On the morning of June 1, 1937, Amelia Earhart took off from Miami Municipal Airport, beginning her second attempt to fly around the world.
That day’s flight was uneventful. She landed in Puerto Rico in the afternoon, but would not complete her circumnavigation. Earhart was remembered in the naming of the field from which her flight began. Miami Municipal Airport was rededicated as Amelia Earhart Field in 1947, and now Amelia Earhart Park is located near the site in northwestern Miami-Dade County.
Groundbreaking at Miami Municipal Airport, November 4, 1929
On May 28 and 29, 1586, Sir Francis Drake attacked St. Augustine.
Drake’s raid was part of a larger expedition led by the English privateer against Spanish settlements in the Caribbean. An Italian cartographer named Baptista Boazio created this map in order to illustrate Drake’s successful campaign. Boazio’s hand-colored map is the earliest known depiction of a European settlement in what is now the United States; it is also the oldest item in the collections of the State Archives of Florida.
Map of Drake’s raid on St. Augustine, by Baptista Boazio, published in 1589
Boazio, who never visited St. Augustine, included fine details in his map derived from first-hand accounts of English exploits. Join us as we take a look at Drake in detail.
Detail of a galleon, the largest of the 43 vessels portrayed by Boazio
On May 26, 1956, two female students from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Wilhelmina Jakes and Carrie Patterson, sat down in the “whites only” section of a segregated bus in the city of Tallahassee. When they refused to move to the “colored” section at the rear of the bus, the driver pulled into a service station and called the police. Tallahassee police arrested Jakes and Patterson and charged them with “placing themselves in a position to incite a riot.”
In the days immediately following these arrests, students at FAMU organized a campus-wide boycott of city buses. Their collective stand against segregation set an example that propelled like-minded Tallahassee citizens into action. Soon, news of the boycott spread throughout the community.
Reverend C. K. Steele at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Tallahassee, January 3, 1957
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) Read more »
On May 14, 1942, Congress approved an Act that allowed women to enlist for noncombat duties in the U.S. military. The Act led to the creation of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES), the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), and the Semper Paratus Always Ready Service (SPARS). Many Florida women were quick to sign up and serve their country.
Portrait of Sarah Kaplan during World War II Read more »
On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. made the first manned spaceflight in U.S. history. He piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 during a 15-minute and 28-second suborbital flight that reached an altitude of 116 miles (186 kilometers) above the earth.
Shepard entering Freedom 7
Shepard was the second person to travel into space. Twenty-three days prior to Shepard’s flight, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first-ever human in space. The space race was on…
On May 3, 1901, a devastating fire swept through downtown Jacksonville and destroyed much of the city. Jacksonville persevered, despite suffering from the largest urban fire in the 20th century United States, and its resilient citizens rebuilt downtown.
Church Street after the Great Fire: Jacksonville (1901)
On April 30, 1562, French explorer Jean Ribault led an expedition ashore near the mouth of the St. Johns River. They continued north to what is now South Carolina before returning to Europe. Ribault returned to the Americas in 1564 and was among those killed during the Spanish – French struggle for control over La Florida.
“The French Sail to the River of May,” from an engraving by Theodor de Bry
Between the time he returned to Europe and before the second French expedition sailed in 1564, Ribault published an account of his journey titled The Whole & True Discouerye of Terra Florida. His brief account provides insight into his perception of the land and people he encountered. The below spellings retain those that appear in an early English-language printing of Ribault’s account. Read more »
The cross-peninsular stretch of the Tamiami Trail between Naples and Miami officially opened on April 25, 1928. Area residents welcomed the road and predicted a boost to the local economy from the increased traffic. Perfectly positioned to profit from the road were the Koreshans, whose property ran adjacent to the Tamiami Trail as it passed through the small, rural community of Estero, Florida.
Koreshan service station on the Tamiami Trail, late 1920s
Allen H. Andrews, a member of the Koreshan Unity, wrote about his experience during the “blazing” stage of the Tamiami Trail. Andrews was among the group known as the “Trailblazers” who completed the first successful motorcade crossing of the route that later became the Tamiami Trail.
On April 4, 1923, the Trailblazers set out from Fort Myers towards Miami across the vastness of South Florida. The motorcade consisted of ten vehicles and 28 men, including two Seminole guides. Andrews described this place as a land where “[l]aw and order are practically unknown,” home only to the Seminoles and assorted moonshiners, bootleggers, and other outlaws. Read more »
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.