Resources for Black History Month

Looking for Black History Month resources? Find them on Florida Memory.

African American history in Florida dates back to the first explorers of the early 16th century. Our Black History Month resources page provides links to resources for students and teachers, or anyone who wants to learn more about the prominent role of African Americans in Florida history.

Mary McLeod Bethune, Daytona Beach, ca. 1904

Mary McLeod Bethune, Daytona Beach, ca. 1904

Civil Rights Exhibit at the State Archives

Stop by the lobby of the R.A. Gray Building (500 South Bronough Street) in Tallahassee during the month of February to see our photographic exhibit: “Images of the Civil Rights Movement in Tallahassee, 1956-1963.”

Presented in recognition of Black History Month, and in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the images featured in the exhibit honor only a few of the many events and individuals critical to the Civil Rights Movement in Tallahassee.

Sit-In at Woolworth’s lunch counter (February 13, 1960)

Sit-In at Woolworth’s lunch counter (February 13, 1960)

The above photograph shows the first of several sit-ins held at department stores in downtown Tallahassee. Seated and wearing dark glasses is prominent activist and local Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organizer Patricia Stephens (later Due).

Patricia Stephens (later Due) being arrested by Tallahassee Police (May 30, 1963)

Patricia Stephens (later Due) being arrested by Tallahassee Police (May 30, 1963)

The above photograph was taken on the day Tallahassee Police arrested 260 FAMU students for protesting in front of the segregated Florida Theater.

National Hat Day

It’s National Hat Day!

Hats are the perfect accessory to complete your outfit and shield you from the sun. So don your favorite and celebrate!

Fanny Gibbons, Tallahassee, ca. 1890

Fanny Gibbons, Tallahassee, ca. 1890

 

Unidentified man, Tallahassee, ca. 1900

Unidentified man, Tallahassee, ca. 1900

 

Annie Ray Andrews, ca. 1900

Annie Ray Andrews, ca. 1900

 

Unidentified women by the pool in Sarasota, 1947

Unidentified women by the pool, Sarasota, 1947

 

Ann Williamson, 1949

Ann Williamson, 1949

 

Moby the pilot whale at Marineland, ca. 1965

Moby the pilot whale, Marineland, ca. 1965

 

In front of the Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, 1968

Unidentified woman with a horse in front of the Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, 1968

 

Helen Bishop, Orlando, 1987

Helen Bishop, Orlando, 1987

National Hobby Month

January is National Hobby Month! It’s the perfect time to keep that New Year’s Resolution and finish that quilt, collect those stamps, or hike that hill!

Fishing, Taylor Creek, ca. 1910

Fishing in Taylor Creek, ca. 1910

 

Landscaping, Winter Haven, 1952

Lounging and landscaping, Winter Haven, 1952

 

Coin and gem collectors show, Miami, 1956

Coin and gem collectors show, Miami, 1956

 

Camping, Everglades, 1959

Cooking by the campfire, Everglades, 1959

 

Golf at the Tri-City Suncoast Festival, Dunedin, 1960

Golf at the Tri-City Suncoast Festival, Dunedin, 1960

 

Quilting bee, White Springs, ca. 1965

Quilting bee, White Springs, ca. 1965

 

Juggling, White Springs, 1990

Juggling, White Springs, 1990

Christmas Card Day

Merry Christmas Card Day! Have you sent yours yet?

Aldridge family siblings (Cornelia Ward & John West), Tallahassee, 1915

Aldridge family siblings (Cornelia Ward & John West), Tallahassee, 1915

 

Florida Christmas Greeting, postmarked December 14, 1926

Florida Christmas Greeting, postmarked December 14, 1926

 

Steinmetz family, 1936

Steinmetz family, 1936

 

Emmett Kelly, 1955

Emmett Kelly, 1955

Emmett Kelly, Ringling Circus clown known for his hobo pantomime character “Weary Willie,” used this photograph, taken by Joe Steinmetz, for his Christmas card in 1955. Lois Duncan, Joe’s daughter, shared with us the story behind this photograph.

Seminole Tribe Chairman James Billie and family, 1985

Seminole Tribe Chairman James Billie and family, 1985

James Billie is Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. He frequently performed at the Florida Folk Festival in the 1980s.

Annual Hale Smith Community Pig Out (December 7, 2013)

Looking to pig out this weekend? Do you enjoy your roast pork served with a side of history?

If so, join the Panhandle Archeological Society at Tallahassee (PAST), the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, and the Florida State University Archaeological Society on Saturday, December 7, from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM at the Governor Martin House (1001 de Soto Park Drive) in Tallahassee for the 36th Annual Hale Smith Community Pig Out. The event, appropriately held near the Hernando de Soto Winter Encampment Site, will feature food, kid’s activities, and knowledgeable archeologists on hand to serve up roast pork and dish out history related to the site.

Annual Hale Smith Community Pig Roast, sponsored by PAST, Governor Martin House, December 7, 2013, 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM

Download flier .pdf

Archaeological evidence found near the Governor Martin House suggests that an expedition under the command of Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto spent the winter of 1539-40 just east of downtown Tallahassee, in the vicinity of modern-day Myers Park. De Soto and his entourage occupied an Apalachee village known as Anhaica, before Native American warriors drove them from Florida.

According to historical documents, de Soto brought, among other things, a number of pigs on the expedition as a source of food. These pigs, and others introduced to Florida in the 16th century, form the genetic basis of feral populations that inhabit the southeastern U.S. today.

Read up on the history and significance of the de Soto site before you feast: Charles R. Ewen and John H. Hann, Hernando de Soto among the Apalachee: The Archaeology of the First Winter Encampment (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1998).

Polly Parker, Survivor

Polly Parker escaped deportation during the Third Seminole War and laid the foundation for the modern Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Painting of Polly Parker by Robert Butler, Brighton Reservation, 1989

Painting of Polly Parker by Robert Butler, Brighton Reservation, 1989

Polly Parker (Emateloye) was captured by the U.S. Army during the Third Seminole War (1855-1858). She was forced aboard the steamship Grey Cloud, bound for New Orleans and thence up the Mississippi River to the Indian Territory — the watery route that served as the Seminoles’ Trail of Tears. Parker escaped when the vessel stopped at St. Marks, south of Tallahassee. She then began a 400-mile journey southward to rejoin her people near Lake Okeechobee. Parker survived the perilous trek and her family lives on today in many prominent figures in the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

On December 1, a delegation from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, including some of Parker’s descendents, embarked by boat from Egmont Key in Tampa Bay and re-created the voyage to St. Marks. Special events took place on December 2 in St. Marks and in Tallahassee on December 3 to commemorate this important history and encourage greater recognition for the remarkable Polly Parker.

JFK Assassination (November 22, 1963)

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. George Smathers, United States Senator from Florida, commented on the loss of his friend and colleague during his regularly filmed remarks to the people of Florida:

Kennedy and his family spent considerable time in Florida during his presidency, including a visit just days before that fateful day in Dallas. The photographs below captured moments from JFK’s trips to the Sunshine State.

With George Smathers and LeRoy Collins, 1961

With George Smathers and LeRoy Collins, 1961

 

With British Prime Minister Harold McMillan, Key West Naval Air Station, March 26, 1961

With British Prime Minister Harold McMillan, Key West Naval Air Station, March 26, 1961

 

With Farris Bryant at the Orange Bowl, Miami, January 1, 1963

With Farris Bryant at the Orange Bowl, Miami, January 1, 1963

 

Shaking hands in Miami, November 18, 1963

Shaking hands in Miami, November 18, 1963

 

With George Smathers in Miami, November 18, 1963

With George Smathers in Miami, November 18, 1963

Dade’s Battle (December 28, 1835)

The State Library and Archives of Florida provides access to a multitude of published and unpublished resources for the study of Native American history and culture. In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, this series highlights materials in the collection that speak to the past and ongoing influence of Native peoples in Florida history.

The Second Seminole War (1835-1842) is regarded by historians as the longest and costliest Indian war in United States history. The conflict began in December 1835 with an event known as Dade’s Battle, or, from the American perspective, the Dade Massacre.

Map of the Dade Battlefield, published in Myer M. Cohen, Notices of Florida and the Campaigns (Charleston: Burges & Honour, 1836)

Map of the Dade Battlefield, published in Myer M. Cohen, Notices of Florida and the Campaigns (Charleston: Burges & Honour, 1836)

The battle took place along the Fort King Road near modern-day Bushnell. Seminole and black warriors opened fire on U.S. troops under the command of Major Francis L. Dade as they passed along a section of the road bordered by saw palmetto and pine scrub. The initial volley killed half of the white soldiers and within hours all but three of Dade’s 110 men lay dead on the battlefield. Only one soldier survived long enough to recount the American defeat.

The account of the battle below was attributed to the Seminole leader Halpatter Tustenuggee (Alligator) and published in John T. Sprague, The Origins, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1848). Alligator’s account provides insight into the Seminoles’ war strategy and the tactics that yielded several victories in the early stages of the Second Seminole War. His account is significant because it represents one of the few available from the Native American perspective.

Spellings used in the original are retained, with minimal notes in brackets for clarification when necessary.

Alligator’s Account of the Dade Battle

“We had been preparing for this more than a year. Though promises had been made to assemble on the 1st of January, it was not to leave the country, but to fight for it. In council, it was determined to strike a decided blow about this time. Our agent at Fort King [General Wiley Thompson] had put irons on our men, and said we must go. Oseola [or Osceola] said he was his friend, he would see to him.

“It was determined that he [Oseola] should attack Fort King, in order to reach General Thompson, then return to the Wahoo Swamp, and participate in the assault mediated upon the soldiers coming from Fort Brooke, as the negroes there had reported that two companies were preparing to march. He was detained longer than we anticipated. The troops were three days on their march, and approaching the Swamp. Here we thought it best to assail them; and should we be defeated the Swamp would be a safe place to retreat.

“Our scouts were out from the time the soldiers left the post, and reported each night their place of encampment. It was our intention to attack them on the third night, but the absence of Oseola and Micanopy prevented it. On the arrival of the latter it was agreed not to wait for Oseola, as the favorable moment would pass.

“Micanopy was timid, and urged delay. Jumper earnestly opposed it, and reproached the old chief with indecision. He addressed the Indians, and requested those who had faint hearts to remain behind; he was going, when Micanopy said he was ready. Just as day was breaking we moved out of the swamp into the pine-barren. I counted, by direction of Jumper, one hundred eighty warriors. Upon approaching the road, each man chose his position on the west side; opposite, on the east side, there was a pond. Every warrior was protected by a tree, or secreted in the high palmettoes.

“About nine o’clock in the morning the command approached. In advance, some distance, was an officer on a horse, who, Micanopy said, was the captain; he knew him personally; had been his friend at Tampa. So soon as all the soldiers were opposite, between us and the pond, perhaps twenty yards off, Jumper gave the whoop, Micanopy fired the first rifle, the signal agreed upon, when every Indian rose and fired, which laid upon the ground, dead, more than half the white men. The cannon was discharged several times, but the men who loaded it were shot down as soon as the smoke cleared away; the balls passed far over our heads.

“The soldiers shouted and whooped, and the officers shook their swords and swore. There was a little man, a great brave, who shook his sword at the soldiers and said, ‘God-dam!’ no rifle-ball could hit him. As we were returning to the swamp, supposing all were dead, an Indian came up and said the white men were building a fort of logs. Jumper and myself, with ten warriors, returned.

“As we approached, we saw six men behind two logs placed one above another, with the cannon a short distance off. This they discharged at us several times, but we avoided it by dodging behind the trees just as they applied the fire. We soon came near, as the balls went over us. They had guns, but no powder; we looked in the boxes afterward and found they were empty. When I got inside the log-pen, there were three white men alive, whom the negroes put to death, after a conversation in English.

“There was a brave man in the pen; he would not give up; he seized an Indian, Jumper’s cousin, took away his rifle, and with one blow with it beat out his brains, then ran some distance up the road; but two Indians on horseback overtook him, who, afraid to approach, stood at a distance and shot him down. The firing had ceased, and all was quite when we returned to the swamp about noon.

“We left many negroes upon the ground looking at the dead men. Three warriors were killed and five wounded.”