Tag Archives: Lackawanna Elementary

The Horrid Little History of the National Association for the Advancement of White People in Jax

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In the 1990s, the National Association for the Advancement of White People kept dragging Jax into national headlines. A school board member appointed a white supremacist to a task force on desegregation, a national racist hotline connected to a local elementary school and city officials apologized to the NAAWP when librarians defended black employees.

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

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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.

 

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.”