Mary McLeod Bethune Learning Unit

Check out our online learning unit to learn more about educator and civil rights pioneer Mary McLeod Bethune. The unit explores the life and legacy of Bethune, using primary source documents from the collections of the State Library and Archives of Florida. Lesson plans included in the unit are correlated to state and national standards.

Mary McLeod Bethune and girls from her school, Daytona Beach, ca. 1910

Mary McLeod Bethune and girls from her school, Daytona Beach, ca. 1910

Black History Month Webinar

In commemoration of Black History Month, this series of blog posts highlights African-American history in Florida.

Looking for Black History Month resources? Check out our Florida Electronic Library/Florida Memory webinar to learn more about online resources for the study of African-American history and culture in Florida: http://bit.ly/1jAFz5w.

Abraham, Black Seminole war leader and interpreter, ca. 1838

Abraham, Black Seminole war leader and interpreter, ca. 1838

Florida History Fair: You Have the Right to an Attorney

Every year, staff at the State Archives of Florida gets ready for the Florida History Fair by searching out primary source documents and compiling a list of resources for students and teachers. This year’s theme is “Rights and Responsibilities in History.”

Gideon v. Wainwright: The Right to an Attorney

U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy described  Gideon v. Wainwright as having changed the course of American legal history.

The decision confirmed the right of the individual to legal counsel, even in cases not involving capital offenses.

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.

View Gideon’s historic petition for writ of habeas corpus on Florida Memory.

Portrait of Clarence Earl Gideon (ca. 1961)

Portrait of Clarence Earl Gideon (ca. 1961)

For more resources related to this year’s History Fair theme, see Resources for the 2014 Florida History Fair.

Links to resources related to Gideon include the transcript of State of Florida v. Gideon from the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida and oral histories collected by the Georgetown Law Library.

Live Chat with a Professional Librarian

Florida Memory now has a professional librarian living on our Resources for the 2014 Florida History Fair page! Students, teachers, and anyone with a research question are encouraged to drop by.

Try it now!


Sample questions:

  • Can you help me find good examples of how to write essays?
  • I am looking for a website about grammar, for example, conjunctions, verbs, etc.
  • Where do I go for census statistics?

Ask a Librarian is a free online service that allows Florida residents to chat or text with a librarian.

Sunday – Thursday: 10am until midnight ET
Friday – Saturday: 10am until 5pm ET

Get your own Ask a Librarian widget or app.

Resources for the Florida History Fair

Are you a teacher, librarian or student researching topics for the Florida History Fair? Find hundreds of historical photographs, documents, film and audio recordings related to this year’s theme.

History Fair Resources

Resources for the 2012-13 Florida History Fair links to primary and secondary source documents available online from the State Library and Archives of Florida. Primary resources from other institutions and key secondary resources are also identified in a newly expanded section.

Students involved in the History Fair become passionate about their research and interpreting history.

“Students have always told us how much they loved their National History Day experience and how it has changed their life, both in their academics and their careers. History not only teaches students about the stories of our past, but is vital to creating a generation of young people who can apply these lessons to the future.”
Cokie Roberts

I hope these resources will help you share the excitement of discovering history.