Tag Archives: Jim Crow

Black Masonic Temple

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What these walls have seen! Architects Mark and Sheftall began their own firm in 1912 and with a commission for the grandest building in black Jacksonville. The Black Masonic Temple formed the brick foundation of the black community.

Princess Laura Adorkor Kofi preached her “back to Africa” message here in the 1920s. Future Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Leander Shaw had his offices here in the 1960s. And the tunnels beneath Broad Street would offer protection if Florida’s massacres of black communities at Ocoee, Perry, and Rosewood should spread to Jacksonville. 

Confederate Park’s “In Memory of our Women of the Southland”

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She’s the embodiment of a Romantic concept called the Lost Cause. Her rhetorical strength, as an object of art, is that to stand before her and deny the Lost Cause lie is to look her in her loving and noble face and call her a liar before her tender children.

Unfortunately, for the Lost Cause Romantics, history documents the originating words of the Confederates.

Arlington and Lillian Roads: No ID Required

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Respectfully, Devonte Shipman asks, “What was it that we did wrong, Officer?” This kind of thing has happened to him before. This time, he’s recording it.

Officer J.S. Bolen says, “You crossed the crosswalk! Against the red hand!” He threatens to put him in jail, calls for backup, and tells Vonte that Florida requires its residents to carry an ID at all times.

As though Bolen understands time in neighborhoods deemed not worth time. As though Bolen understands his position as Vonte Shipman’s public servant.

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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