In 1845, as Florida joined the Union, the state legislature promulgated a law which stated that any "assemblies ... by free negroes and mulattoes, slave or slaves, shall be punished ... with a fine not exceeding twenty dollars, or stripes, not exceeding thirty-nine." This measure, along with extensive and punitive slave codes, virtually eliminated opportunities to establish African American schools in the newest slaveholding state. Florida, true to the code of the white South, wanted to eliminate opportunities for slaves and free blacks to congregate and to pursue education for their children. Although based on the pervasive racial norms of the antebellum South, white Floridians' efforts to deprive African Americans of equal-opportunity education would last through the modern civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. This study will chronicle that educational inequality and explore how the Sunshine State's reputed exceptionalism in the Deep South, as reported in the press, the media, and the literature, may not, in fact, match its actual record.
Winsboro, Irvin D. S.
"Race, Education, and Regionalism: The Long and Troubling History of School Desegregation in the Sunshine State,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 92:
4, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol92/iss4/5