Changing Post-War America

With the end of World War II in 1945, the nation was ready for change. The United States had clawed its way out of the Great Depression and had helped save the world from Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. But the freedoms many Americans believed the nation had fought for overseas were not realized by all at home.

Interior of railroad car (1948)

Interior of railroad car (1948)

Image number: SP02057

Note the sign at the right that says "Colored."

Aerial photograph of City Island and Islanders Ball Park: Daytona Beach, Florida (1946)

Aerial photograph of City Island and Islanders Ball Park: Daytona Beach, Florida (1946)

Image number: N045652

The City Island Ball Park is now Jackie Robinson Ball Park (also known as Jackie Robinson Stadium). It was built in 1946. One of the reasons the stadium is named for Jackie Robinson is because Daytona Beach was the first Florida city to let Robinson play during the 1946 season's spring training. The triple-A Montreal Royals, which Robinson was playing for, were in-state to play an exhibition against their parent club, the Brooklyn Dodgers, but both Jacksonville and Sanford refused to let the game go on due to segregation laws. The game was played on March 17, 1946 and helped lead the way to breaking the color line in 1947 when Robinson joined the Dodgers. Consequently, the refusal by Jacksonville, previously the Dodgers' spring training home, led the team to move training to the City Island Ball Park in 1947 and later build Dodgertown in Vero Beach for the 1948 season. Jackie Robinson Stadium was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on October 22, 1998.

Cramped sleeping quarters of a venereal disease hospital ship: Jacksonville, Florida (1947)

Cramped sleeping quarters of a venereal disease hospital ship: Jacksonville, Florida (1947)

Image number: C005769

Brewster Hospital's children's ward (1947)

Brewster Hospital's children's ward (1947)

Image number: SP00950

Brewster was Jacksonville's first hospital and nurses' training school for African-Americans. Brewster first opened in 1901, but because of competition from other facilities after the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the hospital closed its doors in 1966.

View of Sheriff McCall and shooting victims (1951)

View of Sheriff McCall and shooting victims (1951)

Image number: N045392

On July 16, 1949, Norma Padgett, a 17-year old Groveland, Florida, woman, accused four black men of rape, testifying that she and her husband were attacked when their car stalled on a rural road near Groveland, Florida. The next day, Charles Greenlee, Sam Shepherd, and Walter Irvin were in jail. Ernest Thomas fled the county and avoided arrest for several days until a Sheriff's posse shot and killed him about 200 miles northwest of Lake County. Sam Shepherd and Walter Irvin were sentenced to death in a trial. 16-year-old Charles Greenlee, because of his age, was sentenced to life in prison. In 1951, Samuel Shepherd and Walter Lee Irvin were shot by Sheriff McCall while being transported from Raiford to Lake County. McCall said they had attacked him. Walter Irvin survived and accused McCall of forcing Shepherd and him from the vehicle in which they were being transported and shooting them down. It became known as the "Groveland Shooting."

Carver Village bombing: Miami, Florida (November 30, 1951)

Carver Village bombing: Miami, Florida (November 30, 1951)

Image number: PR05143

Formerly a white housing community, it was opened up to blacks in August, 1951. Dynamite was used to bomb the facility. No one was hurt.

Bombing of home of NAACP member: Mims, Florida (December 25, 1951)

Bombing of home of NAACP member: Mims, Florida (December 25, 1951)

Image number: PR05144

Harry Tyson Moore was organizer, president, and state coordinator of the Florida branch of the NAACP. Moore and his wife Henrietta were killed in a bombing at their home on Christmas Eve.

View showing some performers from the 2nd Annual Lions Club Suwannee Minstrel show in Lake Wales, Florida (1952)

View showing some performers from the 2nd Annual Lions Club Suwannee Minstrel show in Lake Wales, Florida (1952)

Image number: PR77369

Identified in the center is William E. Hurlbut. Photographed for the program advertising the show to be held November 10-11, 1952, in the high school auditorium.

"You cannot change people's hearts merely by law."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

On May 17, 1954, the modern Civil Rights Movement had its first major victory on the federal level with the Brown v. Board of Education decision that found the segregation of public schools unconstitutional. But public opinion in the nation was far from unanimous on the issue of segregation. U.S. Representative John Bell Williams (D-Miss) called the day the decision was made "Black Monday." Organizations of white pro-segregationists called White Citizens' Councils formed across the South to organize opposition, sometimes violent. Governors and state legislators were slow to enact integration.

Tallahassee Democrat headline for segregation ban: Tallahassee, Florida (May 17, 1954)

Tallahassee Democrat headline for segregation ban: Tallahassee, Florida (May 17, 1954)

Image number: RC12403

The headline is for the Supreme Court's ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Group portrait of the "Pork Chop Gang" during the 1956 special session of the Senate

Group portrait of the "Pork Chop Gang" during the 1956 special session of the Senate

Image number: RC13315

Back row (Left to Right): James E. "Nick" Conner, Brooksville; L.K. Edwards Jr., Irvine; Irlo O. Bronson Sr., Kissimmee; W.E. Bishop, Lake City; H.B. Douglas, Bonifay; William A. Shands, Gainesville; W. Randolph Hodges, Cedar Key; Charley E. Johns, Starke.

Front row: John S. Rawls, Marianna; Philip D. Beall Jr., Pensacola; Harry O. Stratton, Callahan; F. Wilson Carraway, Tallahassee; W. Turner Davis, Madison; Scott Dilworth Clarke, Monticello; Dewey M. Johnson, Quincy; J. Edwin Baker, Umatilla; Edwin G. Fraser, Macclenny; Basil Charles "Bill" Pearce, East Palatka; Woodrow M. Melvin, Milton; J. Braham Black, Jasper; J.C. Getzen Jr., Bushnell.

Crowd attending a KKK rally: Tallahassee, Florida (September 1, 1956)

Crowd attending a KKK rally: Tallahassee, Florida (September 1, 1956)

Image number: RC18127

Children boarding bus for school: Saint Petersburg, Florida (October 1956)

Children boarding bus for school: Saint Petersburg, Florida (October 1956)

Image number: C023898b