Tag Archives: Solomon Shad

When Jax Liquors Ruled Florida

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For half a century, Jax Liquors ruled Jacksonville, much of Florida as well. “I was afraid to stay small,” the kingpin said. Inversely proportional, his long rise spanned the decline of the Black neighborhood where he bought his first bars. The long arc of Jax Liquors’ success paralleled changes in American drinking habits, attitudes toward liquor and drunk driving laws. Even now, if you’ve lived long enough in Jacksonville, you might accidentally call ABC “Jax Liquors.”

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.”