New story: Sawyers Addition and Ritchieville

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The dogs would eat her and her brothers alive, she was sure, but their fear didn’t keep them off their roller skates.

Marian has done some digging into the city’s ugly history. She found that her childhood home was built in 1914, the same year Jacksonville hosted a major Confederate veterans’ reunion, which brought more than 48,000 Confederate veterans to the city’s celebrations.

While the sun room became her grandmother’s room, the “washer and dryer room” became her mother’s. This smallest space opened to the back yard directly.

 

New Story: Avon Apartments and Sam’s Grocery

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Amal recalls her grandfather fondly and considers the 111 year old boarding house an embodiment of Sam Al Hasan. “There’s so much happiness in that house,” she says. “There’s so much laughter and family togetherness and joy.”

Said the Times, “There are subs. There are heroes. There are hoagies, po’ boys and grinders. And in this port city, which has the country’s 10th largest Arab population, there are Camel Riders.”

When the Klan hid and sniveled in a courthouse bathroom

Click below for the seventh story in a series of seven about the KKK in Jacksonville. On June 13th, come to Coniferous Cafe in downtown Jax at 7 pm, to hear Tim Gilmore’s talk “The Klan in Jax: Its Repugnant Rise and Hysterical Collapse.

A wave of mostly black protesters, about 300 of them, marched against the Klan before Duval County Courthouse on Bay Street, chanting, “Who’s gonna stop the Klan? We’re gonna stop the Klan!”

A black protester named Rose Marie Seay had snatched the white hood off Royals’s head and was parading around on the street with it for cameras.

Klansmen hid in a back bathroom, upstairs in the courthouse. “‘They accused us of being racists,’ one said, wiping the sweat from his forehead with his shirttail.”

The Klan in Jax Politics, Story no. 6

Click below for the sixth story in a series of seven about the KKK in Jacksonville. On June 13th, come to Coniferous Cafe in downtown Jax at 7 pm, to hear Tim Gilmore’s talk “The Klan in Jax: Its Repugnant Rise and Hysterical Collapse.

Confederate generals like Nathan Bedford Forrest formed the KKK in Tennessee in the wake of the Civil War in 1866. A prominent Jacksonville attorney and Klansman had dubbed himself Nathan II in 1950.

Jacksonville would name another prominent bridge after Governor Fuller Warren, former Jacksonville City Councilman and Klansman. In 1949, Warren called the Klan “covered cowards and sheeted jerks,” but only after Jax Klansman and Baptist preacher A.C. Shuler outed Warren in a sermon as a Kluxer.

Klan Intimidation at St. Paul Lutheran Church, late 1950s

Click below for the fifth story in a series of seven about the KKK in Jacksonville. On June 13th, come to Coniferous Cafe in downtown Jax at 7 pm, to hear Tim Gilmore’s talk “The Klan in Jax: Its Repugnant Rise and Hysterical Collapse.

Kate Hallock, who edits Jax’s Resident Community News, was surprised to fall in love with Jax. Her father, the first full-time pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church on the Northside, left Jacksonville due to Klan threats in 1959.

James Bouman, a white pastor, had assumed responsibility at an all-black church, not knowing of increasing Klan activity in Jacksonville, especially on the rural Northside where his church was located.

Click below for the fourth story in a series of seven about the KKK in Jacksonville. On June 13th, come to Coniferous Cafe in downtown Jax at 7 pm, to hear Tim Gilmore’s talk “The Klan in Jax: Its Repugnant Rise and Hysterical Collapse.

For most of his life, he’d not realized the full traumatic effect of the Klan’s bombing of his childhood home as retaliation for his being the first black child to attend Lackawanna Elementary School.

Can anyone feel the brutality and tragedy in the landscape? Does the Klan’s hate and the Godfreys’ fear and sorrow and determination remain in the soil or the air or the trees? I can’t tell, because I can’t not know what happened here.

 

Klan in Jax, Part 3/7: J.B. Stoner’s Defense of the Klan

Click below for the third story in a series of seven about the KKK in Jacksonville. On June 13th, come to Coniferous Cafe in downtown Jax at 7 pm, to hear Tim Gilmore’s talk “The Klan in Jax: Its Repugnant Rise and Hysterical Collapse.

J.B. Stoner’s defense of the Klan in the case of bombing six year old Donal Godfrey’s house in Jacksonville was apt, for Stoner was no stranger to bombs. In 1980, he’d finally be convicted of bombing Birmingham’s Bethel Baptist Church in 1958.

He also served as defense attorney for the Klan after mass violence in St. Augustine.

Later he became the defense attorney for James Early Ray, the murderer of Martin Luther King, Jr.

When the Klan bombed a six year old’s home

Click below for the second story in a series of seven about the KKK in Jacksonville. On June 13th, come to Coniferous Cafe in downtown Jax at 7 pm, to hear Tim Gilmore’s talk “The Klan in Jax: Its Repugnant Rise and Hysterical Collapse.

Fifty-three years later, Donal Godfrey tells me from his home in Monrovia, Liberia, that if the family had been on the side of the house where the bomb detonated deep in the night, they’d be dead.

“It blew the refrigerator through the roof,” he says. “Not too many people have survived a Klan bombing. It’s an exclusive club.”

The Klan in Jax: the first story of seven

Click below for the first story in a series of seven about the KKK in Jacksonville. On June 13th, come to Coniferous Cafe in downtown Jax at 7 pm, to hear Tim Gilmore’s talk “The Klan in Jax: Its Repugnant Rise and Hysterical Collapse.

In the 1920s, when Stetson Kennedy saw his first Klan parade on Jacksonville’s Main Street and Willie Chappell saw the victims of lynchings hanging in the trees off Edgewood Avenue near New Kings Road, the Klan was at its zenith.

Eartha White, the NAACP, and affiliated activists compared notes and estimated that between 3,000 and 4,000 black voters had been terrorized from or outright denied the chance to vote in Duval County’s first post-19th-Amendment election.

Reverend A.C. Shuler, pastor of Jacksonville’s former Calvary Baptist Church, predicted the Klan would pick the next American president. Shuler outed Florida Governor Fuller Warren, former Jacksonville city councilman, as a former Klansman in a sermon.

New Story: The Jug, est. 1948, redneck rock, bullet holes

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There’s a bullet hole in the urinal.

Somebody says she’s come here so long she’s glad the walls can’t talk. Somebody says, “If this here parkin’ lot could talk, you’d need a goddam typewriter.” Somebody wonders how many virginities Lynyrd Skynyrd did away with at The Jug.