Tag Archives: Hansontown

New Story: Chaseville “Colored Settlement” / Fort Caroline Club Estates

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Little remains of the old “Chaseville Colored Settlement,” where the 1920 census placed America’s first black presidential candidate. Fortunately for his bones, George Edwin Taylor was buried elsewhere, because developers dug up the skeletons of the old black cemetery. Where former slaves of the region’s most prominent plantation families once came to live their lives free, real estate developers built “midcentury modern” Arlington. Poultry farms gave way to Geodesica. Click below for the full story.

When Jax Declared Its Center a “Slum Heart,” ‘Evil,” and Demanded Exorcism

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The deep baritone drips with condescension, festers with open sarcasm.

“This very plumbing, if you can dignify it with the name of plumbing, can bring disease and death into your home through the medium of your servants.”

“Come to think of it,” Slum Heart recalls, opportunistically, “that servant girl who comes to your house each morning […] Do you know where she goes at night?”

Hansontown Lies Beneath FSCJ’s Downtown Campus

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Hansontown lies beneath Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Downtown Campus, figuratively and, in part, literally.

When Florida Junior College consolidated its downtown locations into the new Downtown Campus in the late 1970s, it eliminated the last of Hansontown, a century-old neighborhood built for freed slaves and former U.S. Colored Troops.

Some FSCJ leaders now espouse views on urbanism much like those the college abandoned by building Downtown Campus.

The Clara White Mission Remains the Humanitarian Heart of Jax

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If the goodness, kindness, and mercy enacted in a particular building, on a certain quadrant of earth, can accrue across the years, then the Clara White Mission should be a pilgrimage site and 613 Ashley Street in LaVilla is sacred ground.

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At the turn of 1974, Eartha was the tiny, bird-like, Old-Testament-but-New-Testament saint at the center of town. She died in January. I was born in June. I so wish I could have met her.

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When I saw Eartha White look out at me from the open doors of Roosevelt Watson III’s major artwork, I saw her as I’d never seen her but also as she’d visited me, angelically and ghostly, when I’d most needed to find her before.

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