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.
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