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AMH 2070: The History of Florida: Civil Rights
Resources from FSCJ Libraries and other online links for Florida History classes.
Harry T. Moore – first martyr of the modern civil rights movement (website connected with PBS documentary and book)
Langston Hughes wrote, and read publicly, the poem "The Ballad of Harry Moore", written posthumously in Moore's honor:
Florida means land of flowers
It was on a Christmas night.
In the state named for the flowers
Men came bearing dynamite ...
It could not be in Jesus' name
Beneath the bedroom floor
On Christmas night the killers
Hid the bomb for Harry Moore.
Ax Handle Saturday: 50 Years Later, is a WJCT documentary about the events of August 27, 1960 at Hemming Park in downtown Jacksonville. As you watch the
documentary, remember that before shopping malls, shopping occurred downtown. The major shopping destinations were Cohen’s Department (now City Hall), Sears, Woolworth’s, and Grants.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwBCOanoDS0
Civil Rights Movement at Flagler College’s Groveland
“Dare Not Walk Alone” is a 2006 documentary that chronicles civil rights protests in St. Augustine in 1964, and inequalities that continue to exist in the city today. It was written and directed by Flagler College alumnus Jeremy Dean, an artist whose pieces revolves around the central themes of social awareness and historic revelations.
“Dare Not Walk Alone” received numerous awards, a theatrical and TV release and special screenings at The King Center, the Skirball Center, and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Dean is the recipient of the Independent Southern Filmmakers Tour award and nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
The Committee – UCF video about the Johns Committee
About the Film
Fifty years ago, Florida’s Legislative Investigative Committee, led by Senator Charley Johns sought to remove homosexuals from Florida's state universities. As a result of the “Johns Committee’s” efforts, more than 200 gay and lesbian students and teachers were expelled or fired. Featuring two of the victims and one interrogator, the film exposes the committee’s subversive activities and how its effects are still felt today.
The film traces the committee's origins in the era of McCarthyism and anti-gay propaganda while detailing the personal stories of those intimately involved with its activities.
On August 27, 1960, more than 200 whites with ax handles and baseball bats attacked members of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP in downtown Jacksonville who were sitting in at white lunch counters protesting racism and segregation. Referred to as Ax Handle Saturday, "It was never about a hot dog and a Coke" chronicles the racial and political climate of Jacksonville, Florida in the late fifties, the events leading up to that infamous day, and the aftermath.
In Jim Crow Florida, a young black man's courageous fight to obtain equal rights for blacks ends in a personal tragedy that remains unsolved to this day. This is his story. Before Martin Luther King Jr. began to preach from his pulpit in Montgomery, before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, and before Rosa Parks' famous bus ride, a man named Harry T. Moore toiled in Jim Crow Florida on behalf of the NAACP and the Progressive Voters' League. For seventeen years, in an era of official indifference and outright hostility, the soft-spoken but resolute Moore traveled the back roads of the state on a mission to educate, evangelize, and organize. On Christmas night in 1951, in Mims, Florida, a bomb placed under his bed ended Harry Moore's life. His wife, Harriette, died of her wounds a week later. Although Florida's governor reopened the case in 1991, no one was ever convicted of this crime. Using previously unavailable FBI files, Green introduces his readers to the good and the bad, the villainous and the virtuous, in Jim Crow Florida. In doing so, he offers a poignant and gripping memorial to the pioneering work of Harry T. Moore, one of the earliest martyrs of the modern civil rights movement.
Devil in the Grove, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, is a gripping true story of racism, murder, rape, and the law. It brings to light one of the most dramatic court cases in American history, and offers a rare and revealing portrait of Thurgood Marshall that the world has never seen before. As Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns did for the story of America's black migration, Gilbert King's Devil in the Grove does for this great untold story of American legal history, a dangerous and uncertain case from the days immediately before Brown v. Board of Education in which the young civil rights attorney Marshall risked his life to defend a boy slated for the electric chair--saving him, against all odds, from being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR and THE WASHINGTON POST "Compelling, insightful and important, Beneath a Ruthless Sun exposes the corruption of racial bigotry and animus that shadows a community, a state and a nation. A fascinating examination of an injustice story all too familiar and still largely ignored, an engaging and essential read." --Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller Devil in the Grove, the gripping true story of a small town with a big secret. In December 1957, the wife of a Florida citrus baron is raped in her home while her husband is away. She claims a "husky Negro" did it, and the sheriff, the infamous racist Willis McCall, does not hesitate to round up a herd of suspects. But within days, McCall turns his sights on Jesse Daniels, a gentle, mentally impaired white nineteen-year-old. Soon Jesse is railroaded up to the state hospital for the insane, and locked away without trial. But crusading journalist Mabel Norris Reese cannot stop fretting over the case and its baffling outcome. Who was protecting whom, or what? She pursues the story for years, chasing down leads, hitting dead ends, winning unlikely allies. Bit by bit, the unspeakable truths behind a conspiracy that shocked a community into silence begin to surface. Beneath a Ruthless Sun tells a powerful, page-turning story rooted in the fears that rippled through the South as integration began to take hold, sparking a surge of virulent racism that savaged the vulnerable, debased the powerful, and roils our own times still.
"Judith Poucher's account of the resistance to the Johns Committee gives us the individual stories that characterize successful social protest movements. Situated between civil rights, Gay and Lesbian history, and the fight over academic freedom, this book weaves these difficult histories into a single narrative."--Robert Cassanello, author of To Render Invisible nbsp; "Looks at Florida's Johns Committee in a new way: through the lives and memories of Floridians affected by its persecutions in the 1950s. Their stories are inspiring, disturbing, and instructive."--Sarah H. Brown, author of Standing Against Dragons nbsp; "An important addition to the expanding body of scholarship on the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee. Readers will find intriguing the process by which 'ordinary citizens' championed integrity and conscience in the face of state oppression."--Karen L. Graves, author of And They Were Wonderful Teachers: Florida's Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers nbsp; "Readers will learn a great deal from the lives of these unsung but extraordinary people who refused to cower before this instrument of legislative terror."--Steven F. Lawson, author of Civil Rights Crossroads nbsp; The Johns Committee, a product of the red scare in Florida, grabbed headlines and destroyed lives. Its goal was to halt integration by destroying the NAACP in Florida and smearing integrationists. Citizens were first subpoenaed under charges of communist tendencies and later for homosexual or subversive behavior. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; Drawing on previously unpublished sources and newly unsealed records, Judith Poucher profiles five individuals who stood up to the Johns Committee. Virgil Hawkins and Ruth Perry were civil rights activists who, respectively, foiled the committee's plans to stop integration at the University of Florida and refused to divulge Florida and Miami NAACP records. G. G. Mock, a bartender in Tampa, was arrested and shackled in the nude by police but would not reveal the name of her girlfriend, who was a teacher. University of Florida professor Sig Diettrich was threatened with twenty years in prison and being "outed," yet he still refused to name names. Margaret Fisher, a college administrator, helped to bring the committee's investigation of the University of South Florida into the open, publicly condemning their bullying. nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp; By reexamining the daring stands taken by these ordinary citizens, Poucher illustrates not only the abuses propagated by the committee but also the collective power of individuals to effect change.