Florida history

The South Florida sun appeals to almost everyone: tourists, snowbirds, even embattled prime ministers looking to unwind after saving a nation from the threat of a Nazi invasion. After the end of World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his Conservative Party lost the elections of 1945, forcing Churchill to resign as prime minister.

statue
Mike Stocker / The Sun Sentinel via The Miami Herald

  The statue of Broward County’s namesake stands in its courthouse no more. 

The figure of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward II was removed quietly Wednesday night, after excerpts from a speech the former Florida governor gave surfaced on an online blog to reveal segregationist views. 

 

In Broward’s State of the State address to the Legislature in 1907, he called for the creation of a separate country for blacks, saying he considered them to be  “wards of the white people.” 

As Jacksonville residents grapple with whether to remove the city’s Confederate monuments a group of area high school students are offering a more conciliatory alternative to the normally fractious debate among adults.


Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County announced this week plans to reconfigure a dog park in Key West believed to be above the graves of Africans who were rescued from the slave trade in 1860.

The dog playground is across the street from an area already recognized as a burial yard.

While slavery was still legal in the U.S. in 1860, importing them was outlawed in 1807.

“But people kept doing it, especially Americans,” said Corey Malcom, director of archaeology for the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West.

Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) wants to roll back Florida’s confederate holiday observances.

A South Florida Senator is trying again to send a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune to represent Florida in Washington D.C’s Statuary Hall.  The current statue is confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith.

Warren Browne / Discovery YMCA

Twenty-five years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew destroyed the Homestead area- including many of its daycare centers.

That’s when Sue Loyzelle stepped in.

She was the director of the local YMCA at the time. After the storm, she was tasked by the city to establish an emergency daycare center at Harris Field--right by the Air Force base in Homestead.

WLRN spoke to Loyzelle at the opening of HistoryMiami's Hurricane Andrew: 25 Years Later exhibit in our Miami Stories audio recording booth. Below is what she told us in the booth: 

Twenty-five years ago, Hurricane Andrew hurtled through South Florida. The Category 5 storm uprooted trees, washed boats ashore and destroyed thousands of homes. It caused an estimated $25 billion in damage.

But the hurricane didn't scare Kendall resident Camille Grace, a 47-year-old who worked in sales for Cayman Airways and taught night school. She put her storm shutters up and filled her two bath tubs with water in case she lost access to the precious liquid during the storm. 

Marcia Brod

Lenny and Marcia Brod clearly remember one sleepless night 25 years ago. It was the eve of Hurricane Andrew.

“We were novices,” said Marcia Brod, 67. “It was a first time any kind of hurricane was coming through that was significant.”

In 1992, they were raising their two kids in a new home located on 128th Street and Southwest 107th Avenue in Miami. They had barely planned for the Category 5 storm hurling toward South Florida. 

HistoryMiami

25 years ago when Hurricane Andrew hit Miami, Lance O’Brian and his friend decided to wait out the storm in Miami Beach. Both surfers, they hoped to catch some good waves once the storm had passed.

HistoryMiami museum folklorist Vanessa Navarro spoke with O'Brian as part of a HistoryMiami research project called “What Makes Miami Miami?” The Florida Folklife Program, a component of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, directed the project. Below is an edited excerpt of his interview:

NOAA

If a hurricane hit today, Isaias Torres and Leah Richter Torres would be together. They're married and just had a baby girl.

But 25 years ago, they were in completely different places.

Isaias, then a 13-year-old on his way into eighth grade, lived with his mom. During the storm, his parents, who had recently divorced, came together under one roof in Hialeah.

Leah, then 17, was on her way to study environmental engineering at the University of Florida. Her mom, dad and two little sisters got into the car to drive her to Gainesville the Friday before Andrew.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

Growing up in Miami, Nanci Mitchell has been through a lot of hurricanes.

“I remember in high school, sitting on the back porch in the middle of one of the hurricanes, just screened in, and it was just neat watching the storm,” she said. “It was no big deal.”

But Hurricane Andrew was a different story.

In a conversation with her sister-in-law, who lived out of state, Mitchell, then 47, confessed that Andrew “was unlike any other.”

“There was nothing like this hurricane,” she said. 

The Confederate statue at the county courthouse in downtown Tampa may not be moving after all. Hillsborough County Commissioners are now asking the public to pay for it.

St. Pete Mayor Orders Removal Of Confederate Marker

Aug 16, 2017

The mayor of St. Petersburg has ordered the removal of a stone marker erected in 1939 to commemorate Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

Key West Art & Historical Society

Twenty-five years before the Spanish-American War,  the two countries bristled at each other across the Florida Straits, with a show of American Naval force assembled in Key West.

The Virginius Affair centered around the 1873 capture of an American ship that was helping Cuban rebels during the Ten Years War, an unsuccessful attempt to throw off Spanish rule from the island.

The Virginius was originally a Confederate blockade runner during the American Civil War. In the 1870s, it was carrying weapons to Cuban rebels. It was crewed by American and British citizens.

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