SANFORD, Fla. —
In just the 17 months since the killing, Sanford has changed: The city, which is about one-third black, now has a black police chief and its first black city manager.
Before the shooting, Sanford was best known for its antiques shops and as the southern terminus for Amtrak’s Autotrain, which carries tourists and their cars between Florida and the Washington area.
The police department was heavily criticized for declining to charge Zimmerman at first, and he wasn’t arrested until 44 days after the shooting, by order of a special prosecutor.
But the distrust between Sanford’s city government and its black citizens predates the Martin case by several decades.
A large portion of the black community lives in Goldsboro, which was Florida’s second city incorporated by African-Americans when it was founded in 1891. Tensions were inflamed when an expanding Sanford annexed Goldsboro in 1911.