By Tameka Bradley Hobbs
“A compelling reminder of simply how troubling and violent the light State’s racial previous has been. A needs to read.”—Irvin D.S. Winsboro, editor of Old South, New South, or Down South?
Florida is usually seen as an strange southern state—more revolutionary and culturally diverse—but, while tested in share to the variety of African American citizens, it suffered extra lynchings than any of its Deep South buddies throughout the Jim Crow era.
Investigating this darkish interval of the state’s heritage and targeting a rash of anti-black violence that came about throughout the Forties, Tameka Hobbs explores the explanations why lynchings persisted in Florida once they have been commencing to wane in different places. She contextualizes the murders in the period of global struggle II, contrasting the need of the us to broadcast some great benefits of its democracy overseas whereas at domestic it struggled to supply felony defense to its African American citizens.
As involvement within the international warfare deepened and rhetoric opposed to Axis powers heightened, the nation’s leaders grew to become more and more conscious of the blemish left by means of extralegal violence on America’s acceptance. eventually, Hobbs argues, the foreign implications of those 4 murders, in addition to different antiblack violence round the country, elevated strain not just on public officers in Florida to guard the civil rights of African americans within the nation but additionally at the federal govt to develop into extra lively in prosecuting racial violence.
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Extra resources for Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida
Racial violence had blotted the state’s record frequently during the previous decade, which witnessed a total of fifteen lynchings, including the gruesome killing of Claude Neal in 1934, which earned Florida notoriety as the scene of the largest mass or “spectacle” lynching in the nation’s recent memory. Throughout the 1930s, newspapers across the nation increasingly reported the grisly extralegal murders in the South. The heightened awareness of southern atrocities by people living above the Mason-Dixon Line brought 34 Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home unwanted criticism and outrage from outside the region.
Unlike with the previous war when the nation’s blacks were encouraged to “close ranks” with their white countrymen and women and put aside their agitation for civil rights in favor of supporting the war effort, this time they were determined to keep their eyes on their prize. ”69 The war mobilization of 1941 marked a transitional period for most of the South, and Florida was no exception. The war boom profoundly affected the state, as it became a major training center for naval and aviation forces, witnessing an influx of both black and white soldiers.
This was not a run-of-the-mill lynching. 57 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offered a reward to anyone who could identify Shoemaker’s assailants. A group of New York–based civil rights and labor organizations, including the ILD and the NAACP, banned together under the umbrella of the Committee for the Defense of Civil Rights in Tampa. 58 After the indictments and successful convictions of six of the attackers in 1936, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a new trial for the defendants. Predictably, the men were acquitted after the second round of trials in 1937.
Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida by Tameka Bradley Hobbs