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33407 “Black” History Memoirs
The Odum Family


Left to right: Charlotte Price Leonard, Michael R. Odum, Sr., Angela Reed Odum, Alexandria Owens Anders, Linda Odum Palmer, Debra Odum Price, and Andrew Price. (Photo Credit: Karina Ramírez)

By Michael R. Odum, Sr.

My grandparents Charley and Addie Bell Odum moved to the West Palm Beach, Pleasant City Neighborhood in the early 1940’s where they raised four children—three boys; Wille Lee, George, Reginald, and one daughter, Ollie Mae. The Odum family quickly became entrepreneurs in the local area.  My grandfather and grandmother were the owners of a small convenience store on the corner of 20th Street and Contentment Avenue, which is now known as A.E. Isaacs Avenue. Additionally, for over a 30-year period my uncle Willie Lee, as well as my aunt Carrie owned and operated a local dry cleaner in the Pleasant City community by the name of World Cleaners. As the businesses began to grow, the Odum family also began to diversify their business ventures and became proprietors of a Bar and Grill in another historical African American neighborhood located in the Tamarind Avenue area. The family established other local area business ventures and became owners of several real estate properties in Pleasant City and other surrounding areas.

Photos provided by The Odum Family.

Charley and Addie Bell had 10 grandchildren from their four children. Today, seven of their grandchildren live in the local West Palm Beach commuting area and another grandchild lives in the state of South Carolina. In 1995, the fourth oldest grandchild, Michael Odum became involved in several Pleasant City community initiatives and served as Vice President of the Pleasant City Community Development Board, whose mission was to build single-family homes in the Pleasant City Neighborhood for first-time homebuyers. Michael is still currently involved in community initiatives in Pleasant City and local community neighborhoods, serving as Director of Community Relations for the West Palm Beach Housing Authority. To date, Michael’s leadership has been very instrumental in the building of 13 buildings, 128 units of low-income rental workforce housing, 34 townhomes, and 12 single-family homes, which are a part of Pleasant City now known as Merry Place Estates. He is also actively involved in the Early Childhood Leadership Collaborative which provides opportunities for key stakeholders to collaborate and implement strategies that address kindergarten readiness at Pleasant City Elementary School and other targeted schools.


Lastly, it is important to note that the Odum family still owns properties in the Pleasant City neighborhood that were previously owned by our deceased grandparents.

This story is part of 33407 "Black" History Memoirs, a 2023-2024 Project in celebration of Black History Month. View other stories here.

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