Mark Newman


In recent years, scholars have revised the traditional interpretation of Florida as being more moderate and progressive during the civil rights era than other southern states. They have also challenged the view that an influx of white northern migrants to south Florida made the region and state more amenable to desegregation. According to recent scholarship, even after state government officials reluctantly desegregated public accommodations as a result of the federal Civil Rights Act of l964, in south Florida, as elsewhere in the South, whites and African Americans remained largely residentially separate. Disputes over these issues had other ramifications as well. Not only did Florida have an entrenched history of segregation and racial violence targeting African Americans, it also had a history of anti-Catholicism that encouraged Catholic prelates and clergy to avoid the inflammatory issue of race and to segregate their churches and schools in line with secular institutions.1