Produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this rich and engaging exhibit explores the struggle of African Americans for equality in Florida from the end of Reconstruction (1877) through the 1970s. It examines the deep history of black activism in the state and reveals the multi-generational effort of men and women whose courage and sacrifice ended centuries of institutionalized racism. Civil Rights in the Sunshine State is one of the first attempts to view the Florida civil rights movement through a statewide lens. From Miami to Tallahassee and St. Petersburg to St. Augustine, the Florida movement is explored at the local, state, and national levels.
This exhibit is on display in the Cotilla Gallery at the Alvin Sherman Library from January 21 to March 12, 2022.
The presentations that occurred in conjunction with this exhibit may be viewed by clicking each link below.
Janay Joseph and Tara Chadwick
Prior to the 1961 Wade-ins on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and a landmark district case, public facilities in Broward county were segregated. Eula Johnson was the first woman president of the Broward chapter of the NAACP. Johnson, along with Dr. Von D. Mizell coordinated and organized a series of protests called the "Wade-ins" in the summer of 1961 to desegregate the beaches. Both faced white supremacist backlash during and after the protests. The City of Fort Lauderdale eventually sued Johnson and Mizell for "disturbing the peace" during their demonstrations. Johnson and Mizell won their case, which set the precedent for the future desegregation of Broward county. This talk will be led by Janay Joseph and Tara Chadwick on Johnson's legacy, and the work that can be done today within our current political climate. A preview of the documentary short film "She Had A Dream: Eula Johnson's Fight to Desegregate Broward County" will also be featured, along with a discussion on the research and production of the film.
According to records maintained by the NAACP, between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,743 documented cases of lynching across the United States, with the majority of victims being African American. A combination of their frequency and the system of white supremacy which condoned these mob killings ensured that most victims were soon forgotten. The case of Rubin Stacy, who was lynched by a mob in 1935 on what is today the corner of Davie Boulevard and SW 31st Avenue, stands out though because it was a recorded in a number of searing photographs taken that day. From the NAACP fliers that used these images in support of its anti-lynching campaign to the recent decision of the City of Fort Lauderdale to rename a stretch of Davie Boulevard in his memory, this talk will revisit the story of Rubin Stacy's murder and photographs which propelled it to national attention.