Tag Archives: Manuel Rivera

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.

Pedrica Mendez’s House

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When Padrica was a little girl in the 1940s, the Cuban community in Jacksonville surrounded her and her family with love and a yet larger sense of family.

One night as she left the opera in Rome, a photographer snapped her picture, wrote, “in omaggio alla sua bellezza,” or “in homage of your beauty,” on the back of the photograph, and gave it to her.

The fire that consumed the great two-story house next door jumped sparks at Padrica’s house.

Still what most struck Padrica were the cadences she heard in the Orthodox music of ancient Ethiopia that reminded her dearly, tearfully, of rhymes and end-lines from old “Negro spirituals.”