Tag Archives: Hank Aaron

When Artis Gilmore Led a Whole City to the NCAA Championship

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In 1970, Jacksonville University marched toward the NCAA championships, David v. Goliath, and enraptured its city in the process. Sports Illustrated called JU a “transformed junior college” and Jax the urban heart of the Okefenokee Swamp. The first page of the yearbook caught the front of one shoe, nothing more: Artis Gilmore stood 7’2″, but some added six inches for his afro.

When Governor Claude Kirk Hopped the Fence and Took the Mic from “Black Power Agitator,” H. Rap Brown

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This ballpark has been the heart of Durkeeville for more than a century. It was Jacksonville’s municipal baseball stadium until 1954. The Negro Leagues played here. Hank Aaron “integrated” the Jacksonville Braves and won MVP, 1953.

White people had lots of guns and white cops all had guns, so black people! should get guns too. So said H. Rap Brown, who bridged the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to the Black Panthers.

Claude Kirk, 36th governor of Florida, Jax insurance salesman, hopped the fence at Durkee Field, tromped toward the pitcher’s mound, and snatched the mic from H. Rap Brown.