Fort Mose: North America’s First Free Black Community

“In February of 1739, Florida Governor Manuel de Montana built a coastal fortress a few miles north of St. Augustine. He invited free blacks to populate it; Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, more commonly known as Fort Mose, was the first free black community in North America. Spain did its best to make […]

The Political Rise of Josiah T. Walls

“For [Josiah] Walls, the entrance into Florida politics had proved auspicious. In Alachua County he had established a firm power base and had indeed become a force in Florida, at least as a spokesman for his race. Because he could advance no farther in state circles, it seemed natural that he would in time set […]

Seminole and Seminole Negro: Separate but Not Equal

  “The most telling measure of the very real division between the Seminole and the Seminole Negro was the separation of their villages. There was always space — a mile, two miles — between them. Put simply, the Seminole Negro were  considered allies, but not blood kin. The Seminoles clearly felt themselves to be superior.” […]

Another Must Read for Any Serious Fan of Florida Black History

By Douglas C. Lyons No serious fan, student or advocate of black history in the Sunshine State should be without Florida’s Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida Government. Susan A. MacManus book is a must for anyone who’s serious about the subject —  period, end of story. Disguised as a […]

Who Really Knows White People?

“I believe it to be a fact that the colored people of this country know and understand the white people better than the white people know and understand them.” — James Weldon Johnson Source: The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson; First Library of American Paperback Classics, 2011 p. 16

A Woman’s Place Is in the House

  “What’s a nice lady like you doing up here? Wouldn’t you rather be home with the kids?” — Questions from male colleagues to Gwen Cherry, the first African American woman elected to the Florida House of Representatives. Source: Florida’s Minority Trailblazers: The Men and Women Who Changed the Face of Florida Government  by Susan […]

‘Oops!’ Being Mistaken for White

“In thus traveling about through the country, I was sometimes amused on arriving at some little railroad station town to be taken for and treated as a white man, and six hours later, when it was learned that I was stopping at the house of the colored preacher or school teacher, to note the attitude […]

How the One Florida Sit-In Started

“We ended up getting a meeting with [Lt. Gov.] Frank Brogan — this was the day before Governor [Jeb Bush] was releasing his budget. Frank said, ‘Ok, you know, we’re going to talk about education issues.’ I said, ‘Well, I really want to talk to the Governor about One Florida.’ ‘Oh, the Governor’s working on […]