front cover of African Americans in the Reconstruction of Florida, 1865-1877
African Americans in the Reconstruction of Florida, 1865-1877
Joe M. Richardson
University of Alabama Press, 2008

Exploration of African American contributions to the state of Florida during the era of Reconstruction

Despite their shortcomings, “radical” politicians, including African Americans, made worthy contributions to the state of Florida during the era of Reconstruction. Joe Richardson disputes many of the misconceptions about the state’s debt and corruption by exploring how some African American politicians were quite capable and learned their duties quickly. Even more remarkable was the rapidity with which the unlettered ex-slaves absorbed education and adjusted to their status as free men. African Americans in the Reconstruction of Florida delves into the problems encountered by the freed men and traces their successes and failures during the first decade after emancipation.

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After War Times
An African American Childhood in Reconstruction-Era Florida
T. Thomas Fortune
University of Alabama Press, 2014
Twenty-three autobiographical articles by noted African American journalist T. Thomas Fortune, comprising a late-life memoir of his childhood in Reconstruction-era Florida
 
T. Thomas Fortune was a leading African American publisher, editor, and journalist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who was born a slave in antebellum Florida, lived through emancipation, and rose to become a literary lion of his generation. In T. Thomas Fortune's “After War Times,” Daniel R. Weinfeld brings together a series of twenty-three autobiographical articles Fortune wrote about his formative childhood during Reconstruction and subsequent move to Washington, DC.
 
By 1890, Fortune had founded a predecessor organization to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, known as the National Afro-American League, but his voice found its most powerful expression and influence in poetry, prose, and journalism. It was as a journalist that Fortune stirred national controversy by issuing a passionate appeal to African American southerners: “I propose to start a crusade,” he proclaimed in June 1900, “to have the negroes of the South leave that section and to come north or go elsewhere. It is useless to remain in the South and cry Peace! Peace! When there is no peace.” The movement he helped propel became known as “the Great Migration.”
 
By focusing on Thomas’s ruminations about his disillusion with post–Civil War Florida, Weinfeld highlights the sources of Fortune’s deep disenchantment with the South, which intensified when the Reconstruction order gave way to Jim Crow–era racial discrimination and violence. Decades after he left the South, Fortune’s vivid memories of incidents and personalities in his past informed his political opinions and writings. Scholars and readers interested in Southern history in the aftermath of the Civil War, especially the experiences of African Americans, will find much of interest in this vital collection of primary writings.
 
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Against the Tide
Immigrants, Day Laborers, and Community in Jupiter, Florida
Sandra Lazo de la Vega and Timothy J. Steigenga
University of Wisconsin Press, 2013
Across the United States, the issue of immigration has generated rancorous debate and divided communities. Many states and municipalities have passed restrictive legislation that erodes any sense of community. Against the Tide tells the story of Jupiter, Florida, a coastal town of approximately 50,000 that has taken a different path.
    At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Jupiter was in the throes of immigration debates. A decade earlier, this small town had experienced an influx of migrants from Mexico and Guatemala. Immigrants seeking work gathered daily on one of the city’s main streets, creating an ad-hoc, open-air labor market that generated complaints and health and human safety concerns. What began as a local debate rapidly escalated as Jupiter’s situation was thrust into the media spotlight and attracted the attention of state and national anti-immigrant groups. But then something unexpected happened: immigrants, neighborhood residents, university faculty and students, and town representatives joined together to mediate community tensions and successfully moved the informal labor market to the new El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center.
    Timothy J. Steigenga, who helped found the center, and Lazo de la Vega, who organized students in support of its mission, describe how El Sol engaged the residents of Jupiter in a two-way process of immigrant integration and helped build trust on both sides. By examining one city’s search for a positive public policy solution, Against the Tide offers valuable practical lessons for other communities confronting similar challenges.
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Aiming for Pensacola
Fugitive Slaves on the Atlantic and Southern Frontiers
Matthew J. Clavin
Harvard University Press, 2015

In the decades before the Civil War, the small number of slaves who managed to escape bondage almost always made their way northward along the secret routes and safe havens known as the Underground Railroad. Offering a new perspective on this standard narrative, Matthew Clavin recovers the story of fugitive slaves who sought freedom by—paradoxically—sojourning deeper into the American South toward an unlikely destination: the small seaport of Pensacola, Florida.

Geographically and culturally, across decades of rule by a succession of powers—Spain, Great Britain, and the United States—Pensacola occupied an isolated position on the margins of antebellum Southern society. Yet as neighboring Gulf Coast seaports like New Orleans experienced rapid population growth and economic development based on racial slavery, Pensacola became known for something else: as an enclave of diverse, free peoples of European, African, and Native American descent. Farmers, laborers, mechanics, soldiers, and sailors learned to cooperate across racial lines and possessed no vested interest in maintaining slavery or white supremacy. Clavin examines how Pensacola’s reputation as a gateway to freedom grew in the minds of slaves and slaveowners, and how it became a beacon for fugitives who found northern routes to liberation inaccessible.

The interracial resistance to slavery that thrived in Pensacola in the years before the Civil War, Clavin contends, would play a role in demolishing the foundations of Southern slavery when that fateful conflict arrived.

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front cover of And They Were Wonderful Teachers
And They Were Wonderful Teachers
Florida's Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers
Karen L. Graves
University of Illinois Press, 2008
And They Were Wonderful Teachers: Florida's Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers is a history of state oppression of gay and lesbian citizens during the Cold War and the dynamic set of responses it ignited. Focusing on Florida's purge of gay and lesbian teachers from 1956 to 1965, this study explores how the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, commonly known as the Johns Committee, investigated and discharged dozens of teachers on the basis of sexuality.

Karen L. Graves details how teachers were targeted, interrogated, and stripped of their professional credentials, and she examines the extent to which these teachers resisted the invasion of their personal lives. She contrasts the experience of three groups--civil rights activists, gay and lesbian teachers, and University of South Florida personnel--called before the committee and looks at the range of response and resistance to the investigations. Based on archival research conducted on a recently opened series of Investigation Committee records in the State Archives of Florida, this work highlights the importance of sexuality in American and education history and argues that Florida's attempt to govern sexuality in schools implies that educators are distinctly positioned to transform dominant ideology in American society.

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front cover of The Anthropology of Florida
The Anthropology of Florida
Aleš Hrdlicka
University of Alabama Press, 2007
A fundamental work on the peopling of the Americas
 
This volume, originally published in 1922, constitutes the most complete summary of anthropological information on Florida up until that point. Not only does it consider all previous research on Florida archaeology, physical anthropology, and aboriginal history, it also contains Hrdlicka’s analysis of every human bone from Florida that he could find in collections. He made remarkably accurate observations about the general physical types of prehistoric Florida Indians and how they compared to native peoples of surrounding regions.
 
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front cover of Apalachicola Valley Archaeology, Volume 1
Apalachicola Valley Archaeology, Volume 1
Prehistory through the Middle Woodland Period
Nancy Marie White
University of Alabama Press, 2024

The definitive archaeological record and what is known or speculated about the ancient Apalachicola and lower Chattahoochee Valley region of northwest Florida, southeast Alabama, and southwest Georgia

In this meticulously researched volume, Nancy Marie White provides a major holistic synthesis of the archaeological record and what is known or surmised about the peoples of the Apalachicola and lower Chattahoochee Valley region of northwest Florida, southeast Alabama, and southwest Georgia. White transforms a neglected research area into a lively saga that spans the time of the first human settlement, around 14,000 years ago, through the Middle Woodland period, ending about AD 700.

White reveals that Paleoindian habitation was more extensive than once surmised. Archaic sites were widespread, and those societies persisted when the Ice Age ended 10,000 years ago. Pottery appeared in the Late Archaic period (before 4000 BP), and Early Woodland–period burial mounds demonstrate a flowering of religious and ritual systems. Middle Woodland societies expanded this mortuary ceremony, and the complex pottery of the Swift Creek and the early Weeden Island ceramic series show an increased fascination with the ornate and unusual. Yet, basic Native American lifeways continued with gathering-fishing-hunting subsistence traditions similar to those of their ancestors.

This volume and its companion form the definitive work on the Apalachicola–lower Chattahoochee Valley region for both scholars and general readers interested in Native Americans of the Southeast.

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front cover of Apalachicola Valley Archaeology, Volume 2
Apalachicola Valley Archaeology, Volume 2
The Late Woodland Period through Recent History
Nancy Marie White
University of Alabama Press
Apalachicola Valley Archaeology: The Late Woodland Period through Recent History, Volume 2, synthesizes the archaeology and history of the Native Americans, African Americans, and Euro-Americans of the Apalachicola–lower Chattahoochee Valley region of northwest Florida, southeast Alabama, and southwest Georgia from about 1300 years ago until the present. The region extends from Columbia, Alabama, to the Gulf of Mexico. It is culturally and environmentally distinct but little known archaeologically because it crosses historic political boundaries at the frontier.

Early chapters overview the environment and archaeology. Coverage then surveys time periods, from the Late Woodland to present. Topics include settlement, archaeological findings and material culture, subsistence and seasonality, history, sociopolitical systems, and peoples.

White’s prodigious work reveals that the prehistoric Late Woodland cultures who developed maize agriculture developed into Fort Walton chiefdoms. Post-invasion and Spanish and British colonization, these peoples were replaced by consolidated groups of Native American survivors and maroons moving around the region. These multiethnic societies with blended material cultures developed new identities, living at the edges of colonial territories. Creek societies, many becoming Seminoles, fought on all sides of European and American conflicts until most Indians were forcibly removed in the 1830s. Then the region became important for cotton, cattle, and timber, which were often produced by enslaved labor and transported by steamboat. Later expansion of agriculture and silviculture, as well as turpentine, tupelo honey, and other industries, left material evidence. The usefulness of the information to modern society is noted. Copious illustrations enhance the scientific analyses and the telling of the human stories.
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