Bombings Rock Miami Part 1

“As a final form of community activism, a small cadre of Edison residents deployed more familiar means of expressing white power. They organized night riders around Carver Village, shouting warnings and epithets from moving cars in an attempt to expel black residents through intimidation.

Then, in the predawn hours of September 22, [1951], whites with training in explosives ignited over 300 pounds of dynamite outside of a vacant apartment at Carver Village. As far as 50 blocks away, Miamians felt conclusive waves from the blast, as the bomb shattered hundreds of windows and destroyed or damaged ten different rental units.”

Sources: A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida by N.D. B. Connolly, The University of Chicago Press, 2014, p. 1922; and “Tenants Ignore Threats in Miami,” Pittsburgh Courier, August 18, 1951; and “Group Seeks Evacuation of Carver Village Negroes,” Miami Herald, September 24, 1951; and Forbidden Neighbors: A Study of Prejudice in Housing by Charles Abrams, Harper & Brothers, 1955, p. 125

Florida’s Black Women Take the Lead in Voter Registration

“When African American women became eligible to vote, the Florida voter registration movement gained new life. To say African American women played a momentous role in the movement would be an understatement. From the time that four black women in Gainesville registered to vote on September 1, 1920, to the day of the election, black women were the movement.” 

Source: Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 by Paul Ortiz University of California Press, 2005, p. 187

Where Is Douglas C. Lyons Going with The ‘Florida Historic Marker Tour’?

5th Avenue: The Hub of West Settlers Historic District

Oh man! The season of warm weather is coming to an end, and so is the summer “Florida Historic Marker Tour” is coming up. Join us here at www.blackinfla.com on Thursday, August 24th for our sixth and final stop at a black historic destination. We hope you enjoyed the tour and actually learned something. — Douglas C. Lyons

Photo Credit: Douglas C. Lyons

 

Avery Act Overturned in Brief Victory for Blacks August 1

 

 

The general sentiment at the time was aptly summed up in the Pensacola Journal, located in one of the cities where blacks boycotted city streetcars in protest to the  Avery Act.

“Speaking not only from my own investigations but from the opinions of various leading members of the state bar, I am convinced that a grave judicial error has been committed by our supreme court. They have not, it seems to me, given the bill time and consideration due to it and most certainly, in my opinion, not leaned towards the merits of the law as against the interests of those resisting it.”

Sources: Pensacola Daily News “Negroes are Riding Again” August 1, 1905

 

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 their hotel and service jobs by Cubans really conducted themselves very well,’ Bryant argued. ‘I think under similar circumstances they might have been forgiven for a pretty violent reaction.'”

Sources: A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida by N.D.B. Connolly, The University of Chicago Press, 2014, p. 221; and “Unwelcome Guests,” Wall Street Journal, May 6, 1963; and Farris Bryant interview by Joe R. Frantz, March 5, 1971, 11, Civil Rights during the Johnson Administration, 1963-69, Part 3 — Oral Histories, Proquest Twentieth Century Black Freedom Struggles

Jim Crow and Public Housing in Miami

“As evidence of their success, the state of Florida received over $76 million in monies earmarked for welfare between January of 1949 and June of 1951. Not a dime of it went toward filling the nonmilitary public housing vacuum. In fact, thanks to white homeowner intransigence about the location of public housing sites, and landlord lobbying at both the state and municipal levels, no government housing would be built at all in Dade County between 1940 and 1954.”

Sources:  A World More Concrete: Real Estate and The Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida by N.D.B. Connolly, The University of Chicago Press, 2014, p. 189; and “Public Housing in Dade County: Statement of Non-federal Contribution,” RG 207, General Records of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Model Cities Reports, 1966-73, “Florida; FL 4 (part) – FL 5; Vol. 2, Part 1” filer, box 49, NARA.

The Sky’s the Limit for U.S. Air Force’s Daniel ‘Chappie’ James Jr.

 

“[Daniel] Chappie James made rapid progress in rank and status after Korea; he became a major in 1952 and a lieutenant colonel in 1956. Of the six black fighter pilots who would become generals by the time of James’ death in 1978 only Benjamin O. Davis Jr., had moved up more rapidly, in part because his promotions were facilitated by World War II and the U.S. Army Air Corps’ dependency on him, a West Point graduate, to command the segregated black fliers. In April 1953, Major James became the first black officer to command a fighter squadron in the American Defense Command, and all the pilots under him were white.”

Source: Black Eagle: General Daniel ‘Chappie’ James Jr. by James R. McGovern The University of Alabama Press, 1985 p. 69

Zora Neale Hurston Sets an ‘Old Cuss’ Straight

“The author Zora Neale Hurston spent several years in Miami collecting folklore and working as a domestic in the home of George Smathers’ father, Frank, a retired judge. In addition to helping Mrs. Smathers keep house, Zora regularly got into fiery exchanges with the family patriarch, routinely letting ‘the old cuss,’ Mr. Smathers, have it with both barrels.'”

Sources: Zora Neale Hurston: A Life of Letters, edited by Carla Kaplan, Random House, 2003, p. 631; and A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida by N.D.B. Connolly, The University of Chicago Press, 2014, p. 175