Opening January 26, 2020
In the era of Reconstruction, Florida’s leaders, like many in the South, worked to keep African-Americans “in their place.” Elite whites believed profits -- in agriculture, timber, phosphate mining, turpentine, and tourism -- depended on cheap, Black labor. Laws were passed prohibiting Blacks from quitting their jobs or moving to other areas for better employment, while vagrancy and “after-dark” laws also limited mobility. Blacks were seen as a threat to Florida’s growing tourism industry, and were banned from beaches. And suppression of voter rights and educational equality, coupled with violent intimidation, further restricted liberties.
Yet Black Floridians never gave up working and organizing, culminating in the great struggle for Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s. Now, The Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center is proud to welcome a traveling exhibition – Civil Rights in the Sunshine State – which tells the story of the heroic fight for equality, from post-slavery to the present day.
This lavishly illustrated exhibit, created by the Florida Museum of History, Tallahassee, features multiple panels of text and historic photos. Ideal for families, school groups, and anyone interested in Florida history. Accompanied by monthly talks on often overlooked events in Florida's past.