Take the Florida Black History Challenge

Francisco Menéndez
Francisco Menéndez

Think you know something about black history in Florida. Well, take this quiz, and let’s see what you’ve got under the cap. It’s only 10 questions, and the chance to learn more. 

— Douglas C. Lyons, founder of www.blackinfla.com.

 

1.) Name the first black man to step foot on Florida soil?

a.)  Juan Carolos

b.)  Juan Garrido

c.)  Juan de la Santadimingo

d.)  Juan Ortega

2.) What was an early destination on the Underground Railroad?

a.)  Fort Mose

b.)  Fort Myers

c.)  Key West

d.) Negro Fort

3.) Zora Neale Hurston lied about her age to get an education?

a.) True

b.) False

4.) Name the Floridian who would earn the nickname ‘The Admiral.’

a.)  Guion Buford

b.)  David “Chappie” James

c.)  James Perry

d.)  David Robinson

5.) What black Oscar winner was born in Florida?

a.)  Cuba Gooding Jr.

b.)  Hattie McDaniel

c.)  Butterfly McQueen

d.)  Sidney Poitier

6.) Name the city that boasts Florida’s first black man and woman to state Legislature in the modern era.

a.)  Jacksonville

b.)  Key West

c.)  Miami

d.)  Orlando

7.)  Who was called the ‘first martyr’ of the Civil Rights Movement?

a.)  Medgar Evers

b.)  Martin Luther King

c.)  Harry T. Moore

d.)  Juliette Hampton Morgan

 

8.) What was the name of the school that would become Bethune Cookman University?

a.)  Bethune Cookman College

b.)  Cookman Institute

c.)  Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls

d.)  Daytona Normal & Industrial Institute

9.) Who are the Mascogos?

a.)  Front line of the 1984 Florida State University football team

b.)  Descendants of the Black Seminoles

c.)  Name of inhabitants of the Negro Fort

d.)  Nickname for black soldiers in the Battle of Olustee

10.) In what Florida city did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wage a campaign against states rights?

a.)  Jacksonville

b.)   Miami

c.)   St. Augustine

d.)   Tallahassee

 

 

THE ANSWERS:

1.)    B.  — Juan Garrido, a conquistador born in Africa, is the first black man to set foot in Florida and the New World in 1513 when and an expedition that included Juan Ponce de Leon first set foot on what would be the Sunshine State.

2.)    A.  — Fort Mose, just outside of St. Augustine, became a destination for runaway slaves from the American colonies when Florida was Spanish territory.

3.)    A.  —  True. Zora dropped 10 years off her age as a young woman in Baltimore to qualify for a scholarship and a chance to pay for a college education.

4.)    D. —  David Robinson, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and star in the National Basketball Association with the San Antonio Spurs, was born in Key West.

5.)    D. —  Sidney Poitier who won an Oscar for his role in Lillies of the Field, was born in Miami.

6.)    C. —  Miami residents elected Joe Lang Kershaw in 1968 and Gwen Sawyer Cherry two years later in 1970.

7.)    C  — If there were a title of “First Civil Rights Movement Martyr,” it would belong to Harry T. Moore, a schoolteacher who founded the NAACP Florida State Conference and among other things organized campaigns to register black voters and raise black teacher salaries  during the 1940s.

8.)    C.  — In 1904, Mary McLeod Bethune opened the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Girls. Subsequent growth and mergers would lead to  university status and the 2007 re-naming, Bethune Cookman University.

9.)    B — These Seminole Indians descendants live in Mexico and remain in close contact with Black Seminoles in Texas.

10.)  C — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. launched a campaign in St. Augustine to draw attention to opponents of civil rights.

So, how did you do? If you scored:

8 to 10 —  You know your stuff! Congratulations.

6 to 8 —    You obviously cracked a book or two.

4 to 6 —    Need more black history in Florida schools.

0 to 3 —    ‘Flori-duh!’ C’mon. You can do better.

 To learn more history, check out www.blackinfla.com.

 

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 friendly wave from people passing the time sitting on their front porches.

A. Phillip Randolph

Turn the clock back to 1891, when opportunities beyond framework, fishing and work at the nearby sawmill were limited, and it’s easy to see why the Rev. James Williams Randolph, a minister and tailor, moved his family to Jacksonville. For the minister’s second son, the move would be significant — for the nation.

A. Phillip Randolph would go on to lead the nation’s first predominantly black labor union — The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. As a civil rights leader, he helped shape a movement that ultimately ended legal racial segregation in the United States, The recognition of his birthplace is one of the estimated 80 state historic markers that designate Florida’s rich black history.

In the late 1800s, Jacksonville was the black mecca of the South. At the time,  black professionals like the Randolphs could thrive in a community that boasted of prominent black businesses and a growing black arts and cultural scene. It was here that young Asa Phillip Randolph learned from his father that conduct and character often made more of an impression on others than skin color.

A. Phillip Randolph would eventually leave Florida altogether and make a name for himself as a labor leader and civil rights icon. He founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the influential black labor union, and he became a leader in the civil rights movement, organizing not one but two “marches” on Washington.

Crescent City hasn’t changed much from the days when Randolph’s father led Sunday services at a church not far from Randolph’s home. Nestled between two lakes about 23 miles south of Palatka, this community shows no signs of the population boom and development that have fueled other parts of the state.

Yet, the citizens of this Central Florida town recognized Randolph’s historical significance. Town leaders worked with historians and state officials to name a street after the civil rights leader and erected a state historic marker along the street where Randolph was born and spent the first two years of his life.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Let’s Do a Better Job Cherishing Florida’s Black History

 

By Douglas C. Lyons

Douglas C. Lyons

I consider myself one of the fortunate ones. I had the chance to celebrate my very own Black History Month moment this February. I wish others could have that same experience.

My aunt, Juanita Lark, was the first black graduate of Goshen College, and the school decided to honor her this month by renaming its welcoming center the “Juanita Lark Welcome Center.” My family thought that was pretty cool, especially for a predominantly white school in Indiana.

My aunt graduated in 1943. She was pretty much by herself as the only “Negro” in a Mennonite college located in rural Goshen, Indiana. I can’t imagine doing what my aunt did — leaving Washington, D.C. for a college education in a very far away place and a very different culture.

But, my aunt did, and went on to establish a successful teaching career in the city of Chicago. Members of my family enjoyed the celebration, and it was just that — a celebration.

My wish for black folk in Florida is to learn and cherish their state’s rich cultural roots. Bowlegs, Harry T. Moore, James Weldon Johnson, T. Thomas Fortune, Josiah Walls and Daniel “Chappie’ James are just a few of the black Floridians who grace our nation’s history books but whose accomplishments risk being lost to history. Shouldn’t happen, folks.

There’s more to Florida’s Black history than what many residents in the Sunshine State see or know.  Let’s do better in cherishing it next February.

Douglas C. Lyons is the founder of www.blackinfla.com.