Florida Thought Police

Haile Homestead near Gainesville, Florida

In less than three days time, the Florida legislature has passed legislation whose purpose it clearly to rewrite history and control what is taught in public schools. The so-called “Stop Woke Act” prohibits any teaching that could make students feel they bear personal responsibility for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex or national origin and goes so far as to intrude into private business by prohibiting employment practices or training programs that make an individual feel guilty on similar grounds and could be considered an unlawful employment practice — and subject a company to a lawsuit as a civil rights violation. The bill serves to absolve white people of any responsibility for Florida’s history of racism.

My purpose here is not to provide a comprehensive news article regarding state sponsored thought control in Florida, but instead to provide an entre to a series of photo/articles that I plan to publish highlighting instances in Florida history that should, indeed, cause members of the white majority to bear personal responsibility for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex or national origin. There is a huge amount of such history available to discuss and I will begin with:

Newberry Florida 1916 Lynching

Pleasant Prairie Cemetery where three of the lynching victims are buried. Photography by author.

On August 19, 1916, six (or seven-records differ) African Americans; including a pregnant woman, were lynched near Newberry Florida. The following photographs of the historical marker found at the cemetery tell the story.

Front of Historical Marker — photograph by author
Back of Historical Marker — photograph by author

The historical marker is located at the entrance to the cemetery pictured above, which is found down an obscure one-track dirt road in a semi-rural area, which assures that very few people will ever see it and read of this event in Florida history. It is certainly possible that the sign was located largely out of site because many people in the South still refuse to acknowledge what history tells us of racism and would prefer that such events go unnoticed.

However; there is now a new marker recently erected in a small park within a new subdivision of Newberry at the site known as Lynch Hammock where not only the 1916 lynching took place, but also multiple others. The “hanging tree” is no longer there and the author suspects the actual site is a few blocks away in a field with numerous large oaks. Between the end of the civil war and 1950 dozens of racial lynchings occurred in Alachua County with almost 400 documented in Florida. The lynchings were an extreme form or racial terrorism designed to intimidate and drive away the black people who were trying to establish homes, farms and businesses in the area. These acts of terror are known to have been tolerated and supported by legislators, law enforcement officials, judges and mobs of all sorts. Although these events are documented in historic documents and occasionally made visible on historic markers and monuments, the Florida legislature and governor feel the need to pass laws to further obscure these acts of terror. These things did happen and history should provide an honest appraisal of them regardless if anyone is made uncomfortable by the truth or not.

Web-3 and crypto enthusiast, photographer, vegetarian, animal rights supporter, reader, citizen of the universe

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Craig Walters

Craig Walters

Web-3 and crypto enthusiast, photographer, vegetarian, animal rights supporter, reader, citizen of the universe

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