A Moment in ‘Future’ Florida History

By Douglas C. Lyons Wait! What? Gov. Rick Scott now wants the state Clemency Board to rewrite rules for restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have served their time and repaid their debt to society. Where was the governor’s zeal before a federal judge forced his hand? Before U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled that […]

Remembering a Florida Power Couple on Valentine’s Day

    By Douglas C. Lyons Here’s some Florida Black History that is appropriate to Valentine’s Day. It’s a love connection of some historic significance: the marriage of Abraham Lincoln Lewis and Mary Sammis. It was a very big deal in our state’s history. Lewis was born in 1865 and would grow up to become […]

Miami ‘Nightlife” Proved Tough for This Boxing Legend

    “Cassius struggled to get to sleep that first night. He later complained that the worst times of training in Miami were the lonely hours after dark. ‘I just sit here like a little animal in a box at night,’ he told a sportswriter in 1961. ‘I can’t go out in the street and […]

Florida’s First Black Congressman Leaves an Enduring Legacy

“Driven from public service by the same white supremacists he had conciliated while in office, Josiah T. Walls fought successfully to have public land set aside near Tallahassee for the establishment of a training school for black students. Initially known as the State Normal College for Colored Students, it later became the Agricultural and Mechanical […]

The Unexpected Becomes a Historic Appointment

  “During the interview, the governor never mentioned the historic nature of the appointment, but ‘of course, we both knew that.’ One thing the governor did ask, however, was whether I would be willing to run for office if appointed. “I knew that you had to run — I didn’t know when — but I […]

Florida’s ‘Grown Folks’ Black History Tour

  Second in a series of Florida “Black” Historic Marker Destinations CRESCENT CITY — Take the turn off US Highway 17  onto Eucalyptus Ave. and open the door to a glimpse of old Florida. A mix of modest wood-frame and brick houses dot the small lots in this black neighborhood, where strangers still get a […]

Florida’s ‘Grown Folks’ Black History Tour

  First of a Series of Florida’s “Black” Historic Marker Destinations SUMATRA — Long before the term came into being,  the”Negro Fort” was a sanctuary city. Built and later abandoned by the British, the outpost was home to runaway slaves fleeing Georgia and the Carolinas for a better life. It didn’t take long for white […]

Should Carver High School Site Be Preserved for History?

    DELRAY BEACH — The remains of the old Carver High School is another bit of Florida history involving its black citizens fading away to so-called progress. The school was once the city’s all-black high school. Jim Crow laws saw to that. The Palm Beach County School District wants to raze the site  due […]

High Rents Spark Protests in Fort Lauderdale

“Nathaniel Wilkerson, a black college graduate who could only find work as a chaffer, organized a mass meeting of over 400 tenants at a Fort Lauderdale Baptist church. He explained to the media, black community leaders and, later, city commissioners how the city’s colored tenants ‘ have no protection.’ Leases, when renters got them, were […]

Bombings Rock Miami Part 2

“White residents detonated a second batch of dynamite on November 30, [1951]. This one generated an explosion strong enough to toss hunks of concrete debris over 50 yards from the initial blast site, causing $22,000 in damage. Miraculously, no one had been killed in either the September or November attack. Local people nevertheless understood the […]