Welcome to Florida’s Most Inaccessible Historic Site

By Douglas C. Lyons SUMATRA — Florida’s “Negro Fort” isn’t likely to jump off the pages of any slick travel brochure. For a state that prides itself on tourism, this historic landmark is pretty much a forgotten, relic, lost to both isolation and general ignorance. Today, the remains of the old  ‘Negro Fort’  can be […]

For Blacks, the Florida Territory Becomes More Hell than Paradise

  “By the 1850s, black people in Florida had to belong to someone or have a white benefactor to vouch or their integrity and obedience. Key West passed an ordinance prohibiting all blacks — slave or free — from walking the streets after dark. The discrimination against free blacks in Key West became so oppressive […]

Cuban Migration Overwhelms Blacks in South Florida

“No less a friend of ‘the Negro’ than [Florida] Gov. Farris Bryant, LeRoy Collins’ successor and an unapologetic segregationist, conceded that the state had failed black Americans, especially when comparing black people’s experience to the sustained welcome granted Cubans. ‘I think the Negro people in Miami and surrounding areas who were being booted out of […]

Florida’s Grown Folks Black History Tour Honors Zora Neal Hurston

  By Douglas C. Lyons SAINT AUGUSTINE — The legendary Zora Neale Hurston and the town of Eatonville, are almost inseparable. Eatonville is  one of the nation’s oldest all-black townships and the literary, if not spiritual, home of Ms. Hurston. But, you won’t find a state historic marker erected in Ms.Hurston’s honor in the town […]

How Morehouse College Shaped This Floridian

      “Our manhood, and that of our fathers, was denied on all levels by white society, a fact insidiously expressed in the way black men were addressed. No matter what his age, whether he was in his burgeoning twenties or full of years, the black man was never referred to as ‘mister,’ nor […]

Florida’s ‘Grown Folks’ Black History Month Tour

Fourth in a series of Florida “Black” Historic Marker Destinations By Douglas C. Lyons ROSEWOOD — On January 1, 1923, this enclave of modest houses and small businesses in Levy County, came to an end. Today, the only reminder of its existence is a historic marker along State Road 24 just outside of Cedar Key. […]

Do You Remember That Fight in Miami Beach?

  This week — Sunday actually — 54 years ago, a young boxer from Louisville, Ky. made history in Miami Beach. Cassius Clay, a 7-1 underdog, beat then heavyweight champ Sonny Liston in a unanimous decision. The fight was among the most anticipated, watched and controversial matches in boxing. Few expected the upset. At the […]

Florida’s ‘Grown Folks’ Black History Month Tour

Third in a series of Florida “Black” Historic Marker Destinations By Douglas C. Lyons SAINT AUGUSTINE — The city’s Lincolnville neighborhood should be a ‘must’ stop on every visitors’ trip to America’s oldest city. It’s a picturesque section of town, located just south of the famed historic district. The fact that it is also Saint […]

Protests for Rights Occurred Long Before the Civil Rights Movement

    “Many years later, the people would stand up to water hoses and sheriff’s dogs to be treated as equal. But for now the people resisted in silent, everyday rebellions that would build up to a storm at midcentury. Rocks stuffed into cotton sacks in Mississippi at weighing time. The ‘Colored Only’ signs pulled […]

A Different Take on the Rosewood Massacre

    “The white press depicted Rosewood as a riot stemming from the familiar poisonous root of sexual assault, exacerbated by Negroes with guns. But the black press cast the fighters of Rosewood as heroes. The New York Age compared the incident to recent acts of self-defense in Chicago where ‘the Negro was not afraid […]