Racism in Florida’s Panhandle Fueled Early Black Resistance

“Due to the outbreak of World War I, the promise of employment opportunities sparked another wave of rural migration to Pensacola. White newcomers outnumbered African Americans and accepted jobs considered undesirable a few years earlier. Only menial labor or domestic positions remained open to blacks, and 60 percent of Escambia County African Americans had no jobs at the decade’s end. Many simply left the area during the Great Migration in search for employment in the North, and white supremacy continued to permeate Northwest Florida. Throughout the decade, the Pensacola News Journal glorified the Confederacy, justified white supremacy, published cartoons and editorials that negatively stereotyped blacks, supported the Ku Klux Klan and sensationalized crimes that blacks allegedly committed.

Some African Americans responded to the increased anxiety by joining the Pensacola chapter of the NAACP, which was formed on June 15, 1919. It was Florida’s second local branch, and it enrolled seventy-three members in its first year of existence.”

Source: Beyond Integration: The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, 1960-1980 By J. Michael Butler The University of North Carolina Press, 2016 p. 21

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.

 

Happy Birthday Corrine Brown

 

On November 11, 1946, Corrine Brown was born in Jacksonville. She would go on to become an elected official representing that part of the state, first in the Florida Legislature and then more than two decades in the U.S. Congress.

Brown graduated from Florida A&M University, and she received a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Florida. In the Congress, she served as an advocate for improved veterans programs and several public works in projects, including the expansion and dredging of the Port of Jacksonville.

Brown
Brown

Throughout Brown’s long political career, both in the state legislature and in Washington, she has been recognized as a fighter on behalf of her constituents and colleagues. She aptly fit the mantra that marked her many campaigns: “Corrine Delivers.” As a lawmaker, she brought hundreds of millions of federal dollars back to communities throughout her district and the state of Florida.

Brown’s tenure as a public servant though was laced with controversy. She was recently indicted as she sought her 13th term in office. She lost her primary to former state Sen. Al Lawson, a popular politician from the western edge of her newly redrawn congressional district.

Sources: Office of U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia