay—on a list of 13 Florida municipalities in "a state of financial emergency."[when?] Records[which?] suggest it has been on the list continually since 1994. Unemployment exceeds 25%. Taxable property values dropped from about $99 million in 2007 to $66 million in 2014. A fifth of the population has migrated in the past 15 years. Dissolution of the city has been proposed.
On November 15, 1996, the old Pahokee High School building, built in 1928, was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Everglades Regional Medical Center
Everglades Regional Medical Center, at 200 S. Barfield Highway was founded in 1936 as Everglades General Hospital; the current building opened in 1950. The 63-bed general hospital, financially nonviable, closed in 1998 after years of contention, a change from public to private ownership, and three lawsuits.
Glades Health Care Center
Adjacent to the former hospital, at 230 S. Barfield Highway, is Glades Health Care Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility, with about 70 full-time employees.
Pahokee belongs to the School District of Palm Beach County.
- Pahokee Elementary School, 560 East Main Place (grades pre-K–5). Enrollment: 375 (2015). Pahokee Elementary School is an IB (International Baccalaureate) school. Enrollment is 63% black, 35% Hispanic, 1% white, 1% other. 96% are from low-income families.
- K. E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary School, 37000 Main Street, Canal Point (grades K–5). Enrollment: 329. The racial makeup of the student body is 69% black, 29% Hispanic, 2% white. 99% of the students are from low-income families.
- Pahokee Middle–High School, 900 Larrimore Rd. (grades 6–12). Enrollment: 857 (2015). Enrollment is 68% black, 39% Hispanic, 2% white, 1% other. 93% are from low-income families.
- Pahokee High School is best known for its football program that consistently ranks among the state's best. Pahokee, together with nearby rival Belle Glade, with whom it competes each year in the "Muck Bowl", has "sent at least 60 players to the National Football League". "In Muck City, football is salvation, an escape from the likelihood of prison or early death." "Football is the chief subject taught at Pahokee High," a town historian wrote in 1963. In 2014 five former Blue Devils were in the NFL, the second most from any high school in the country.
- Glades Academy, 7368 State Road 15 (grades K–8). Enrollment: 195 (2015). Enrollment is 72% black, 18% Hispanic, 9% white, 1% other. 97% are from low-income families.
- Everglades Preparatory Academy, 380 East Main St. (grades 9–12). Enrollment: 106 (2016). (There is another, unrelated Everglades Preparatory Academy in Homestead, Florida.) Enrollment is 92% black, 6% Hispanic, 2% white. 90% are from low-income families.
- The Shepherd's School, 1800 Bacom Point Road, a Christian school (grades K–12). Enrollment: 71 (2016).
- G.A.P Christian Academy, 183 S Lake Ave. (K-12 Education)
Miracle Village, founded by a minister, offers a small residential community for registered sex offenders, who sometimes have great difficulty in finding housing, or are homeless (see Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony), because of Florida's strict regulations limiting where sex offenders can live. It is located about 3 miles east of Pahokee, on Muck City Road, in a former migrant worker facility, surrounded by sugar cane fields. This helps the offenders better integrate into society and not be a burden or commit further crimes in order to survive after serving their time mandated by the state and being released with little or no assistance from the Department of Corrections.
Pahokee in the media
On December 18, 2009, Damien Cave, Miami Bureau Chief of the New York Times, wrote an article describing Pahokee's economic plight and the town's hopes that a new marina project might help rejuvenate business. There has been a significant move towards regeneration with the re-opening of the Pahokee Marina Tiki Bar and Restaurant now known as 'Pahokee Mo's' and new Dollar General store. Governor Rick Scott also pledged $1.3 million towards the restoration of Pahokee's infrastructure in late 2014. This is in addition to $200,000 pledged by Senator Abruzzo in 2014.
Creative arts about Pahokee
Chasing Rabbits (2008)
A short by Aaron Kyle. Rabbit hunting as running training for would-be football players. Famous Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden makes a cameo appearance. Days after its release it was shown on ESPN, and an Adidas commercial was made using footage from it.
See under Miracle Village (community)#Banished
Murder of a Small Town (2015)
- "James Patterson headed west to ask 'What the hell happened here?' in the PBS documentary that examines unemployment, crime, drugs and high school football in “Murder of a Small Town." The documentary deals with Belle Glade as well as Pahokee.
Pahokee Florida 2015
- Pahokee Florida 2015 is an aerial view of the town and surrounding area, without narration. It is available on YouTube.
The Send-Off (2016)
- The Send-Off, a 12-minute short by Patrick Bresnan and Yvette Lucas, called an "intimate portrait" of Pahokee, was shown at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. "Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enter the night with the hope of transcending their rural town and the industrial landscape that surrounds them." Along with others it was nominated for, it won three awards in 2016: the Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary Short at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Grand Jury Prize - Special Mention, Live Action Short at the American Film Institute's AFI Fest, and the Grand Jury Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
The Rabbit Hunt (2017)
- The Rabbit Hunt, another short by Patrick Bresnan and Yvette Lucas. It differs from Chasing Rabbits in its approach to the topic, although the action scenes are similar. The rabbits are driven out of the sugar cane fields by the harvesting machinery, or by smoky, slow-moving fires (humidity is high) deliberately set after harvest to clean up leaves and other waste. The emerging rabbits are killed with clubs, gutted, skinned, cooked, and eaten, or sold to others as meat. Rabbits are a food source for a very poor community; the atmosphere has been called "primitive". "In the Florida Everglades rabbit hunting is a rite of passage for young men, practiced since the early 1900s. The Rabbit Hunt follows a family as they hunt in the fields of an industrial sugar farm." Everyone who appears in the film is African-American. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, and won the award of Outstanding Non-fiction Short in the Cinema Eye awards of the Museum of the Moving Image.
Second Chance Sex Offenders (2018)
- Pahokee is a full-length (110 min.) feature from Bresnan and Lucas. It was shown at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The description of its content is: "In the rural town of Pahokee, four teenagers experience the joys and heartbreaks of their last year in high school. This tightly knit community in the Florida everglades struggles with financial insecurity and pin their hopes for the future on their graduating seniors."
Bresnan and Lucas are also the makers of Roadside Attraction (2017), which focuses on observers of former President Trump's plane, when it visited Palm Beach International Airport.
America Is Hard to See (play, 2018)
See under America Is Hard to See (play).
Naked Came the Florida Man (2020)
As of 2018, there are no active local media in Pahokee.
Pahokee's most recent local newspaper was A Better Pahokee, a free digital e-newspaper, founded in 2013 by Jessie Tsang and Minister Freddie Lee Peterkin. It ceased issuing new material in 2016.
There are no radio stations in Pahokee. In nearby Belle Glade, there is WSWN Sugar 900, a gospel station, and WBGF, which simulcasts the programming of WZFL (Islamorada, Florida), a dance music station. There are three additional stations in Clewiston, Florida.
Pahokee is located at (26.824717, -80.659660).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.4 square miles (14 km2), all land.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,985 people, 1,710 households, and 1,328 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,109.4 inhabitants per square mile (428.7/km2). There were 1,936 housing units at an average density of 358.9 per square mile (138.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 25.21% White 56.06% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 15.20% from other races, and 2.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 29.46% of the population. Whites not of Hispanic origin made up 13.6% of the populace.
There were 1,710 households, out of which 44.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 22.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.3% were non-families. 18.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.35 and the average family size was 3.79.
In the city, 38.4% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.3% were aged 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,731, and the median income for a family was $26,265. Males had a median income of $28,859 versus $20,066 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,346. About 29.4% of families and 32.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.9% of those under age 18 and 32.0% of those age 65 or over.
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- Alphonso Smith, NFL cornerback, Detroit Lions
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- Vincent Smith, running back, University of Michigan
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- Andre Waters, defensive back, Philadelphia Eagles
- Damon Lazar Weaver, youngest person to interview a sitting President of the United States when, at the age of eleven, he interviewed Barack Obama in 2009.
- Riquna Williams, basketball player, University of Miami and WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks
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The Pahokee native
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