Tameka Hobbs - Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida - Gables

05/23/2017, 06:30 pm
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Coral Gables, FL
(305) 442-4408
Winner of the Florida Book Award for Florida Nonfiction, Bronze Winner of the Florida Historical Society’s Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Award “Hobbs unearths four lynchings that are critical to the understanding of the origins of civil rights in Florida. The oral histories from the victims’ families and those in the communities make this a valuable contribution to African American, Florida, and civil rights history.”—Derrick E. White, author of The Challenge of Blackness “A compelling reminder of just how troubling and violent the Sunshine State’s racial past has been. A must read.”—Irvin D.S. Winsboro, editor of Old South, New South, or Down South? Florida is frequently viewed as an atypical southern state—more progressive and culturally diverse—but, when examined in proportion to the number of African American residents, it suffered more lynchings than any of its Deep South neighbors during the Jim Crow era. Investigating this dark period of the state’s history and focusing on a rash of anti-black violence that took place during the 1940s, Tameka Hobbs explores the reasons why lynchings continued in Florida when they were starting to wane elsewhere. She contextualizes the murders within the era of World War II, contrasting the desire of the United States to broadcast the benefits of its democracy abroad while at home it struggled to provide legal protection to its African American citizens. As involvement in the global war deepened and rhetoric against Axis powers heightened, the nation’s leaders became increasingly aware of the blemish left by extralegal violence on America’s reputation. Ultimately, Hobbs argues, the international implications of these four murders, along with other antiblack violence around the nation, increased pressure not only on public officials in Florida to protect the civil rights of African Americans in the state but also on the federal government to become more active in prosecuting racial violence. About the Author: Tameka Bradley Hobbs is an Assistant Professor of History, Interim Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, and University Historian for Florida Memorial University, the only Historically Black University in South Florida. She earned her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University, and her doctoral degree in United States History, and Historical Administration and Public History from Florida State University. In addition to her teaching experience, Hobbs has served as a researcher, writer, consultant, and director for a number of public and oral history projects in Florida and Virginia, including the African American Trailblazers in Virginia History Program, a statewide educational program focused on celebrating African American History. Her professional experience includes serving as Director of Projects and Program for the John G. Riley Museum and Center of African American History and Culture, located in Tallahassee, Florida. After relocating to Virginia, between 2006 and 2007, Hobbs worked as the historian and coordinator of the Valentine Richmond History Center’s Richmond History Gallery Project. Her book, Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida, was published by the University Press of Florida and has been awarded bronze medal for the 2015 Florida Book Award for Florida Nonfiction., and the 2016 Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Award from the Florida Historical Society. In the work, Hobbs uses a combination of primary source documents and oral testimonies to bring the voices of African American witnesses and survivors into the retelling of these incidents. Beyond that, the work also attempts to place the four lynchings examined in this study within the context of the overall arc of the “lynching era” in the United States, normal dated between 1882 and 1930, as these instances of extralegal violence became more sporadic. She theorizes that, in part, this reduction comes about due to U.S. involvement in World War II, and the dissonance between the image of democratic perfection that America’s leaders wanted to project to the world, and the sad reality of continuing violence and the deprivation of civil rights experienced by the nation’s black citizens. Event date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 6:30pm

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