Tag Archives: Donal Godfrey

This Week’s Story: Tip Top Tavern / Randall’s Ranch House Restaurant

Click below for this week’s story, or navigate the city through the direction buttons at the top of the page:

Before that night the Ku Klux Klan wore their hoods in for dinner, before somebody assaulted Randall Fleiss and stole his ivory, before Ron Pate initiated his “If you want to fight, you have to fight me” policy, Darryl Swearingen asked his mother if he could take a job washing dishes. The story of the Tip Top Tavern / Randall’s Ranch House Restaurant dates back almost a century.

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.”