African American History in Florida

    By Lauren Tjaden

    African American history in Florida includes stories of heroes who shattered barriers, like Pensacola native “Chappie” James, who in 1975 became the first black four-star general in American military history.

    James flew 101 combat missions as a fighter pilot in Korea, 78 more in Vietnam, and was decorated for valor and air tactics. And then there’s this: On the U.S. Air Force base in Libya under Chappie’s command, he personally forced dictator Moammar Khadafi to withdraw from the grounds, using a .45 semi-automatic to strengthen his argument.

    African American history in Florida includes tragedies, too, including “Ax Handle Saturday” in 1960, where members of the Youth Council were ferociously attacked by segregationists equipped with axe handles and baseball bats because they’d taken part in numerous sit-ins at the lunch counters of several downtown Jacksonville department stores. The notoriety of this event played a large part in ending segregation and improving race relations in Jacksonville.

    Check out the following articles and videos to discover African American historic sites, people of note, events, museums and destinations all around Florida.

    Wells' Built Museum: Highlighting Orlando's African-American History

    African-American History in Miami’s Overtown

    Celebrate Jackie Robinson's Legacy in Daytona Beach

    Hannibal Square Heritage Center of Winter Park: Pride & Progress

    Key West’s Unique African Refugee Cemetery

    Greenville: The Hometown of Ray Charles

    First Florida State Park Named for African Americans

    Celebrating History and Culture at ZORA! Fest in Eatonville

    Zora Neale Hurston’s Eatonville (w/video)

    African-American History and Culture in Miami’s Overtown

    Now’s the Time to Visit Little Haiti, on the Brink of Change

    Finding African-American History, and Florida’s Angola Community

    African-American History in St. Petersburg’s Deuces Neighborhood

    Pensacola’s African-American Roots

    5 Great Places to Explore Florida's Unique Black Heritage

    Bealsville:, A Florida Story of Drive and Determination

    African-American History in St., Augustine's Lincolnville Neighborhood

    3 ‘Conch Towns’ Where Florida’s Bahamian Culture Thrives

    Explore Florida’s Black Heritage Trail

    Guide to African-American Heritage Landmarks and Historic Sites in Florida

    Places to Remember

    SPONSORS & PARTNERS