Guide to African American Resources in the State Library and Archives of Florida
The Manuscript Collection consists of the non-government historical records of private individuals and organizations that have shaped and influenced the history of Florida. These materials trace the cultural, economic, military, religious, and social development of Florida from an isolated sixteenth century Spanish outpost to one of today's fastest growing states in the nation. Manuscript collection include correspondence, diaries, journals, maps, photographs, and the organizational papers of business, fraternal, professional, religious, and social organizations, many of which document the black experience in Florida.
Bauskett, William T., 1866-1917.
Papers, 1911-1917, 1.75 cubic feet
William T. Bauskett, a newspaperman and congressional clerk, was appointed state historian to write a history of Florida. The project was funded by the Florida Legislature for two years (Ch. 6135, Laws, 1911). Bauskett's manuscript was never published.
The collection consists primarily of Bauskett's manuscript for his history of Florida. Included are research materials and some correspondence relating to the project. The history spans the 1770s through the early 20th century. The chapters cover the scope of Florida's history, with significant documentation of Indian affairs, Andrew Jackson, and the Civil War. This material contains information on the "Slave Trade of 1828" and a report on the destruction of the occupied Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River, a general rendezvous for slaves and disaffected Indians. Documentation relating to the enlistment, participation, and treatment of "colored troops" during the Civil War is also included.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church (Tallahassee, Fla.)
Records, 1847-1878, 1908-1941, 1 microfilm reel (16 mm.)
The collection is composed of the records of the Catholic Church in Tallahassee and its surrounding area. It includes a list of Catholics in Chattahoochee, Quincy, St. Marks, New Port, Tallahassee, Monticello, and Madison; a register recording confirmations, baptisms, marriages, burials and visits of the missionary priest from 1847 to 1878; the records of the Mater Dolorosa Church (forerunner to Blessed Sacrament parish), which list first communions and confirmations from 1908 to 1914; a graveyard plan; inventories of church belongings; names of African Americans baptized from 1851 to 1864; and a summary of financial matters in Tallahassee from 1864 to 1865.
Boyd, Louis James M.
Civil War-Era Letters, 1861-1871, 0.25 cubic foot
This collection consists of photocopies of letters written by Louis James M. Boyd to his wife, "Jannie," from April 23, 1862 to August 1871. The couple met in Cedar Key, Florida and later moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Boyd served as a 3rd Assistant Engineer aboard the U.S. Gun boat "Albatross" during the Civil War. While the correspondence is personal, the majority of the letters focus on various aspects of the Navy's blockade of Southern ports. There is mention of campaigns along Florida's Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi River. Of particular interest are those letters dealing with attacks on Port Hudson, Louisiana and assaults on salt works between St. Andrews and Pensacola, Florida. The letters also relate contemporary opinions of African Americans serving in the Union army, the status of Maryland during the war, and the Southern response to the presence of the Union navy.
Bradford, Sallie G., 1835-1867.
Slave Register, 1860-1876, 1 volume
Sallie G. Bradford was the daughter of Thomas A. Bradford of Walnut Hill Plantation, located in Leon County, Florida, near Lake Iamonia. Thomas Bradford's family came to Florida in 1830 from Enfield, North Carolina.
The collection consists of a register recording the names and dates of birth of slaves owned by, and freedmen working for, Thomas A. Bradford. The birth dates range from 1802 to 1876. Bradford's daughter, Sallie, originated this register, which was continued by an unknown source after her death in 1867.
Cathedral of Saint Augustine (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Records, 1594-1763, 7 microfilm reels (35 mm.)
Parish records include baptisms, marriages, burials, and confirmations. Also listed are burials and baptisms of free African Americans, slaves, and persons of "mixed bloods."
Concord Missionary Baptist Church
(Madison County, Fla.)
Records, 1841-1868, 0.25 cubic foot
The collection consists of a photocopy of the records contained in the minute book of the Concord Missionary Baptist Church containing the minutes of the regular conference meetings of the church, including the reception of new members. Following the minutes are membership lists of white and black members, and lists of those members, white or black, baptized at the church.
Cooper, Leona H., 1932-
Papers, 1948-1996, 2.50 cubic feet
Leona H. Cooper was born Leona Helen Furgeson on June 30, 1932 in Nassau, Bahamas. She moved to Miami at age 14, graduating from Booker T. Washington High School in 1949. She received her certificate in Medical Technology from Doctors Clinical Laboratories, Miami, that same year, and began her career as a microbiologist, working at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, and, since 1963, the Miami Veterans Administration Medical Center, where she became Supervisor of Clinical Microbiology. She has also acted as Black Employment Manager and coordinated the Brown Bag Seminars and Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month activities there.
Ms. Cooper has also worked to make the Catholic Church more open to African Americans. In 1986 she founded the St. Martin De Porres Association, an organization of African American lay Catholics in Miami committed to improving the status of African American Catholics. The organization works to assist the homeless and to provide scholarships to African American students in Catholic schools. Under her presidency, the organization implemented such projects as an annual Dr. Martin Luther King Birthday Commemorative Mass at which Peace and Unity Awards are presented, and Black History Month celebrations.
This collection documents the family, professional, and religious life of Leona H. Cooper. The collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, programs, publicity materials, and other materials documenting her activities and interests, including papers relating to the St. Martin De Porres Association and African Americans in the Catholic Church; women in the Catholic Church; the Archdiocese of Miami; defending the rights of Haitian immigrants and Haitian nationals; the visit of Pope John Paul II to America in 1987; honors and awards, including her honorary doctorate from St. Thomas University and her Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice awarded by Pope John Paul II; City of Coral Gables and Dade County government and business; and activities and achievements of her children.
Language Note: Some news clippings and articles are in Spanish.
Coral Gables ( Fla.). Cable TV Division.
Coral Gables Oral History Interview Video Recordings, 2000, 2 items
The City of Coral Gables Cable TV Division (CGTV) produced this series of oral history interviews with long-time city residents and city officials to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the city's incorporation in 1925. This collection consists of videotaped oral history interviews with long-time Coral Gables residents and city officials. Topics addressed include life in early Coral Gables; development of city government; relations between the city and the University of Miami; building of roads and subdivisions and development of neighborhoods; economic development; and segregation and the civil rights and women's rights movements.
Eddins, John M.
Diaries of William Terrell Eddins, 1901, 1908-1915, 1937-1942, 0.5 cubic
This collection consists primarily of personal pocket diaries kept by William Terrell Eddins from 1908-1915 and again from 1937-1942. Eddins began keeping daily diaries in January 1908, just prior to his 21st birthday. The brief entries mostly discuss the daily activities of Eddins and his family and friends and Eddins' observances of people in Edenfield and Bushnell communities. Occasional entries note incidents perhaps indicative of local racial tensions, e.g. February 16, 1908: "Eve, Mr. Archie and Negroes fight..."; February 29, 1908: "Mr. Archie beats Negro under lumber yard..."; August 12, 1911; "Big excitement in E-.; Mr. Black kills Negro."
The collection also includes a photograph of the Eddins family, ca. 1901, and transcripts of the daily diaries, including explanatory notes and name indexes, compiled by William Terrell Eddins' son John Eddins. The transcripts are available both in paper form and in electronic word processing files.
Papers, 1851-1957, 1 cubic foot
The Elliot family is related to the Cotten family, through Fred Elliot's mother, Sallie Cotten Elliot. She was the daughter of Frederick R. and Elizabeth Coffield Cotten, both of who moved to Tallahassee from North Carolina in 1847. In 1876, Sallie Cotten married Henry Sanford Elliot, a Florida businessman with real estate interests in Leon County.
The collection consists of correspondence, deeds, photographs, memorabilia, and newspaper clippings. The Frederick R. Cotten materials, dating from the 19th century, include a card advertising a debate about the Reconstruction issue of the Negro's role in politics; and a plantation journal book, which lists slaves and records the weights of cotton bails picked at the Burgesstown Plantation in Leon County in 1860. The journal also contains a speech announcing Cotten's candidacy for the House of Representatives of the First Confederate Congress. There are also slave records, which consist of a bill of sale for $15,000 for slaves sold to Cotten in 1851.
Reproduction Note: Photocopies.
Fitch, Thomas, d. 1821.
Papers, 1818-1836, 0.25 cubic foot
Thomas Fitch was a lawyer, plantation owner, and slaveholder in South Georgia and East Florida in the early 1800s. He lived in St. Augustine when Florida was ceded to the United States and was appointed to be the first Judge of the new territorial government in that city. However, a yellow fever epidemic came to St. Augustine in 1821, and within days of his appointment as Judge, Thomas Fitch, his wife and children died of the yellow fever.
This collection contains correspondence, invoices, agreements, and contracts related to the business and legal activities of Thomas Fitch in South Georgia and East Florida from 1818 until his death in 1821. It also includes papers, dated 1822-1836, related to the settlement of his estate, which include an inventory of personal estate, valuation of slaves, and record of sale of household effects.
The collection contains several items which describe Fitch's activities as a slaveholder. It contains agreements for the purchase and division of slaves jointly bought by Thomas Fitch and Benjamin Chaires. There is also an affidavit concerning the seizure of one of Fitch's slaves for being brought from Africa in violation of the laws of the United States. A related letter by Paul Dupon testifies that the slaves that Fitch had bought from him were legally brought into the United States. There are documents related to the purchase and ownership of land in East Florida by Thomas Fitch. Included is a proposal from Fernando de la Maza Arredondo to sell a plantation and negroes to Thomas Fitch. There is also a contract by Francis Philip Fatio, Jr. paying Fitch to survey and record his land grant along the St. Johns River and to provide Fatio's son with an English education in the United States.
Florida Legislative Investigation Committee Records, 1957-1960, 0.75
The Florida Legislative Investigation Committee was set up by Chapter 31498 of the Laws of Florida (1955) to investigate "all organizations whose principles or activities include a course of conduct on the part of any person or group which would constitute violence or a violation of the laws of the State, or would be inimical to the well-being and orderly pursuits of their personal and business activities by the majority of the citizens of this state." In this instance, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was under scrutiny. The committee made a report to the Florida Bar on December 27, 1958 in which they rendered their opinion as to what actions, if any, should be taken in regard to the method of operation of the NAACP and its Florida counsel. Under consideration was the possible professional misconduct of Alexander Akerman, Jr. of Washington, D.C.; Horace E. Hill of Daytona Beach, Florida; Grattan E. Graves, Jr. of Miami, Florida; and Francisco A. Rodriguez and William Andrew Fordham, both of Tampa, Florida; all of whom were working for the NAACP.
The underlying question involved whether a lawyer employed by an association to render legal services in matters concerning the organization as a whole may also represent individuals who are involved in matters which the organization wishes to preserve or further. Furthermore, the NAACP had been charged with willfully instigating or appearing in lawsuits, soliciting lawsuits, or soliciting others to file lawsuits, and hiring or paying a litigant to bring, maintain or prosecute a lawsuit. The above-named lawyers were allegedly involved in some or all of these activities.
This collection is made up primarily of carbon copies of transcripts of hearings before the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee from February 4, 1957 to March 13, 1957. The collection also includes a report from George W. Atkinson to Baya M. Harrison, then President of the Florida Bar, which assesses the hearings for information concerning the conduct of five attorneys, and indexes of pertinent testimony. There are also a number of letters concerning the transmittal of copies of the transcripts, and various opinions concerning their contents, dating from 1957 to 1960. There are also reports, questions, and complaints concerning the actions of the NAACP in Florida, and copies of legal documents concerned with their activities in other states.
Florida Education Association.
Records, 1886-1983, 101.25 cubic feet
The Florida Education Association (FEA) was organized in 1886 as the Florida State Teachers Association (FSTA). In 1904, the FSTA was renamed the Florida Education Association, and the black teachers' association became the Florida State Teachers Association. The organizational structure included departments, which were groups of members with mutual professional interests, and sections devoted to more specific interests.
In 1966, the FEA merged with the Florida State Teachers Association in the interests of integration. Perhaps the best known activity of the FEA was its leadership role in the teachers' walkout of 1967-1968, organized after the governor and the legislature allegedly failed to provide enough money for school funding.
In 1975, the FEA merged with the Florida chapter of the American Federation of Teachers to create FEA/United, which has diverged from the original intent of FEA. The new body is a union, while the former organization was a professional association. After complex struggles with the National Education Association over this change, the Florida Education Association was disaffiliated from the National Education Association.
The collection contains the records of the Florida Education Association divided into the following groups: (A) Executive Secretary; (B) Board of Directors; (C) Departments and Sections; (D) Assistant Executive Secretary; (E) Communications Division; (F) Administrative Office; (H) Meetings; (I) Committees and Councils; and (J) Presidents. The groups reflect both the organizational units and the functions of the FEA, and the records document the administrative activities and functions of each organizational unit.
The earliest records of Florida Education Association are contained in the Board of Directors, Minutes (B.l). There is a gap in these records from 1904 to 1927, and only the Journal of Proceedings (1922) (D.7), Convention Programs (1922, 1925, and 1926) (H.2), and some records of Executive Secretary James S. Rickards (A.1) document this period.
The bulk of the collection dates from the 1940s to the 1970s. Prior to the 1940s, records exist in the following series: James S. Rickards, Administrative Files (A.1); Ed B. Henderson Administrative Files (A.2); Board of Directors, Minutes (B.l); Classroom Teachers Department, Administrative Files (C.4); Publications (D.7); Convention Programs (H.2); Economic Status Committee Files (I.3); and Continuing Education Council Minutes (I.5). Information after 1974 can be found in the Communications Division, Subject Files (D.4) and News Releases (D.5) and in the Convention Programs (H.2).
Records of the Florida State Teachers Association are also located at the Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University, Black Archives Research Center and Museum.
Florida Health and Welfare Council.
Records, 1921-1973, 1 cubic foot
The Florida Health and Welfare Council, a non-profit corporation, was originally established in 1911 as the Florida State Conference of Social Work. It was created to facilitate discussion among social workers, state agencies, and institutions involved in providing social services to clients. Its name was changed to the Florida Conference of Social Welfare in 1951, and to the Florida Health and Welfare Council about 1969.
The collection contains records documenting the activities of and issues relevant to the Florida Health and Welfare Council and its predecessors, the Florida State Conference of Social Work, and the Florida Conference of Social Welfare. The bulk of the collection are the records of the Florida State Conference of Social Work, including correspondence, 1923-1948; minutes, 1933-1950; annual programs, 1921-1950; and bulletins, legislation, and miscellaneous materials. There are also minutes, 1951-1966, and annual programs, 1951-1967, of the Florida Conference of Social Work. The records of the Florida Health and Welfare Council are few; they include correspondence, 1970-1971; a bulletin, 1973; and an annual program, 1969.
Forbes Purchase Collection, 1817-1910, 1.25 cubic feet
William Panton, John Leslie and Thomas Forbes owned Panton, Leslie & Company, a large and prosperous merchant business in colonial Georgia and South Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, their British sympathies led them to move their business to Spanish-held St. Augustine. Much of their business was conducted with the Indians of the region, and consequently by 1792 the business was in financial trouble due to the accumulation of large Indian debts. A suggestion by the Spanish government that they recoup these debts through Indian land cessions resulted in the company (by then known as John Forbes & Company) receiving approximately 1,200,000 acres between the Apalachicola and St. Marks River in 1804. This cession is commonly known as the Forbes Purchase.
After the War of 1812, it became evident that the United States would obtain Florida from the British. Since Forbes was not an American citizen, he felt that either the land would be confiscated or he would not receive a fair purchase price from the U. S. government. The land was therefore sold to Colin Mitchel, a Havana merchant, in 1817. Years of litigation followed in which the U. S. government questioned the authenticity and legality of certain documents used as proofs of ownership. Many of the documents were located in the Spanish archives in Cuba and had to be copied and translated; accusations of forgery and mistranslations flew. Finally in 1835 the U. S. Supreme Court decided in Mitchell's favor. He formed the Apalachicola Land Company with headquarters in New York and sold the land piecemeal to the newly arriving American settlers. The company became insolvent in 1858.
The collection contains correspondence and legal papers concerning the litigation, as well as receipts, ures, and other agreements made by interested parties. The case of Andrew Garr vs. the Apalachicola Land Company is well documented, as are the suits filed by the Union Bank of Tallahassee. Most of the documents date from the mid-19th century when the litigation occurred, though some papers date to 1910. Included in some of the legal documents are estate inventories, which list slaves. Documents from the Superior Court of Leon County contain the results of civil suits and criminal proceedings regarding the ownership of slaves and the cruel treatment of Negroes.
Gibbs, Kingsley Beatty, 1810-1860.
Journal, 1840-1843, 1 volume, 1 microfilm reel (35 mm.)
Kingsley Beatty Gibbs was the son of George and Isabelle (Kingsley) Gibbs, and nephew of Zephaniah Kingsley, extensive planter of Fort George Island. On the death of his uncle, Gibbs inherited the plantation on Fort George Island, his uncle's schooner, "North Carolina," and his uncle's books.
The collection contains a journal of Kingsley Beatty Gibbs that was written in 1858 from his notes. Gibbs wrote monthly journal entries describing plantation life at Fort George Island and the political atmosphere of the time. His reminiscences cover the period from January 1840 to June 1843. Entries in tothe journal reveal that forty slaves were included in the purchase price of the plantation. There is also general information on slave life on the plantation.
Due to the fragile condition of the volume, patrons are asked to use the microfilm copy.
Jacksonville Union Train Terminal Photographs, c. 1920, 16 items
Begun in 1917, the Union Terminal in Jacksonville stands as the greatest example of neoclassic revival architecture in that city. At its completion in 1919, it was the largest railroad station in the South and handled as many as 142 trains and 20,000 passengers per day. Due to decreased rail travel and high maintenance costs, the station closed in 1974.
This collection consists of sixteen black and white photographs of the interior and exterior of the Jacksonville Union Trade Terminal. Interior views include the "white" and "colored" waiting rooms, the ticket office, and the concourse. Exterior views include Bay Street and several trolley cars.
Junior League of Tallahassee (Tallahassee,
Oral Histories, 1976-1977, 1 cubic foot
Terms Governing Use: The Junior League of Tallahassee reserves copyrights. Contact the Junior League for permission to copy a tape.
In 1976 and 1977, the Junior League of Tallahassee conducted an Oral History Project, which included a series of interviews with prominent Tallahasseans. This collection contains the oral history tapes and transcripts of that project, including interviews with: Lula D. Appleyard; Governor LeRoy Collins; Louisa C. Eckermeyer; Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Fain; J. Pierce Ford; Howard J. Friedman; Jake Gaither; Lettie Proctor Hill; Dorothy Johnson; Arvah B. Hopkins; Charles Knott; Angus Laird; B. Cheever Lewis; Reynolds Lewis; Anna Forbes Liddell; Perry Linton; Laura Long; Mary Murphee Meginnis; Frank D. Moor; Phebe Brokaw Quarterman; Phebe Knox; Francis A. Rhodes; Hazel M. Richards; Anne Sensabaugh; Mrs. W. C. Tully; J. Edwin White; and Ben C. Willis.
No transcripts are included for the tapes of Reynolds Lewis, Anna Forbes Liddell, Perry Linton, Hazel M. Richards, and Ben C. Willis.
Papers Concerning the Will of Zephaniah Kingsley, 1844, 1846, 2 items
Relatives of slave-trader and planter Zephaniah Kingsley of Fort George Island, Florida, contested his will after his death in New York City on September 13, 1843. Kingsley was notorious for many reasons, most notably for his marriage to an African princess, Anna Madgigene Jai, and to other lesser wives. In his will, Kingsley sought to provide for his wives and for his mixed-race children and, in so doing, brought on bitter complaints from his relatives who believed it was against public policy to leave one's property to progeny of miscegenation. Ultimately, Kingsley's will was upheld, but the estate was considerably depleted in the meantime by poor administration.
The collection contains two documents concerning the contesting of Zephaniah Kingsley's will. One is the petition made by Martha McNeill and others to Judge Farquhar Bethune, filed November 30, 1844. The other is the answer of Benjamin A. Putnam and Kingsley Beatty Gibbs, executors of the estate, to a petition by Anna M. J. Kingsley, widow of Zephaniah Kingsley, dated September 5, 1846.
Lee, Joseph E., 1849-1920.
Papers, 1876-1920, 2 cubic feet
Joseph E. Lee was a prominent African American attorney, federal officeholder, and Republican Party official from Jacksonville, Florida. He moved to Florida from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1873, and was elected to the state legislature from Duval County in 1875, 1877, and 1879; he was elected to the 18th District of the State Senate in 1881. In 1880 and 1884 he represented Florida at the National Republican Convention.
Lee subsequently held several federally appointed positions including Deputy Internal Revenue Collector and Deputy Collector of Customs. In addition, he was appointed to a Municipal Judgeship in 1888. Active in the Republican Party until his death in 1920, Lee served as secretary of the Florida Republican State Central Committee from 1912 to 1920.
Joseph E. Lee's papers reflect his involvement in various political and legal activities, documenting his tenure as Deputy Collector of Customs and Deputy Collector for Internal Revenue, his association with the Florida Republican Party, and his legal and personal affairs. Political papers include correspondence, minutes of Republican State Conventions, resolutions, and delegate rolls. Collector of Customs and Collector of Internal Revenue papers contain correspondence, receipts and schedules. Legal papers document his Duval County law practice.
Papers, ca. 1967-1995, 2 cubic feet
Eunice Watson Liberty, a retired educator, was born in 1909 in Kissimmee, Florida. She taught in the Dade County school system for forty-two years and was a driving force in including African American history in school curriculum in Dade County. Much of her work was to increase education on and awareness of the contributions made by Mary McLeod Bethune. An early student of Bethune's, Liberty campaigned for schools and a multi-cultural children's community center named for Bethune. She worked with the Dade County Bicentennial Commission to have black history included in the Bicentennial celebrations.
Liberty had a long affiliation with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and served as President of its Miami Chapter. She represented the NCNW on the Metro-Dade Commission on the Status of Women and was very involved in local government. She worked with the county and city commissions as well as the mayor to promote legislation or policy to help her community.
This collection contains the papers of Eunice Watson Liberty documenting her efforts on behalf of children, education, and the community in the Miami area as well as her work with the National Council of Negro Women. The collection consists of correspondence (1967-1992), articles and speeches, newspaper clippings, programs and background materials on the National Council of Negro Women, photographs and miscellaneous materials collected by Ms. Liberty. The correspondence primarily documents Ms. Liberty's attempts to establish a community youth house in honor of Mary McLeod Bethune and the establishment of a Black Archives in Miami.
Reminiscences about Aunt Memory, n.d., 2 items
Terms Governing Use: Until preservation activities have been completed, this collection may not be photocopied.
Aunt Memory Adams was brought to Tallahassee by slave traders in the mid-nineteenth century and remained there for the rest of her life. She was a bondwoman to the Argyle family until emancipation and then earned her living as a house servant for some of Tallahassee's elite families and as a janitor for some downtown businesses. She established a reputation as a reliable and discreet employee and became a favorite of the citizens of the capital city. When she learned that one of her employers, Judge Jesse Bernard, was attending the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, she determined to go there to see what "man had done with the wisdom that God gave him." While there she became a minor celebrity. She returned to Tallahassee and resumed her regular duties until her death a few years later.
This manuscript collection is a reminiscence of Aunt Memory Adams and consists of handwritten anecdotes concerning Aunt Memory in Tallahassee.
Scott, George Washington, 1829-1903.
Papers, 1850-1904, 0.25 cubic foot
George Washington Scott, a prominent merchant, planter, soldier, politician, and industrialist, was born in Alexandria, Pennsylvania on February 22, 1829. Scott visited Florida in 1850 and moved to Quincy the following year. In 1852 Scott moved to Tallahassee, established a mercantile exchange, and became involved in plantation agriculture.
In 1860 Scott enlisted in the Tallahassee Guards, a Leon County militia organization. Upon the formation of the Confederacy he was appointed Captain of Company D, Second Florida Cavalry. Scott organized and was elected lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth Florida Cavalry Battalion in 1863, serving throughout middle and east Florida. Scott's unit participated in the February, 1864 Battle of Olustee and in subsequent actions near Jacksonville. In March 1865 Scott and his men played a prominent roll in the Battle of Natural Bridge, which prevented a Union occupation of the State Capital. Scott's unit surrendered and was paroled at Tallahassee in May 1865.
Returning to his civilian career following the war, Scott briefly entered politics. In 1868 during the turbulent Reconstruction Era, he unsuccessfully ran for Florida governor on the Democratic ticket. He became involved in real estate, cotton manufacturing, and the phosphate industry. In addition, he was a founder of Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Ga., which is named after his mother. Scott died on October 3, 1903 in Atlanta.
These papers document the many facets of the life of George Washington Scott; although the Civil War period is most heavily represented. The collection contains personal and official military correspondence, Civil War reports and hand-drawn maps, a partial muster roll of the Fifth Florida Cavalry, an account of the Battle of Natural Bridge by General William Miller, and other related items. There are also newspaper clippings, genealogical information, and a typescript copy of his diary from 1850-1851. The Civil War maps, hand-drawn by Scott, are also available in photographic prints.
Reproduction Note: Photocopies.
Shaw, Joseph C., b. 1840.
Papers, 1863-1910, 3 cubic feet
Joseph C. Shaw was born in Ohio on February 17, 1840. He initially enlisted in the Sixth Michigan Infantry Regiment before being discharged at Port Hudson, Louisiana in September 1863 to accept a commission in the Fifteenth Regiment Corps d'Afrique. This unit, consisting of black enlisted men with white officers, campaigned in Louisiana until late in the war, when it was transferred to Florida. The organization's nomenclature was later changed to the Ninety-ninth Colored Troops. Shaw's unit campaigned in Florida for the remainder of the war. In March 1865, the regiment was part of the Federal expedition against St. Marks that resulted in the Battle of Natural Bridge. Upon surrender of the Confederacy, the Ninety-ninth served as part of the state's occupying forces until it was mustered out of service in 1866. Part of the unit was stationed at Tallahassee during this time. Among the other locations where Shaw served were Key West, Fort Jefferson, Punta Rassa, Charlotte Harbor, Cedar Key, Perry, and St. Marks.
During the latter part of the war, Joseph Shaw suffered from an illness he contracted while in Louisiana. Due to this illness, Shaw served primarily as Regimental Quartermaster. In June and July 1865, Shaw also served on a courts-martial board at Key West.
This collection contains private and official papers providing information on the administration of a black Union military organization along with details concerning conditions in the Civil War and in the immediate post-Civil war period in Florida. Shaw's official papers primarily concern his actions as Regimental Quartermaster and courts-martial board member and include letters, reports, requisitions, circulars, and orders. A few private letters are included in the collection, most written from family and friends to Shaw. Postwar records document Shaw's efforts to obtain a veteran's pension and to clarify some final paper work with the auditors of his accounts as a quartermaster.
Reproduction Note: Photocopies.
Papers, 1825-1978, 14.50 cubic feet
Brothers Charles A., Ray, and Stuart Simpson came to Florida in the early 1900s and established the Simpson Nursery in Monticello, Florida. Richard H. Simpson, son of Charles A., graduated from the University of Florida and married Dorothy Beall Conrad. Richard Simpson served as mayor of Monticello and in the Florida House of Representatives.
The bulk of this collection consists of personal papers and correspondence, photographs, and business records of the Simpson family as well as papers of the Conrad, Perkins, Palmer, and Finlayson families. The collection includes some miscellaneous books and papers collected by the Simpson family such as railroad pension application papers of Dabney Palmer; an autograph book, late 1800's; slave records, 1842-1858; and a transcript of the parish book of the Presbyterian Church in Monticello, 1864-1879. Six volumes, 1875-1877 and 1904-1934, listing coffin sales by a Jefferson County undertaker provide such information as name, age, and race of the deceased; the cause of death, if known; and cost of the coffin.
Smathers, Bruce A.
Papers, 1970-1974, 28 cubic feet
Bruce A. Smathers represented the Ninth District (Jacksonville) in the Florida Senate from 1972 to 1974, serving on the Ways and Means, Education, and Governmental Operations Committees. Also named to the Special Conference Committee, Smathers helped restore the death penalty to the state's criminal laws in 1972. He was instrumental in reorganizing the state's educational funding.
Born in Miami in 1943, Smathers attended school in Washington, D.C. and Florida, graduated with honors from Yale, and received his law degree from the University of Florida College of Law. He was an Intelligence Officer with the U.S. Navy's elite Underwater Demolition Team (1965-1967) and won honors for his service in Vietnam. Before entering politics, Smathers joined the Duval County's State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville and, subsequently, the firm Moss, Mitchell, and Smathers.
The collection includes personal papers, 1970-1974; Duval-Jacksonville records, 1970-1973; subject files, 1970-1974; and State Senate records, 1972-1974. The collection documents Smathers' commitment to government service and his involvement in a wide variety of economic, social, educational, and political issues.
Among the files in this collection are those regarding social, economic, and rehabilitative matters related to African Americans. Included is correspondence between Smathers and Dr. Richard V. Moore, President of Bethune-Cookman College and a report highlighting twenty-five years of service to the institution. Additional materials include a 1974 appeal by the Florida Black Leaders (FBL) for consideration of Florida A&M University in the state's educational development plan; a report of the Governor's Ad Hoc Task Force on Educational Problems of Florida's Disadvantaged; a plan for equalizing educational opportunity in the state university system (approved by the Board of Regents on June 5, 1973); and a position paper on the "Equalization of Black Studies Along with Anglo Saxon and European Studies—Kindergarten-12."
Methodist Episcopal Church, South. South Gadsden Circuit
Minutes, 1854-1867, 1 volume
The South Gadsden Circuit was part of the Tallahassee District of the Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South was established in 1844 when the question of slavery divided the church into north and south methodism. During Reconstruction, north methodist churches began to flourish in Florida; there were then both north and south methodist conferences in Florida. In 1933, north and south methodism was reunified as the Methodist Conference.
The collection contains the minutes of the quarterly meetings of the Methodist Circuits located in Gadsden and Liberty Counties including the South Gadsden Mission, South Gadsden Circuit, and Liberty Circuit. Also included is a list of preachers for the Gadsden Circuit from 1824-1889, including the first missionary to the negroes, A.C. Bruner and his successors, John J. Richards, I.W. Carlton, James R. Smith, John F. Urquehart, and George W. Pratt. Included in the minutes of the Third Quarterly Conference of the Liberty Circuit (August 11, 1866) are the reports of two "colored sabbath schools."
Reproduction Note: Photocopies.
Sugar Industry Promotional Materials, ca. 1925-1929, 0.25 cubic foot
This collection contains various promotional publications and brochures dealing with the sugar cane industry in Hendry and Palm Beach Counties and real estate development in Citrus and Martin Counties. Included are photographs of African American workers cutting and planting sugar cane.
Papers, 1850-1969, 1 cubic foot
Papers of the Taylor family of Leon and Wakulla counties, and the allied families of Collins, Hatch, Hollingsworth, Grice, Moseley, and Tyler, include correspondence from 1852 to 1960; the account book of Charles Theodore Taylor, 1873; the journal of Elizabeth L. Taylor of Black Creek, which records slave births in the1850s; the journal of Mary C. Taylor, 1920; genealogical papers; and photographs, including some tintypes. Among the photographs is an image of three African American postal employees in Tallahassee. Mentioned in the papers are Barrow Hill (Leon County) and Moseley Hall (Madison County), communities settled by African American families.
Trinity United Methodist Church (Tallahassee,
Records, 1836-1954, 2 microfilm reels (35 mm.)
Trinity Church was established in 1824 as the first Methodist Episcopal church in Tallahassee and one of the first in Florida. A year later, the first church building, a plain wooden structure, was erected on the corner of Bronough and Park streets. The church moved in 1827 to the corner of Duval and Park streets, where a brick structure with a slave gallery and church bell was built. Itinerant clergy served the church until 1828, when Rev. Josiah Freeman became the first permanent pastor. The church is now officially the Trinity United Methodist Church and is in the same location, although a new church was built in 1964.
Records of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee include registers of membership (1836-1837, 1856-1877, 1899-1954), deaths (1876), marriages (1899-1954), baptisms (1899-1954), and pastors (1897-1950), and a church history. The records document a land transaction in which title to Lots 281 and 282 were given to the colored Methodist Church, and the purchase of St. James Methodist Church, "for the use of the colored brethren."
United Faculty of Florida.
Records, 1969-1982, 32 cubic feet
Restricted: All transcripts of tapes or portions thereof will be released only upon explicit written permission of the donor or upon his death.
The United Faculty of Florida is the union that represents higher education teachers and personnel in Florida. The group is affiliated with the Florida Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the AFL-CLO. It was chartered in 1975 by the Florida Education Association and was certified by the Department of State in 1976 as a committee of continuing existence. Several chapters around the state represent various state universities.
The records of the United Faculty of Florida include correspondence, minutes, memoranda, reports, newsletters, newspaper clippings, membership lists, and grievances. Particular attention is given to collective bargaining and the union's ongoing discord with the Board of Regents.
Whitfield, James Bryan, 1860-1948.
Papers, ca. 1906-1948, 3 cubic feet
Originally of Wayne County, North Carolina, James B. Whitfield came to Florida as a boy, when his father started a cotton plantation in Leon County. Beginning in 1889, he was clerk of the Florida Supreme Court for eight years. He was appointed State Treasurer in 1897 and Attorney General in 1903. In 1904, he was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court, and a year later became Chief Justice of that court. Whitfield served on the court until 1943.
The collection includes some correspondence, including letters from Theodore Roosevelt, William D. Bloxham, R. A. Gray, and Millard F. Caldwell. Whitfield's manuscripts touch on numerous aspects and incidents of Florida history. There are biographical sketches of the "colored" legislators and participants in the Constitutional Convention of 1868. Mentioned are John E. Proctor of Leon County, and Jonathan C. Gibbs, Secretary of State under Governor Reed. Gibbs' son, Thomas V. Gibbs, served as a member of the House of Representatives (1885-1887). There is an account of the Dade Massacre by A.H. Roberts and Fred P. Cubberly describing the resistance of the Seminole Indians to their removal from the state to a western reservation. It is noted that a large number of runaway slaves joined the Indians in this attack and played a significant role in it.
Williams, Daniel Mortimer, 1890-1969.
Biographical Records on Mary McLeod Bethune, ca. 1890-1960.
1.25 cubic foot
Daniel Mortimer Williams was born in 1890 in Childress, Texas. He worked on newspapers in Texas, New York and Washington, D.C. and was chief editorial writer for the World-Telegram in the early 1930s. He also covered the White House and State Department for Trans-Radio Press during World War II. Williams planned to write a biography of Mary McLeod Bethune and accumulated photographs, publications and newspaper clippings for the book. He conducted several interviews with Ms. Bethune in the summer of 1946 though the biography was never completed. Williams died in 1969.
Mary McLeod Bethune was born Mary Jane McLeod on July 10, 1875 in Mayesville, South Carolina. After being sponsored at a mission school in South Carolina and receiving a scholarship to Moody Bible Institute, she moved to Daytona Beach in 1904 to begin her own school. Her one room school became the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls and taught reading, writing, and home economics. Her school grew over the years until its 1923 merger with Cookman Institute, a school for boys. The merged schools became known as Bethune-Cookman College and continued operating in Daytona Beach, where it is still located today.
The collection consists of Williams' records documenting the life of Mary McLeod Bethune, including transcripts of interviews with Bethune, letters, and drafts of sections of the biography. The records document the Daytona School and Bethune-Cookman College as well as Bethune's involvement with the National Council for Negro Women. Also included are thirty photographs, which depict Bethune, her Daytona Beach schools, and Bethune Cookman College.
WLRN (Radio Station: Miami, Fla.)
"Straight Talk With Audrey Finkelstein" Civil Rights Radio
Series Audio Cassettes, 1997, 7 items
In 1997, public radio stations around the United States aired "Will the Circle be Unbroken", a nationally syndicated series about the American civil rights movement. To complement this series, Audrey Finkelstein developed a companion six-part series about South Florida's struggle for desegregation for her weekly half-hour interview program "Straight Talk with Audrey Finkelstein" on WLRN, a South Florida public radio station. The WLRN series aired from May 1 - June 12, 1997, with the addition of a seventh broadcast (June 12) bringing listeners up to date on the current situation.
This collection is comprised of seven audio cassette tapes of the WLRN public radio broadcasts on "Straight Talk with Audrey Finkelstein" concerning the civil rights movement in South Florida/Dade County. The broadcasts featured conversations with some of the individuals, black and white, who took part in South Florida's struggle for racial integration.
"Forming the Circle," airing May 1, 1997, focused on the formation of the local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Local activists aimed to desegregate public schools and public accommodations such as department store lunch counters. Discussants were Dr. John O. Brown, CORE Project Director and a parent of African American children in a segregated white school, and Senator Jack Gordon, a white desegregation activist.
"Extending and Putting Teeth in the Circle," airing May 8, 1997, focused on efforts to extend desegregation through legal challenges. Discussants were A. D. Moore, who was the second president of Miami CORE and its national treasurer, and who paid fines of arrested protestors including Martin Luther King, Jr.; Howard Dixon, CORE's legal services director who represented Florida A&M University and its student protestors; and Shirley Zoloth, who walked hand-in-hand with a black child to a segregated school.
"Circle Within a Circle," airing May 15, 1997, focused on daily life experiences of African Americans in a segregated, discriminatory society. Discussants were Thelma Gibson, a registered nurse, and Eugenia Thomas, a community participant and first African American president of the Florida P.T.A., both of whom experienced racial discrimination early in their careers which drove each of them to perfection in their work.
"The Outside Inside Circle," airing May 22, 1997, focused on early attempts to desegregate the schools, with discussants Ruth Admire, Janet McAliley, and Gloria Simmons, African American parents who relate the experiences of their children and themselves in the early days of school desegregation.
"The Efforts to be Encircled," airing May 29, 1997, focused on the challenges faced by the first African American students to enter Edison Middle School, a white school. Discussants were three of those African American students: Jacqui Colyer, Gayla Brown Munnings, and Diana Dyes Paschal.
"The Circle - A Necklace or a Nuisance," airing June 5, 1997, continued the focus on desegregation of public schools. Discussants were individuals who experienced first-hand the effects of early desegregation efforts: attorney Darryl Payne, a white elementary school student in a predominantly black school; Judge Leah Simms, for two years the only African American student in Robert E. Lee Junior High School; and attorney Detra Shaw, an African American student who was bused to desegregated schools.
The seventh part of the series, an "epilogue" aired on June 12, 1997, focused on the current situation in Miami, a city that many consider to be one of the most highly segregated in the country. Discussants were Dr. Gordon Foster, retired head of the
Desegregation Center, Southern District, who discussed the status of racial integration in the schools; and Harriet Simmons, program director of HOPE (Housing Opportunities Projects for Excellence), who discussed housing and neighborhood experiences and discrimination.
Originals (master tapes) held by WLRN Public Radio, Miami, Florida.