Emancipation was proclaimed in Tallahassee on May 20, 1865, 11 days after the end of the Civil War and two years after the proclamation was first issued by President Abraham Lincoln. For this reason, Emancipation Day in Florida is traditionally celebrated on May 20th.
Henry White playing guitar at an Emancipation Day celebration (1930s)
Emancipation Day Parade: Lincolnville, Florida (1920s)
Emancipation Day Parade: Lincolnville, Florida (1920s)
St. Paul A.M.E Church float: Lincolnville, Florida (1920s)
Parade float representing the medical auxiliary society: Lincolnville, Florida (1920s)
Standing in front of a car decorated for the parade: Lincolnville, Florida (1920s)
St. Benedict Catholic School parade float: Lincolnville, Florida (1920s)
The Queen and her court: Lincolnville, Florida (1920s)
African American workers and tenants celebrating Emancipation Day
at Horseshoe Plantation (1930s)
In the late 1950s, in order to keep pace with the Soviet Union, the U.S. government created a fictitious town named Apix (Air Products Incorporated, Experimental) to build and test rocket engines powered by liquid hydrogen.
Testing the XLR-115 hydrogen fueled rocket engine, Apix, 1958
The project, codenamed “Suntan,” was highly classified and required a large degree of secrecy. Land near the testing ground in rural Palm Beach County was platted for houses to conceal the true nature of the site. Apix was given a bogus population to add to its cover as a small fertilizer-producing community.
Rocket engine test stands, Apix, 1958
By June 1959, the use of liquid hydrogen was determined to be too costly. The project was abandoned and Apix was dismantled.
Four open air rocket engine test cells and control rooms, Apix, 1958
It’s National Library Week! Dorothy Dodd served as State Librarian from 1952 until 1965. She was also Florida’s first State Archivist.
Throughout her tenure at the State Library of Florida, Dr. Dodd actively preserved valuable Florida records and documents. With her foresight and knowledge of the state and its history, she built a collection of outstanding scope and depth. She is credited with assembling more than 15,000 cataloged items in the Florida Collection of the State Library of Florida.
Dr. Dorothy Dodd and student flattening documents (1953)
Although there was no money for the archives, she managed to rescue from destruction and organize 260 linear feet of territorial and state records and manuscript collections.
Join in the VIVA Florida 500 commemoration, April 4-6, 2013, at the R.A. Gray Building in downtown Tallahassee.
Go behind the scenes at the Bureau of Archaeological Research Conservation Lab, view three rarely displayed documents from the State Archives, and take a guided tour of the Museum of Florida History’s new permanent exhibit Forever Changed: La Florida, 1513-1821.
10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
Museum of Florida History
11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
The R. A. Gray Building is located two blocks west of the Capitol Building on Bronough Street, between the Civic Center and the Supreme Court of Florida: 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, 850.245.4400.
March 18, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision Gideon v. Wainwright. The decision confirmed the right of the individual to counsel, even in cases not involving capital offenses. U.S. Attorney General and Senator Robert Kennedy described the case as having changed the course of American legal history.
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus submitted by Clarence Earl Gideon
The case began when an obscure inmate in a Florida prison, Clarence Earl Gideon, picked up a pencil and began writing his own lawsuit against the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections. Before the case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, however, the Florida Supreme Court heard the appeal of the original conviction. Clarence Earl Gideon was convicted of robbery after the judge in a circuit court refused his request for counsel and he was forced to defend himself. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. The Florida Supreme Court confirmed the circuit court ruling, denying Gideon’s appeal for a writ of habeas corpus, which would have freed him on the grounds that he had been imprisoned illegally.
In 1963, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the ruling of the Florida court, thereby establishing the principle that state courts were required to provide defendants in criminal cases with legal counsel. The case was retried (this time with representation for Gideon) five months after the Supreme Court decision. Gideon was acquitted.
A.Philip Randolph, the first president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was born in Crescent City, Florida, and grew up in Jacksonville. The son of a Methodist minister, he attended the City College of New York, and later published The Messenger, a radical black magazine.
The 1937 contract between the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Pullman Company cut working hours, increased pay, and improved working conditions.
Randolph was also a major influence in ending discrimination in defense plants and segregation of the U.S. military. He was director of the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, D.C. — the largest civil rights demonstration in American history.
Group portrait of members attending the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters convention in Washington, D.C.
The membership of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters included the African-American porters and maids who worked on the railway trains. Randolph, Benjamin McLaurin, and Julius and Eliza Rosier Glass were natives of Jacksonville. Julius was a fireman on the Florida East Coast Line.
Eartha M.M. White tells this true life ghost story based on an incident from before the Civil War. The story was told to Eartha White by her mother, Clara White, who was raised in slavery on Amelia Island in Fernandina, Florida.
Eartha M. M. White was a humanitarian, businesswoman and philanthropist from Jacksonville. She created educational opportunities and provided relief to African-Americans in northeastern Florida. White helped found several organizations and institutions, including the Clara White Mission, Mercy Hospital and the Boy’s Improvement Club. She was designated as a Great Floridian by the Florida Department of State in the year 2000.
Eartha M.M. White and her mother Clara White: Jacksonville, Florida (ca. 1910)
This recording was made in January 1940 as part of the Federal Writers Project. The voice introducing the story is that of Robert Cook. Cook also traveled with Zora Neale Hurston to gather folklife recordings and photographs across the state.
In Florida, the Federal Writers Project was based out of Jacksonville, and directed by historian Carita Doggett Corse. Seven recording expeditions were conducted in the 1930s and ’40s in Florida by Alan Lomax, Zora Neale Hurston, Stetson Kennedy, Robert Cook, and others.
The field recordings were made on acetate disks, usually recorded at 78 rpm. The originals are still housed with the Library of Congress.
Florida Memory is funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services.