Tag Archives: Ku Klux Klan

Vote, 2020, against the Terrorist Tactics of 1920

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

It’s been 100 years. Since women got the right to vote. Since Eartha White ran that registration drive. Since the Ku Klux Klan marched in intimidation parades all over Florida. Tiny Eartha White stood up against a terrorist giant. Klan members hid behind patriotism and appeals to “law and order.” Local newspapers wrote of the Klan with reverence and mystery. Across Florida, people died for wanting to vote. Across the United States, people wrote of what happened in Jacksonville. If you find yourself intimidated this election year, think of Eartha White. This story ends on an up note. Click below for it.

St. Johns River Monster: 170 Years of Sightings

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

Supposed sightings of the St. Johns River Monster go back 170 years. It’s been called “Johnnie,” for the river, and the inexplicable “Borinkus.” Bounties have been offered, but the beast has never been shot, by gun or by camera. Sea monster legends do, however, connect to real world monstrosities, headlines of lynchings and the Klan. And no explanations satisfy those who say they’ve seen it. 

New Story: Resurrecting Hill Top, Black History on Forman Circle

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

Cooking for Martin Luther King, Jr., Maude Burroughs Jackson says, was one of the greatest honors of her life. Two decades prior, her father built this house by hand. Maude entered first grade in 1947 in the one room schoolhouse she ended up saving from destruction in 1995. Because of repeated vandalism, she no longer ventures to the community cemetery by herself. It’s because of her love for those who loved her those early years that we know now of this community at all.

2020 Protests Continue (Confessions, Consciousness, Change)

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

For more than a week, the protests have flooded the streets, demanding police release body cam footage. This crowd does me good. In my depths, stories from decades before I was born churn a historical conscience. The Confederate monument has again been vandalized. I ask Donal Godfrey, whose house the KKK bombed when he was six years old, if this time really is different. 

Protests in the Summer of 2020, the spring of 1964

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

This story compares the protests of 1964 to those of 2020. It demonstrates how current protests call out the murder of George Floyd, but also the long pattern of Jacksonville police abuses of authority. It shows how 1964 Jax protests were met with official racism and racist vigilantism and how 2020 protests were met with public bullying against organizers. It suggests how police, if they care, might start the process to make a systemic (not a “bad apples”) restructuring, and asks what we might do about the disintegration of America. 

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.

New Story: First Baptist Church

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

First Baptist Church has perhaps received more love and more hate than any other entity in Jacksonville. It dates to a ca.-Civil War split with black church members who retained the original name, Bethel Baptist. In 1923, Pastor W.A. Hobson welcomed 200 Klansmen in full regalia into his farewell sermon. In the 1980s, Pastors Homer Lindsay and Jerry Vines ignited a showdown with more “liberal” members of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2019, what once seemed unthinkable occurs: the church plans to sell 90 percent of its downtown campus.

Two Writers Dead on Bay Street

Click below for the full story:

When “Poor Sam Russ, one of the best, most brilliant and widely known newspapermen in Florida” drank himself to death “in a cheap lodging house” on Bay Street, newspapers said, “Dying alone, unwept and unsung,

[he] reminds us also of the death of Hamilton Jay, who, like Sam Russ, occupied a position on the Times-Union, was a brilliant writer of prose and poetry.” Hamilton Jay, the poet laureate of Florida, drank cyanide, leaving a note that said the voices would not stop calling; “I can hold back no longer.”

Black Masonic Temple

Click below for the full story:

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.