In October 1956, Dr. Deborah Coggins, health officer for Madison, Jefferson, and Taylor counties, sat down to lunch in Madison, Florida, with a public health nurse to discuss a matter of mutual official concern. Because of their busy schedules the lunch hour was the only mutually available time for the meeting. But since the doctor was white and the nurse black, the business luncheon led to the dismissal of the doctor by indignant commissioners of the three counties. Her “breach of social tradition” had been so serious, according to the commissioners, that it rendered her unfit to continue in the office to which she had been appointed about six months earlier. While Governor LeRoy Collins disagreed, and incensed citizens of South Florida condemned the commissioners, most white North Floridians nodded approval. As they saw it, Dr. Coggins had violated one of the strictest taboos of her community when “she ate with the darkies.” As a native of Tampa married to a descendant of an old Madison County family, she should have known better.
Shofner, Jerrell H.
"Custom, Law, and History: The Enduring Influence of Florida's "Black Code","
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 55:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol55/iss3/4