On May 10, Betsy DeVos and I went to the graduation ceremony at Bethune Cookman University, a historically black college in Daytona Beach, Fla. Betsy got up on stage to give her speech and was immediately, loudly booed by the entire audience. Graduating students and their families stood up and turned their backs to her. I was seated onstage and watching this travesty unfold. When the booing started, she should have wrapped it up, but she went on for twenty minutes, talking over the booing. I was thinking, It’s not about you. Abandon your full speech! Adjust woman! I love HBCUs so much, and to be on stage with her to see the entire auditorium of students and parents booing her, in effect, booing Trump and the administration, was painful to experience.
I asked her later on how she felt about what happened. She said, “I did great!” I must have looked stunned. She said, “They don’t get it. They don’t have the capacity to understand what we’ve accomplished.” Meaning, all those black students were too stupid to understand her agenda. I said, “Oh, no, Madam Secretary. They get it. They get it, and they’re not happy with you or your goals.”
“White residents detonated a second batch of dynamite on November 30, . 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 attacks in the context of violence elsewhere on the globe, renaming Carver Village ‘Little Korea.’
The project’s developers used the event to shore up the point that private capital was always friend to ‘the Negro.’ John Bouvier condemned the bombing as ‘a dastardly act of professional murderers,’ and vowed to use the powers of his dollars to counteract the blatant racism he had witnessed in South Florida’s housing market over the previous decade.”
Source: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. 193
“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, , 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
“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.”
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
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
“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.
“[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.”