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University Press of Florida Early 2024 Releases

University Press of Florida early 2024 releases. Click the link to be taken to the spring and summer 2024 UPF catalog.


University Press of Florida early 2024 releases. Click the link to be taken to the spring and summer 2024 UPF catalog.
The University Press  of Florida have announced their early 2024 releases. Their spring and summer 2024 catalog is now available online for review.

As the official publisher for the State University System, the University Press of Florida (UPF) has been engaging educators, students, and discerning readers since 1945. UPF has published over 2,500 volumes since its inception and currently releases nearly 100 new titles each year. Upholding the values of their affiliate institutions of higher learning, UPF encourages the pursuit of truth, meaning, and self-determination while promoting interaction and a sense of community. The University Press of Florida continues to sow the newest seeds of scholarship while preserving important voices from the past.

 

During the March through August time frame, twenty-four titles are scheduled for release. Seventeen titles will be reprinted in paperback format.

Some of the highlights of the University Press of Florida early 2024 releases include the following.

New Releases for 2024

Sunshine State Mafia University Press of Florida early 2024 releasesSunshine State Mafia written by Doug Kelly. ISBN 978-0813080482, $28.

A vivid, wild ride through a century of Mafia lore, this book tells stories of organized crime rings that have settled in Florida and made the state their base of operations for bootlegging, gambling, extortion, money laundering, and drug running. Sunshine State Mafia divulges the hidden history of the mob from the Keys to Pensacola and Jacksonville.

 

 

 

 

 

Selling Vero Beach University Press of Florida early 2024 releasesSelling Vero Beach: Settler Myth in the Land of the Ais and Seminoles written by Kristalyn Marie Shefveland. ISBN 978-0813080536. $29.95

In this book, Kristalyn Shefveland describes how in the Gilded Age, Indian River Farms Company and other boosters painted the region as a wild frontier, conveniently accessible by train via Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway. Shefveland provides an overview of local Aís and Seminole histories. These were rewritten by salespeople, and illustrate how agricultural companies used Native peoples as motifs on their fruit products. The book includes never-before-published letters between Vero Beach entrepreneur Waldo Sexton and writer Zora Neale Hurston. These letters highlight Sexton’s interest in story-spinning and sales.

 

 

 

James HudsonJames Hudson: Forgotten Forerunner in the Crusade for Civil Rights written by Larry Omar Rivers. ISBN hardcover 978-0813079103, ISBN paperback 978-0813080642. $90 in hardcover, $35 in paperback

Drawing on little-used primary source documents and original interviews with people who knew Hudson well, Rivers examines how Hudson’s training at Morehouse College, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, and Boston University shaped his scholar-activism, including his decision to become a Personalist philosopher. As Rivers shows, Hudson crafted an influential philosophy of life—a blend of Socratic inquiry, moral imagination, African American spirituality, and Gandhian nonviolence—that became an essential foundation for the rise of King, another Personalist philosopher. The book also sheds new light on the connections between the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and the lesser-known 1956 Tallahassee Bus Boycott, which together helped spark the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

 

Archaeology of Contemporary America University Press of Florida early 2024 releasesThe Archaeology of Contemporary America written by William R. Caraher. ISBN 978-0813069968. $85.

Opening with a case study of the excavation of Atari games from a municipal landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico, Caraher invites readers into discussions of the archaeology of garbage, consumer objects, and digital music and video devices. He then synthesizes research on migrant camps, homelessness, military bases, residential school campuses, and urbanism, and offers a second case study: an examination of temporary workforce housing in North Dakota’s Bakken oil boom.

 

 

 

Candy You Ate As A Kid

Now available in paperback

Florida's Peace River FrontierFlorida’s Peace River Frontier written by Canter Brown, Jr. ISBN 978-0813080604. $29.95.

For most of the nineteenth century, southwest Florida and the Peace River Valley remained a frontier as unknown to outsiders as the frontiers of the American West. In this book, Canter Brown, Jr. records the area’s economic, social, political, and racial history in an account of violence, passion, struggle, sacrifice, and determination.

Using such primary materials as government records, manuscript collections, and newspapers published throughout the country, Brown documents the presence of Native Americans and African Americans in the area in the aftermath of the First Seminole War. He examines the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, paying particular attention to the Union/Confederate, Republican/Democratic split among the area’s residents. In the final sections of the book he describes the arrival of the railroad and the growth of towns. The phosphate boom, and consequences of the Great Freeze of 1895 are also discussed.

 

Show Thyself a ManShow Thyself a Man: Georgia State Troops, Colored, 1865-1905 written by Gregory Mixon. ISBN 978-0813080628. $31.95.

In Show Thyself a Man, Gregory Mixon explores the ways in which African Americans in postbellum Georgia used militia service after the Civil War to define freedom and citizenship. Independent militias empowered them to get involved in politics, secure their own financial independence, and mobilize for self-defense.

 

 

 

To see other posts of mine with University Press of Florida content, please click THIS LINK.

 

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Civil Rights in Florida New Smyrna Museum of History

Civil Rights in Florida published by Arcadia Publishing

Civil Rights in Florida published by Arcadia PublishingJoin me at the New Smyrna Museum of History on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at either 4:30p or 6:30p for a discussion of my newest book, Civil Rights in Florida. Admission to the museum and talk are free for members, or $8 for future members.

Published in November 2023 by Arcadia Publishing, this book covers woman’s suffrage, the Tallahassee Bus Boycott, Jackie Robinson, St. Augustine in 1964, and women’s rights pioneer Roxcy O’Neal Bolton.

Civil Rights in Florida is a subject that is under constant watch. Learn about some of the past struggles the state has played a part in.

Learn about how Major League Baseball honors Jackie Robinson each year at this post on my blog.

This post may contain affiliate links including links to Amazon. 

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George Nock: NFL Player and Professional Artist

Breaking Barriers image courtesy Ted Haddock

George Nock—NFL Player and Artist

Sometimes it takes a while before an individual finds their true calling in life. For George Nock he grew up with art before taking a slight detour toward the world of college and professional football, before returning to his real love and talent, art. George Nock was a college star, NFL player, and later a professional artist.

Born March 4, 1946, in Baltimore, and raised in Philadelphia, Nock came from a big city background and lived a big city life.

George Nock courtesy Morgan State Athletics.Nock was a college football star, NFL player, and professional artist.
George Nock courtesy Morgan State Athletics. Nock stared in college football, played in the NFL, and returned to his true love, becoming a professional artist.

Nock excelled at both art and athletics during his early years. Even in his earliest years he was drawing and during junior high he crossed paths with two mentors who had a distinct influence on his life path. African American artists and educators William Tasker and John Battle III allowed George to excel in his coursework and even provided weekend lessons at the Fleischer Art Memorial. While still interested in art, Nock began to focus energies on sports during high school.

Nock attended Morgan State College (now University after 1975), where he and the Bears had several memorable moments during his career there. During the 1965 Orange Blossom Classic, facing Florida A&M, Nock returned a punt for a touchdown and the Bears defeated the Wildcats 36-7.

George Nock, Morgan State running back image courtesy Morgan State Athletics. Nock would later go on to a career in the NFL before becoming a professional artist.
George Nock, Morgan State running back. Image courtesy Morgan State Athletics

The following year, Nock and the Bears played in the first bowl game where a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) won an integrated game. Morgan State College defeated the West Chester Golden Rams by a final score of 14-6, in the Tangerine Bowl (now called the Citrus Bowl) in Orlando, FL, capping off an undefeated season at 8-0.

Several Morgan State players from the 1966 team went on to NFL careers including Tangerine Bowl MVP, Willie Lanier, Bob Wade, Baryl Johnson, Alvin Mitchell, Jeff Queen, and Nock. Lanier went on to be a star in the league, playing in 149 games, intercepting twenty-seven passes, and recovering eighteen fumbles in an eleven-year career. He was an eight-time all-pro, went to the Pro Bowl six times, was selected to both the 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time teams, and had his number retired by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

Candy You Ate As A Kid

 

George Nock was an NFL player and professional artist. This image from his NFL career is courtesy New York Jets
George Nock in action for the New York Jets. Image courtesy New York Jets.

Nock’s college career was strong enough to invite interest from the NFL, and in the 1969 draft he was taken by the New York Jets in the 16th round, the 416th player taken overall. Being drafted that low, it was a struggle to make the team, but he did, playing alongside quarterback Joe Namath. He only played in two games that season and totaled negative five rushing yards.

While Nock’s numbers were not strong, the team ended the regular season with a 10-4 record, good enough to make it to the playoffs where they would lose to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The young Nock came back strong in the 1970 season, not just earning a roster spot but playing in all fourteen games, starting in nine. He finished second on the team in rushing yards with 402 and also caught eighteen passes for an additional 146 yards. Combined he scored six touchdowns. This was certainly a solid year, but the team was poor. Namath broke his wrist in the fifth game of the season and the team finished a dreadful 4-10.

Nock was to play one more season with the Jets. In 1971 he played in all fourteen games and totaled 137 rushing yards, 44 pass reception yards, and scored five touchdowns.

In 1972 he moved on to the Washington Redskins where in his final year in the league, he played in only seven games, cut down due to injury. He ran for twenty-two yards and caught no passes. The Redskins went to Super Bowl VII but were defeated by the undefeated Miami Dolphins.

Nock did not play in the 1973 season due to injury and was later traded to the Baltimore Colts. He was to later file suit against the Redskins for negligent treatment by team physician Dr. P.M. Palumbo, Jr.


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In a post-career interview posted on the Washington Commanders website, in discussing how he transitioned from football to art, Nock stated, “I was always drawing and doing something related to the arts. I pursued it in a way that could be considered a career at the time, [but] I pursued it as a hobby just because I loved to do it. Doing it on my own, I developed my skill.” In discussing his passion for art, he went on, “I just decided to pursue the artwork, and see what happens. There’s a thing that eats away at you and there’s where your passion lies, so follow it. That’s what I did.”

The interview continues, delving into how Nock got into bronze sculpture,

Well, it took a while to do the bronze. I could always sculpt, but I never took a class. I’m self-taught. But then in ’89, I decided to really take a look at it and I was at a football convention in L.A. and when I came back I just made up my mind to do bronzes. I just made up my mind. I went directly to a foundry out in Northern Virginia. They took me in and I asked if they could show me how to do this. [But] they said, “We don’t let people [bronze] off the street.” So, I went and got this sculpture of a football player that I had done and brought it back to them. I said, “I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life.” They said, “come on in, man.”  That’s how that happened.

Breaking Barriers sculpture by George Nock, a former NFL player, turned professional artist. Image courtesy Ted Haddock
Breaking Barriers, created by George Nock, former NFL player turned professional artist. The sculpture is installed at Lorna Doone Park in Orlando, FL. Image courtesy Ted Haddock

George Nock, the artist, has firm ties to the Orlando area. Visitors to Lake Lorna Doone Park can visit the “Breaking Barriers” monument. This incredibly important work, highlights two Little League baseball players, one African American, the other White. The monument is in commemoration of the first integrated Little League game played in the South. This game was played here in 1955 at what was then called Optimist Park.

Rather than attempt to retell the story of how the Pensacola Jaycees Little League team came to Orlando to participate in the district tournament, I refer readers to this excellent Major League Baseball article.

The world lost George Nock in 2020 at age 74 to COVID-19. An online memorial for him may be found using THIS LINK.

1955 Pensacola Jaycees Little League team. Image courtesy MLB.com
1955 Pensacola Jaycees Little League team. Image courtesy Major League Baseball.
1955 Orlando Kiwanis Little League team. Image courtesy Major League Baseball.
1955 Orlando Kiwanis Little League team. Image courtesy Major League Baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

Woman running in Orthofeet Sneakers

Sources

“67 Years Ago, 2 Teams of 12-Year-Old Boys Made History.” https://www.mlb.com/news/1955-little-league-baseball-history-pensacola-jaycees-orlando-kiwanis.

“Breaking Barriers.” Orlando Arts. July/August 2023.

George Nock. https://www.georgenock.com/.

“George Nock, Jets RB from 1969-1971 & Acclaimed Artist, Dead at 74.”  New York Jets. https://www.newyorkjets.com/news/george-nock-jets-rb-from-1969-71-acclaimed-artist-dead-at-74.

“George Nock.” Just Lookin. www.justlookin.com/bios/gNock.htm.

“George Nock.” Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/N/NockGe00.htm.

“Mayor Dyer & Commissioner Hill Unveil Barrier Breakers Monument. https://www.orlando.gov/News/Press-Releases/2022-Press-Releases/Barrier-Breakers-Monument-Unveiling.

“Nock Files Negligence Suit.” New York Daily News. September 28, 1974.

“Redskins Past to Present—George Nock.” https://www.commanders.com/news/redskins-past-to-present-george-nock-16952628.

“Willie Lanier.” Pro Football Reference. https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/L/LaniWi00.htm.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

 

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30 Best Things to do in Daytona Beach Florida

Welcome to Daytona Beach. Image courtesy Volusia County Properties

Thank you for reading. Here you will find the 30 Best Things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida. Whether you are a visitor, a local, or a day tripper, there are many things that the entire family will enjoy. There are no chain locations or food listings. This list is meant to promote locally based attractions and shops. These are places you won’t find in every community or tourist destination. So jump in, and review the 30 best things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

 

Welcome to Daytona Beach. Image courtesy Volusia County Properties
Welcome to Daytona Beach. Image courtesy Volusia County Properties

DAYTONA BEACH

Known as the World’s Most Famous Beach or the home to the World Center of Racing, Daytona Beach has often staked its reputation and future on these two industries. The beach and the speedway are two things that are not going anywhere. They are the rock on which Daytona’s tourism future still stands. Daytona Beach is much more than the beach and NASCAR however. In fact, here are the 30 best things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Yes, there is bike week and Biketoberfest. But, in speaking with longtime observers these events aren’t quite what they used to be. Sure, they bring people to town but the fact is, this is an aging market. It’s a market that has moved outward. This includes as Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach rather than the older hangouts in Daytona. Other cities within easy driving distance are also siphoning off visitors. In addition, bike events are held around the country. It’s not the novelty it used to be. Almost every tourist mecca has these events so Daytona doesn’t have the uniqueness it did many years ago. Bike Week isn’t going anywhere but I am not sure Daytona Beach should stake its name on the event.

Events come and go. Take spring break. Compared to the heydays’, spring break is almost a non-event today. Black College Reunion? The same thing. Today, in addition to the pop-up truck and jeep events that nobody in town other than hoteliers is interested in, the Welcome to Rockville, multi-day heavy metal concert is one of the biggest annual events. Of course, promoters can take their ball and go home any time they feel unloved or that they can get something better out of another town. I don’t foresee this being an event Daytona will hold on to long term without committing public funds. Local businesses seem to love this event and many claim it is their most profitable special event during the year.

A concern many event attenders voice about Daytona  are accommodations. Many buildings have been damaged by hurricanes and have not reopened. Those that are in business are charging what these visitors consider exorbitant rates. It’s not my place to say whether that’s true or not but visitor actions speak loudly.

And while Daytona Beach often has an identity problem, compounded by multiple groups trying to promote and support tourism, don’t be scared away by the revolving door of publicity campaigns or the negativity about some of the seedier areas of the community. Pay attention to your surroundings, use common sense, and just like in any other city, you’ll be fine and have a good time.

TRAFFIC

Daytona Beach can run the gamut on traffic congestion.

I have been beach side when there is very little traffic. Mind you, that is during off season and during the work week. International Speedway Boulevard from say, Clyde Morris Boulevard to Beach Street is usually pretty busy no matter the time of year. In the vicinity you have a large high school and two colleges, in addition to ISB being a major thoroughfare to beach side. Congestion is inevitable.

During peak season, say March through August/September back to school, weekend driving can be pretty harsh in spots. If you are coming to town during one of the weeks there are races at the speedway, be prepared for major headaches on International Speedway Boulevard and the highways that funnel onto the road. Pay close attention to any of the temporary electronic billboards on the side of the road and keep an eye out for pedestrians, who often don’t think crosswalks apply to them.

During bike week events in March and October, be on the lookout. Traffic can be busy, especially near the Main Street and Destination Daytona areas. Bikers are notorious for riding in wide and deep packs with many not paying attention to larger vehicles. Bikers weaving in an out of traffic is common and making extra lanes is commonplace.

Spring break and certain truck, jeep, and other pop-up events, sanctioned and unsanctioned, can tie up beach side traffic to a point it is at a stop. Many of these people see a need to cruise slowly up and down A1A, causing gridlock on the narrow and heavily stop lighted A1A.

Summer traffic during the weekends can be heavy as the beach is a popular, low-cost way for people to spend the day. Beach entrances are limited and it just takes time to get cars through the toll booths. Just be patient or scout ahead and find some of the off-beach parking lots.

While we are on the topic of traffic, city leaders have a mind that there must always be some type of road construction going on. This is not usually fixing potholes and the like, but rather, some type of project meant to enhance the city image while usually tying up traffic for long periods and often not having the anticipated outcomes. Just shake your head and drive on. The project will be complete in two years when another will be started.

Google maps and a bit of patience are your friends and will get you around the Daytona Beach area.

Personalized Push Pin Travel Maps

WEATHER

The weather in Daytona Beach can be brutal during the summer months. Don’t let the online historical records tell you otherwise. Weather report numbers are recorded at Daytona Beach International Airport and may not be accurate throughout the area.

The NOAA states that from 1991 through 2020 the average high for the year is 80.6 with a low of 62.5. They claim the average high in July is 90.2 and in August is only 89.8. I strongly believe most locals would challenge these numbers as being too low. Daytona Beach is HOT, there is no way around it. Try shorts and t-shirts on Christmas many years hot.

When it comes to precipitation, be prepared, especially if visiting during late spring through the summer months. Violent thunderstorms can come on rapidly and if you are on the beach, lifeguards will be working to safely clear you out. Getting a packed beach safely cleared is an undertaking but the lifeguards to a fine job. The NOAA states Daytona Beach receives an average of 51.25 inches of rain and 119 rainy days per year.

A word on hurricanes and tropical storms. Don’t be the tough guy trying to brave out a storm beach side. If you are in town and there are evacuation notices issued, pay attention. If you are staying beach side, please remember that bridges are locked down after winds reach a sustained 40 mph. You won’t be able to change your mind and leave and EMS will probably not be able to reach you if something bad happens. It’s rare, but keep a watch on the weather if you are visiting during hurricane season.

Here’s a personal story about Daytona Beach weather. I have been to exactly one NASCAR race at DIS. When I worked in trade books, a couple of book reps were in town for February races and had extra tickets and very generously invited me to attend. This was the Saturday race so the grandstands were not full. We were wrapped in coats and freezing. The temperatures were kind of low and the wind was very strong through the grandstands. Despite the cold, the sun was so strong we all left with sunburned faces and necks.

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WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN DAYTONA BEACH

So, you are thinking of visiting Daytona Beach. Maybe you are already in town on vacation and are looking for things to do. Well, here is a list of 30 best things do in Daytona Beach or local activities you should consider. I have provided hyperlinks to official websites or sites with considerable information. It is recommended you check these sites to confirm open hours and associated costs.

What you will not find on this listing are things such as shopping malls, bars, and restaurants. There may be these type activities associated with a few of the items listed but you can find a shopping mall on your own. Chain restaurants, which proliferate in Daytona Beach, can be found on almost any interstate exit. There is nothing unique or interesting about these places and their Daytona Beach franchises are no different. I strongly urge you to seek out local restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and stores. Daytona has a lot of unique opportunities for you to try.

A word about using this list before you start. Many of these locations begin with the name Daytona or Daytona Beach. It can be easy to overlook this part of the listing but you will not want to miss some of these places.

This listing is alphabetical and not in order of favorites or by category. This list includes locations from Ormond Beach to the north through Port Orange and Ponce Inlet to the south. .

Finally, this list is by no means all inclusive. What are some of your favorites that I have not included? Drop me a line or leave a comment.  Do you own or work at a destination I didn’t include? Let me know. Maybe I will update it to 31 things to do. Did you not enjoy one of the places I have listed. Leave a constructive comment and I will approve it for posting.

Now, get to visiting!

Nomatic

Abraxas Books

256 S. Beach Street

Are you looking for that hard to find title, or maybe something to help pass the time while lying in the sun at the beach? With well over 100,000 titles in stock, Abraxas Books is the place to go.

For full disclosure, I have known Jim, the owner, professionally for well over twenty years. I have purchased hundreds of books from him. He know his books.

Abraxas Books owner Jim Sass and the world famous bookstore cat, Sterling. 30 Best Things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Abraxas Books owner Jim Sass and the world famous bookstore cat Sterling. Image courtesy Abraxas Books.

 

A few words of advice you should heed. Jim loves cats. If you are lucky, his cat Sterling will be in the store. You are not likely to find James Patterson, John Grisham, or other exceedingly popular mainstream fiction authors on the shelves but you may find them on the carts outside. If you are seeking history, art, photography, philosophy, religious history and theory, classic literature, etc. this is your place.

Do not ask for a discount. Seriously. If you are buying multiple books, I have never not seen Jim take care of a customer. Jim is a straight shooter, widely read, and like most book dealers, is a good judge of character. Jim may be intimidating to some, but I tell you from experience, he is a good person and an asset to Daytona Beach.

Angell & Phelps

154 S. Beach Street

Angell & Phelps has been handcrafting chocolates and other candies since 1925. Watch candy makers at work through large windows and purchase their wares to enjoy later. Free samples are provided.

A must visit if you are strolling along Beach Street. Stop in after visiting Abraxas Books and the Halifax Historical Museum or grab a snack before you see a film at Cinematique.

 

Beach

Most visitors to Daytona Beach come for THE BEACH. With over 23 miles of coastline and nearly 500 feet in width at low tide, much of it drivable, beach goers flock to The World’s Most Famous Beach. Please mind the 10 mph speed limit and watch for kids and those not paying attention. It is recommended to swim near staffed lifeguard stations as rip currents are common. These young men and women are well trained and will be able to assist if you are in danger.

It is illegal to disturb sea turtles, hatchlings, or nests. Seriously, if these are marked or you come across them, don’t press your luck. An additional point, don’t dig and leave holes on the beach. Sea turtles and hatchlings can easily become trapped in your hole. If you or your kids just have to dig, fill it in before leaving.

For beach pricing information please visit Volusia Beach Pass. Multiple options are available and off-site parking can often be found for no cost.

 


At the Beach Fun Kit

from: Dover Publications

Birthplace of Speed Park

Corner of Granada and A1A in Ormond Beach

Relive the earliest days of beach racing and beach speed time trials The park includes monuments and a recreation of the Ormond Garage. The park is free to visit, and the beach is just a very short walk away. Park in the lot across A1A and walk over.

Calle Grande Arches

Calle Grande Street west of US-1 (Ridgewood Avenue) in Holly Hill

Calle Grande Arches Image courtesy Daytona Beach News Journal
Calle Grande Arches Image courtesy Daytona Beach News Journal

Dating to the mid-1920s, the remains of the Calle Grande Arches are a true site to behold.

William Collins Hardesty was the man behind a proposed development called Rio Vista on the Halifax. Plans called for cottages, a large hotel, a golf course, and a canal for gondola rides. Today, the Riviera Hotel remains from the original development, now as an assisted living facility. The golf course is part of the Riviera Country Club.

The still standing arches, which are located at what was to be the entrance to the grand project, are situated on the banks of a dirty canal. The detail put into these columns is incredible. Painted to look like marble they provide the feel of ancient Rome.

When visiting, please use extreme caution and park well off the road. Calle Grande Street is a known for drivers exceeding the speed limit. In the past, drivers have hit and damaged the columns. Visitors should pay attention to where they are walking when visiting the site. Take nothing but photos and do not touch the arches. The arches are not in the best of condition and can easily be damaged. Also, you don’t want to end up taking a header into the canal.

One final word of warning, I have been told that the homeless often congregate around this area. Deal with them at your own risk.

Casements

25 Riverside Drive in Ormond Beach

Located between the Halifax River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Casements was built in 1913 and was purchased in 1918 as the winter home of John D. Rockefeller.

The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It was purchased by the city of Ormond Beach in 1974 with renovations completed in 1979.

The Casements is now a multi-use facility offering visitor tours, workshops, classes, and special event rentals. Be sure to see the Boy Scout and Hungarian folk exhibits located on the third floor. The annual Ormond Beach Celtic Festival is held close by.

On the grounds, be sure to seek out the small marker placed by the Society of American Travel Writers. Please read my post on this marker by using THIS LINK. There are also two identical two-sided state historic markers for The Casements.

Casements Florida historic marker side 1. 30 Best Things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Casements, Florida Historic Marker Side 1
Casements Florida historic marker side 2
The Casements, Florida Historic Marker Side 2

Cinematique

242 S. Beach Street

Founded in 1991, the 70-seat theater opened in 2010, providing an art house experience to visitors, showing first run independent, foreign, documentary, and art films that would not be available in Volusia County otherwise. This small theater fills a unique niche and has no comparable location in the county.

Ticket prices are around $10 per person. Limited food and drinks are available. Maybe stop in at Angell & Phelps for your movie snacks.

See the website for programming information and dates.

Daytona Beach International Speedway

1801 W. International Speedway Boulevard

First opened in 1959, the “World Center of Racing” annually hosts some of the largest stock car events in NASCAR, including the season opening Daytona 500. Motorcycle races, concerts, vintage car shows, and an incredible, drive through, Christmas lights display are just a few of the things you’ll find throughout the year at the Speedway.

The speedway isn’t about racing only, however. The facility offers guided tours, the NASCAR Racing Experience, an incredible museum, shopping, and more. The One Daytona shopping center is across International Speedway Boulevard.

Be sure to take the self-guided tour outside the facility, including monuments and the NASCAR equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. See how your hands measure up against some of the greatest drivers in the world.

Click the link to get your Daytona 500 tickets
Want to attend the Daytona 500? Click the photo or THIS LINK to find your tickets at great prices.

 

Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure 

Image courtesy Daytona Zipline Advenutre. 30 best things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Image courtesy Daytona Zipline Adventure

1000 Orange Avenue at Tuscawilla Park (be sure to take a stop at the World War I monument located close by.)

Two different courses are available allowing visitors to fit their schedule, ability, and budget to the attraction.

Test your skills on ladders, wooden bridges, tight rope cables, and zip lines.

Multiple pricing options are available. It’s about $55 to  take both courses, plan on around 3 hours duration. Check their website for more information.

Daytona Ice Arena

2400 S. Ridgewood Avenue #63D in South Daytona

Who says there isn’t ice skating in Florida? The Tampa Bay Lightning have won two Stanley Cups in recent years and the Florida Panthers are a top hockey team also. Several minor league hockey teams call Florida home. Hockey is no longer a Canadian or northeast exclusive.

OK, so you aren’t ready for the NHL. How about a family friendly option instead? From public skating times, to skating and figure skating lessons, to hockey clinics, you can find it here in a clean and safe indoor environment.

Check the website for times and prices.

Daytona Lagoon

601 Earl Street, located beach side, adjacent to the Ocean Center and the large parking garage. Nearby you will also find the Tourist Church, referenced below.

Located just a block from the beach, Daytona Lagoon has something for every member of the family: thrill slides, pools, go-karts, laser tag, arcade games, mini golf, a sky maze rope course, and more.

The waterpark is of course the main attraction here. It features several fun slides including Kraken’s Revenge, the Shaka Halfpipe, Blackbeard’s Revenge, and more. There is a lazy river, a lagoon pool, and a children’s play area for younger visitors. Life jackets and lifeguards are on site.

The best parking is in the County of Volusia parking garage located adjacent to the park. Parking costs $8 but bring your garage ticket and they will validate your visit and you will pay only $4 to park. That’s a great deal and your car stays cool in the heat of the day.

Visit the website for multiple ticket pricing options.

cheap concert tickets

Flea and Farmers Market

1425 Tomoka Farms Road

Open 9a-5p Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, this market, which opened in 1981, features over 1,000 booths and 600 vendors over many acres. From antiques to vegetables to cell phone cases to getting a tattoo, you can find it here. Parking, admission, and people watching are free.

For car enthusiasts, the first Saturday of the month features a Classic Car Cruise In.

Gnome Tree

1037 Riverside Drive in Holly Hill

Started in 2003 by a local couple, the original display of three gnomes at the base of a large oak tree has grown to several hundred gnomes who now “inhabit” the picturesque tree.

They even have a Facebook Page, The Gnomes of Holly Hill, Florida. Want more? There is a short, self published book available as well. Click THIS LINK to find it and purchase your own copy.

Halifax Historical Museum

252 S. Beach Street

Located in the County of Volusia owned, Merchants Bank Building, the Halifax Historical Museum is home to hundreds of items of local interest including artifacts, photos, souvenirs, and family mementos. The bank building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a site to see on its own.

Located next to Abraxas Books (see above). Afterwards, stop in at Stavro’s Pizza House located just two doors from the museum.

Parking is free. Museum admission is $10 for adults, under age 12 are free. Closed Sunday and Monday.

An overhead view of City Island Ballpark, now Jackie Robinson Ballpark, close to how it looked when future Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson played there.
An overhead view of City Island Ballpark, now Jackie Robinson Ballpark close to how it looked when future Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson played there.

Jackie Robinson Ballpark

105 E. Orange Avenue

Originally opened in 1914 as City Island Ball Park, the present set up of field and seating dates to 1962. The field is currently home to the Bethune Cookman Wildcats baseball team and the Daytona Tortugas, the Cincinnati Reds low A farm team.

The ballpark is named after Hall of Fame player Jackie Robinson. It was in this stadium that he played his first spring training game in 1946. Stadiums in both Jacksonville and Sanford would not allow a mixed-race team to play on their fields and now Daytona Beach holds the honor of having hosted Robinson’s first game.

The ballpark was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Learn about the history of Jackie Robinson Day and how it is celebrated in Major League Baseball at THIS LINK.

LPGA International

1000 Champions Drive

Golf lovers have a top-notch reason to visit Daytona Beach. The home course of the LPGA Tour, LPGA International features two, eighteen-hole courses designed by Arthur Hills and Rees Jones.

Also onsite are a three-hole practice course, chipping and putting areas, a driving range, Malcolm’s Bar and Grill, a pro shop, and member only facilities.

Visit the website to book a tee time or learn more about membership.

Looking to play golf around Volusia County? Take a look at my listing of golf courses in the county HERE.

Find tickets to see the best women golfers in the world play in LPGA events. Click the link.
CLICK HERE to find tickets for the best in women’s golf. Watch the greats in person on the LPGA tour. Image courtesy LPGA.

 

Marine Science Center

100 Lighthouse Drive in Ponce Inlet

Not to be confused with the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach, the Marine Science Center, which opened in 2002, is operated by the County of Volusia.

From their website, this remarkable project has allowed Volusia County to stand at the forefront of county government efforts to educate our public about the marine resources of our area and to rehabilitate and release sea turtles and seabirds.

The site includes a nature trail, boardwalk, multiple exhibits, a touch pool that features several types of marine life including rays, and Turtle Terrace, where visitors can witness turtle rehabilitation in process.

In its twenty years of operation the facility has cared for more than 20,000 sea turtles and more than 18,000 birds in addition to hosting more than one million visitors.

Be sure to visit the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse if you visit here (see below for lighthouse information.)

Closed on Monday. Adult admission is $8, seniors $7, children ages 3-12 are $5.

Mary McLeod Bethune House and Grave

Mary McLeod Bethune home Image courtesy National Park Service. 30 Best Things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida
Mary McLeod Bethune home. Image courtesy National Park Service

640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard

The home was built in 1905 and purchased for Dr. Bethune in 1913 and served as her primary residence until her death in 1955.

The home appears to be temporarily closed for tours. When it reopens guided tours from Foundation employees and student workers are free, but donations are accepted. I took a tour a couple of years ago and the student giving the tour was knowledgeable, friendly, and quite accommodating to our group.

The home was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

Dr. Bethune is buried near the home on the campus of Bethune Cookman University.

This is certainly one of the underappreciated gems of Daytona Beach. Make the time to visit if it is open.

Coloring Books to Relax

Museum of Arts and Sciences

352 S. Nova Road

MOAS features many permanent, rotating, and traveling exhibits.

The Charles and Linda Williams Children’s Museum is a favorite for families. Also, a family favorite are the Root Family Museum exhibits including Coca-Cola memorabilia, a train station including two mid-century cars, a collection of teddy bears, and more. Every child will want to see the thirteen-foot-tall giant ground sloth fossil in the Prehistory of Florida gallery.

For adults, the Cuban collection is world renowned. African tribal objects, arms and armor, the gallery of American art, decorative arts, and Chinese art are available. The planetarium will be a hit with both adults and children in your group.

The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art features perhaps the greatest collection of Florida art in the world. At more than 2,600 pieces the museum does a great job or rotating exhibits.

The museum is open seven days a week. A ticket combination package for MOAS and the Brown Museum is under $20 for adults. Separate pricing is available. A great bargain for art and history enthusiasts. This is without question one of the best museums in the state.

If you only have time for one activity, this is the one I recommend!

Ocean Center

101 N. Atlantic Avenue

The Ocean Center is located adjacent to Daytona Lagoon  and Peabody Auditorium and only a couple blocks from the Tourist Church. There is a parking garage across the street. The Ocean Center has parking on site but there is sometimes a charge, particularly if events are going on.

Conveniently located directly across from the World’s Most Famous Beach, the Ocean Center features an arena that can hold 9,000 people, an exhibit hall with over 93,000 square feet of space, and multiple conference and breakout rooms.

I have included the Ocean Center because it features a large public art collection that may be viewed during open hours. Also on site is the ECHO Gallery, an area of rotating exhibits featuring the ECHO themes; environmental, cultural, heritage, outdoor.

Be sure to take a virtual tour on the facility website.

Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens

78 E. Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach

Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens building. Image courtesy of the museum
Image courtesy Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens

Just as World War II came to an end, one artist with a vision, and the people of Ormond Beach, worked together to create something magical.

Artist Malcolm Fraser offered a collection of his life’s work to any town along the east coast of Florida that would create an art museum that paid tribute to veterans. Ormond Beach and her residents rose to the occasion and worked together to create a living monument to creative freedom and equality of all persons, and to commemorate the service of World War I & II veterans who fought valiantly for that ideal.

Today, the newly remodeled and expanded museum offers permanent exhibits, traveling shows, virtual exhibits, and courses of all type.

The Gardens offer native and exotic plants and provide a perfect backdrop for weddings and other celebrations. While touring the Gardens be sure to seek out the military plaques and sculptures.

Open Monday through Friday 10a-4p and weekends noon to four. Admission is free but a $2 donation is recommended. This is one of the best values an art lover will find.

eCampus.com

Pinewood Cemetery

Main Street across from the Boothill Saloon. The Boothill itself can be quite the destination if you are so inclined. As the saying goes, “Come on in and grab a seat. You’re better off here than across the street.”

Pinewood Cemetery, also known as Peninsula Cemetery, dates to the late 1880s, and contains the final resting spots for many of Daytona Beach’s earliest pioneers including names such as Day, Burgoyne, and Jackson. Military headstones indicate burials of men who fought in several different wars are interred her.

Cemetery hours look to be Monday through Saturday, 8 am-5 pm; closed on Sunday. The walk through the cemetery can be uneven so dress appropriately.

Polynesian Luau

Hawaiian Inn Beach Resort 2301 S. Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach Shores

An authentic interactive luau experience featuring hula dancing, flaming knife dancing, and more. Suitable for all ages. Includes an all you can eat tropical meal with dishes such as teriyaki chicken, kalua pork, Hawaiian pizza, multiple side dish options, Pepsi products, and a cash bar.

Current show times are at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. Make your reservations through the website. Tickets look to be about $50 for adults.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
Image courtesy Ponce Inlet Lighthouse. 30 Best Things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida.

4931 S. Peninsula Drive in Ponce Inlet

Step back in time and climb 175 feet of fun in the Florida sun at the Ponce Inlet Light Station and Museum! Constructed in 1887, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse has guided mariners along the Florida coast for more than 130 years.

Admission is about $7 for adults, with several discount programs available. Climb all 203 steps to the top if you dare. Remember, you have to come back down also. The views are worth it!

Be sure to visit the Marine Science Center if you are at the lighthouse. See the information above.

 

The lighthouse was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998

Port Orange Sugar Mill

950 Old Sugar Mill Road in Port Orange

Also known as Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens, the property is operated by a not-for-profit corporation and owned by the County of Volusia. Entrance is free and donations are appreciated. Donations benefit the not-for-profit organization and help them with park upkeep.

The property contains dozens of gardens and plants, but the real star of the show is the remains of a 19th century sugar factory that were part of the Dunlawton Plantation. Multiple interpretive panels will guide you through the history of the land and the artifacts you will find onsite. Don’t be surprised if you see a dinosaur or two while you are on the park grounds!

You will often find volunteers onsite who can provide information on the plants and flowers.

Woman running in Orthofeet Sneakers

Southeast Museum of Photography

1200 W. International Speedway Boulevard (on the Daytona State College campus)

One of several excellent art museums in the Daytona area, the Southeast Museum of Photography exhibits, collects, preserves, and interprets photography to facilitate teaching and learning at Daytona State College and enhances the community’s understanding of, and appreciation of culture, history, and photography.

Check the website for current exhibits, dates, times, and special events.

Streamline Hotel

140 S. Atlantic Avenue

Opened in 1940, this is the hotel where NASCAR was born! Once a dilapidated flophouse, the now fully renovated boutique hotel once served as local headquarters for the Women’s Auxiliary Corp during World War II.

Located directly across from the beach, the rooftop bar offers incredible views, or have dinner at the Victory Lane restaurant.

An early postcard image of the Streamline Hotel. 30 Best Things to Do in Daytona Beach, Florida
An early postcard image of the Streamline Hotel

 

Timucua Indian Burial Mound

Corner of S. Beach Street and Mound Avenue in Ormond Beach

For information on the burial mound and the recent efforts to preserve this landmark, please see my blog post using THIS LINK.

Tomoka State Park

2099 N. Beach Street in Ormond Beach

Tomoka is a bird-watcher’s paradise, with over 160 species sighted, especially during the spring and fall migrations. Visitors can stroll a half-mile nature trail through a hardwood hammock that was once an indigo field for an 18th-century British landowner.

The park protects a variety of wildlife habitats and endangered species such as the West Indian manatee. For many visitors however, Chief Tomokie is a highlight of the park.

A boat ramp gives boaters and canoeists access to the river. The park store offers snacks, camping supplies, and canoe rentals.

For overnight stays, the park has full-facility campsites and youth camping.

Chief Tomokie at Tomoka State Park
Chief Tomokie at Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach shown in a vintage postcard.30 Best things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida

 

Tourist Church

501 N. Wild Olive Avenue

The Tourist Church, also known as the Seabreeze United Church of Christ and the First Congregational Church, is an historic church located at 501 North Wild Olive Avenue in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States. Built in 1929, it was designed by architect Harry Griffin in the Mission Revival Style of architecture. Today it is an active United Church of Christ congregation.

On October 6, 1995, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

You need to see this church to understand just how interesting it is. From the coquina to the stained glass. It’s worth the stop especially if you are visiting the Ocean Center or Daytona Lagoon. They are very close to each other.

Tourist Church Daytona Beach, FL. 30 Best Things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida
The Tourist Church as depicted in an early 20th century postcard.

 

I hope you have enjoyed the 30 best things to do in Daytona Beach, Florida and that it makes your visit a memorable one. Please let me know of your favorites or places I should add.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

If you are visiting Daytona Beach, make the short drive to Sanford and visit the Central Florida Zoo.
If you are visiting Daytona Beach, make the short drive to Sanford and visit the Central Florida Zoo. Click this link or the image for your “skip the line” tickets.

 

 

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Journal of Southern History May 2023 Volume LXXXIX No 2

Green and the Gray: Irish in the Confederate States of America

The new issue of the Journal of Southern History, published by the Southern Historical Association has arrived in my mailbox.

Volume LXXXIX, No. 2 (May 2023)

Articles include:

“Catholic Paternalism and Slavery’s Capitalism: Bishop John England’s Defense of Domestic Slavery and the Interstate Slave Trade” written by David Roach, a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor University.

“The Rhetoric of Insurrection and the Fear: The Politics of Slave Management in Confederate Georgia” written by David T. Gleeson,  a professor of American history at Northumbria University.

“Southern History in Periodicals, 2022: A Selected Bibliography”

“Annual Report of the Secretary-Treasurer”

Also included are a large selection of book reviews and a section of book notes.

David T. Gleeson is the author of The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America.

Why did many Irish Americans, who did not have a direct connection to slavery, choose to fight for the Confederacy? This perplexing question is at the heart of David T. Gleeson’s sweeping analysis of the Irish in the Confederate States of America. Taking a broad view of the subject, Gleeson considers the role of Irish southerners in the debates over secession and the formation of the Confederacy, their experiences as soldiers, the effects of Confederate defeat for them and their emerging ethnic identity, and their role in the rise of Lost Cause ideology.

Focusing on the experience of Irish southerners in the years leading up to and following the Civil War, as well as on the Irish in the Confederate army and on the southern home front, Gleeson argues that the conflict and its aftermath were crucial to the integration of Irish Americans into the South. Throughout the book, Gleeson draws comparisons to the Irish on the Union side and to southern natives, expanding his analysis to engage the growing literature on Irish and American identity in the nineteenth-century United States.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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April 15 Major League Baseball Celebrates Jackie Robinson Day

April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball
April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball
April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball. Photo courtesy Major League Baseball

Every year April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball, from players, to coaches, to management, to staff, to umpires, they all celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on field, in recognition of the man who “broke the color barrier” in baseball. The story of Jackie Robinson has been told many times and is much more complicated and important than can be covered here in a  single blog post. I will supply some recommended sources for those wishing to learn more about not just Robinson the baseball player, but Robinson the man; a man who, at age 53, left us at way too young an age. An online memorial to Robinson may be found HERE.

 

Get your 100% insured Los Angeles Dodgers tickets at great prices by clicking this link.

Each April 15 is a major celebration around Major League Baseball. April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day, a day that players in particular are highly respectful of. So what is Jackie Robinson Day and why is it celebrated on April 15?

April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball. Read more about the legend in Blackout. In 1946, Jackie Robinson began his career in what many, particularly in that time, called “organized baseball.” Organized baseball basically meant white baseball and not the Negro Leagues. For those seeking more information on Robinson’s first Spring Training, I highly recommend the book, Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Spring Training written by Chris Lamb. Here, you will learn much about baseball, the racism of the era, and the struggles and successes young Robinson dealt with on his way to being on the 1947 Dodgers roster.

Opening Day in baseball is always a major event and opening day in 1947 was April 15 (thus why Jackie Robinson Day is on April 15.) Jackie Robinson started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers that day, going 0-3 at the plate. He did reach on an error and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning. It may not have been what he and the fans were expecting, but he held his own and showed he belonged with the Dodgers.

For the 1947 season, Robinson hit a very respectable .297 and lead the league in stolen bases with 29 while playing in 151 games. He was justly rewarded at the end of the season, finishing 5th in the Most Valuable Player voting and winning Rookie of the Year. You can find Robinson’s career statistics by click THIS LINK. After an extraordinary career, Robinson was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom FighterThroughout his life, Jackie Robinson was more than a baseball player. He was truly a cultural icon. In his post-baseball life, he used his fame in support of Civil Rights efforts and was often seen accompanying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King is quoted to Robinson saying, “You have made every Negro in America proud through your baseball prowess and your inflexible demand for equal opportunity for all” You may read more about Robinson’s relationship to the Civil Rights movement HERE. Also recommended is the book, Call Him Jack: The Story of Jackie Robinson, Black Freedom Fighter. 

On April 15, 1997 at Shea Stadium before the Los Angeles Dodgers took on the New York Mets, Jackie Robinson’s number 2 was retired throughout Major League Baseball. Players then currently wearing the number were allowed to continue throughout their career but future players would be allowed to wear the number. The last active player to wear 42 in the Majors was the New York Yankees star reliever and now Hall of Fame member, Mariano Rivera, who retired after the 2013 season.

A listing of the last players for each team to have worn the famous number 42 is below.

Arizona Diamondbacks–never issued

Atlanta Braves–Armando Reynoso (1991-1992)

Baltimore Orioles–Lenny Webster (1997-1999)

Boston Red Sox–Mo Vaughn (1991-1998)

California Angels–Mo Vaughn (1999-2000)

Chicago Cubs–Dave Smith (1991-1992)

Chicago White Sox–Scott Ruffcorn (1996)

Cincinnati Reds–Roger Salkeld (1996)

Cleveland Indians (now Guardians)–Michael Jackson (1997-1999)Detroit Tigers–Jose Lima (2001-2002)

Florida Marlins–Dennis Cook (1997)

Houston Astros–Jose Lima (1997-2001)

Kansas City Royals–Tom Goodwin (1995-1997)

Los Angeles Dodgers–Ray Lamb (1969) (Robinson’s 42 was retired by the team in 1972)

Milwaukee Brewers–Scott Karl (1995-1999)

Minnesota Twins–Michael Jackson (2002)

Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals)–Kirk Rueter (1993-1996)

New York Mets–Mo Vaughn (2002-2003)

New York Yankees–Mariano Rivera (1995-2013)

Oakland Athletics–Buddy Groom (1996-1997)

Philadelphia Phillies–Toby Borland (1994-1996)

Pittsburgh Pirates–Jason Schmidt (1996-1997)

San Francisco Giants–Kirk Rueter (1996-1997)

St. Louis Cardinals–Jose Oliva (1995)

Seattle Mariners–Butch Huskey (1999)

Tampa Bay Rays-never issued

Texas Rangers–Marc Sagmoen (1997)

Toronto Blue Jays–Xavier Hernandez (1989)

Jackie Robinson Day was first celebrated in 2004 at Shea Stadium in New York  with the Mets being host to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dignitaries at the event included Robinson’s widow Rachel, President Bill Clinton, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. In announcing the tribute, Commissioner Selig stated, “In honor of Jackie, Major League Baseball is taking the unprecedented step of retiring his uniform number in perpetuity. Number 42 from this day forward will never again be issued by a major-league club. Number 42 belongs to Jackie Robinson for the ages.”

In 1997, the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s breaking the color bearer in Major League Baseball, Ken Griffey, Jr., with the support and backing of the Robinson family, asked Commissioner Selig for permission to wear number 42 in honor of Robinson. With permission granted, Griffey also wore his game socks in the same manner of the retired legend.

Since 2009, Chandler Bats has prided itself on continuously constructing the most finely engineered wood baseball bat in the world. Often imitated but NEVER duplicated, Chandler Bats remain THE gold standard amongst MLB’s top prospects and stars, as well as players of all levels. Decades of experience, the highest quality wood, the hardest finish and highest level of performance. We are DIFFERENT BY DESIGN™.


Chandler Bats CB26

from: chandler bats

 

For the next decade the only players to wear 42 were those grandfathered in, in 1997. Griffey again approached the commissioners office in 2007 for permission to wear the retired number in recognition of the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s first appearance.

Selig took the request under serious consideration and came back with the offer of allowing all players to wear the number. In its first year, Jackie Robinson Day was honored by more than 200 players and coaches.

Now, each season, April 15 is a date looked forward to on the schedule as all players wear number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson and his contributions not just to baseball, but to his country. Teams pay special tribute at the start of games and it can be seen in the faces of players, coaches, and fans, just how much the day means to them.

With the progress that has been made, and with the knowledge that equality is still a work in progress, April 15, Jackie Robinson Day, is one of the most important days in the baseball season.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

April 15, Maor Leage Baseball Celebrate Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium.
Celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, or any other day, with a trip to Dodger Stadium. Find your tickets by clicking the image above or THIS LINK.
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Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide from Visit Florida

Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide

Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide

Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide
Florida Black Heritage Trail Guide available free from the state of Florida

In recognition of African American History month (history that really should be studied every day as a part of any study of history) I want to make you aware of a terrific FREE resource produced by the State of Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources.

The division has created multiple booklets in a series titled “Florida Heritage Trails.”  I want to bring the Black Heritage Trail guide to your special attention. This guide is now in its third edition and is a must have for any historian, armchair historian, librarian, parent, teacher, or person concerned with the direction the state is taking in regard to teaching history.

To quote from the official webpage,

In 1990, the Florida legislature created the Study Commission on African-American History in Florida to increase public awareness of African Americans contributions to the state. The commission was asked to recommend methods to establish a “Heritage Trail” to identify sites, buildings, and other points of interest in black history that should be preserved and promoted as tourist attractions.

This 64-page full color booklet features an incredible assortment of locations, some open to the public, others that are not. The guide is broken into three geographic area; North Florida, Central Florida, South Florida. Each region is then broken down by county and then by city. It is a bit unwieldy at first but once you use the guide it becomes easier.

I have a print copy from a while back but to use it as an example. I live in Volusia County, in the central region. I find Volusia County beginning on page 40. Sites listed are both well known and lesser known. Examples include

Bethune-Cookman University

Howard Thurman House

Jackie Robinson Ballpark

African American Museum of the Arts

J.W. Wright Building

Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum

Mount Moriah Baptist Church

and several others.

Each listing includes an address and some list website information. In the version I have, phone numbers are not included.

Visit the website to view this guide online or download a copy for yourself. It used to be available in print and you may be able to find a copy through your library or in a Florida museum. I have even seen these guides available in used bookstores priced at varying prices. These are free so don’t pay unless you absolutely want a printed copy.

The state of Florida also offers a free bibliography of African American cemetery resources. Learn more HERE.

In addition to Black History, the state offers trail guides on these additional subjects related to Florida history. All are highly recommended.

1173 Spanish Galleon Trail

British Heritage Trail

Civil War Heritage Trail

Cuban Heritage Trail

Florida Historic Golf Trail

French Heritage Trail

Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail

Florida’s Underwater Archaeological Preserves

Jewish Heritage Trail

Native American Heritage Trail

Seminole Wars Heritage Trail

Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail

Women’s Heritage Trail

World War II Heritage Trail

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

 

In Driving While Black, the acclaimed historian Gretchen Sorin reveals how the car―the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility―has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. She recounts the creation of a parallel, unseen world of black motorists, who relied on travel guides, black only businesses, and informal communications networks to keep them safe. From coast to coast, mom and pop guest houses and tourist homes, beauty parlors, and even large hotels―including New York’s Hotel Theresa, the Hampton House in Miami, or the Dunbar Hotel in Los Angeles―as well as night clubs and restaurants like New Orleans’ Dooky Chase and Atlanta’s Paschal’s, fed travelers and provided places to stay the night. At the heart of Sorin’s story is Victor and Alma Green’s famous Green Book, a travel guide begun in 1936, which helped grant black Americans that most basic American rite, the family vacation.

Order your copy of Driving While Black by clicking the link or the photo to the left.

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“Blind Willie” McTell and the 12-String Strut in Thomson Georgia

12-String Strut art exhibit in Thomson, GA.

Blind Willie McTell

Blind Willie McTell Image courtesy Library of Congress
Blind Willie McTell
Image courtesy Library of Congress

William Samuel McTier (McTear) was born in Thomson, Georgia on May 5, 1898, though some researchers contend that he was born in 1903, and his headstone gives the year of 1901. I have yet to find a source on how he became known as McTell. It is also unclear if young Willie was born blind or lost his sight during childhood. The New Georgia Encyclopedia indicates McTell attended schools for the blind in Georgia, New York, and Michigan.

While in his teens, McTell and his mother moved to Statesboro, GA, and it was here where Willie learned to play the six-string guitar.

By the 1920s, McTell had left the family home, taking to the road as a traveling musician, playing carnivals, bars, parties, churches, and street corners to earn a living.

Young and talented, McTell became popular in Atlanta, regularly playing at house parties and similar events. By this time, he had upped his game to the twelve-string guitar, an instrument that helped him project his music better in the crowded areas he often played.

By 1927, recording companies had noticed McTell and other blues musicians and he cut his first tracks for Victor Records, following that with a 1928 session for Columbia. The New Georgia Encyclopedia lists multiple studios that McTell recorded for, often under different names. Musicians of the era would often record under similar, but different, names in order to avoid contract conflicts. 

McTell was wed to Ruth Kate Williams in 1934. They were to later record several tracks together.

John A. Lomax recorded McTell as a part of the Archive of American Folk Song in 1940. These recordings, held by the Library of Congress, have been released under the title The Complete Library of Congress Recordings.

Commercially, McTells sales were declining during the 40s, and he found himself playing more on the streets. He did record for Atlantic Records in 1949 and Regal Records the same year. His final known recordings were made in 1956 by Atlanta record store owner Edward Rhodes.

Starting in 1957, McTell served as the preacher at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Atlanta and devoted himself to religious music. Blind Willie was to only live a short time longer and passed away on August 19, 1959, due to a cerebral hemorrhage. McTell is buried in Jones Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Thomson, Georgia.

McTell’s 12-String Strut

Located in the downtown Thomson, GA area is a public art exhibit titled McTell’s 12-String Strut, honoring the locally born Blind Willie McTell. There are twelve, seven-foot-tall Stella guitars in the installation, each painted by a different artist. The guitar models were created by Icon Poly Studio and are made of polyurethane.

The installation was presented to the public in 2016 after a Georgia Department of Economic Development report suggested a public art component and providing additional exposure for one of McDuffie Counties most recognized citizens as part of the county’s tourism marketing efforts. 

Below, find images of 6 of the 12 guitars that are located throughout Thomson. 11 of these are very easy to find. The 12th however took a bit more digging. It is located outside the McDuffie County Government complex.

12-String Strut
12-String Strut

 

12-String Strut
12-String Strut
12-String Strut
12-String Strut

Posthumous Recognition

The Blues Hall of Fame inducted Blind Willie in 1981 and in 1990, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame bestowed the same honor.

Blind Willie McTell Georgia Historic Marker in Thomson, Georgia
Georgia Historic Marker in honor of Blind Willie McTell, located in Thomson, GA

In 1993, a Georgia Historic Marker was unveiled in Thomson, GA,, near the old railroad station, honoring McTell and his legacy. The text (including a few small grammatical errors) reads as follows

Willie Samuel McTear (1901-1959) was born between Big and Little Briar Creeks in the Happy Valley Community. In 1911, he and his mother moved to Statesboro, where he began his life of traveling and performing. Although blind from infancy, Willie developed a lifelong independence based on his acute sense of hearing., remarkable memory and versatile musical genius.

Willie performed and recorded under many names but favored “Blind Willie” McTell. Best remembered for his blues, McTell, had a remarkable repertoire of blues, spirituals, gospels, rags, fold ballads and popular music. McTell played from “Maine to Mobile Bay”, and at theaters, taverns, road houses, churches, medicine shows, train stations, barbecue joints, house parties, and on the streets.

His blues feature his trademark twelve-string guitar played in rapid and intricate patterns of jagged, shifting rhythms accompanying his clear tenor voice. He started recording in 1927 for RCA Victor Atlantic and the Library of Congress. He last recorded in 1956 and returned to McDuffie County shortly before his death and is buried in the Jones Grove Cemetery. Blind Willie was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1990.

McTell has also played a considerable influence on musicians after him. Performers as diverse as Taj Mahal, the Allman Brothers Band, Ry Cooder, Jack White, and Bob Dylan have covered his songs or singled out the blind guitar player for his influence on their careers.

 

Do you want to learn to play 12-string guitar? Or maybe you are looking to upgrade your equipment. The unmistakable sound of a well-made 12-string guitar is perfect for solo gigs and band performances, especially when it was designed by the founder of influential U.S. punk band Rancid. Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat is based on the old Fender acoustic that was his go-to guitar for songwriting, and quickly became one of the best-selling Fender acoustic artist models ever. With the Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12, that same classic vibe is offered in a 12-string version that simply rocks. Whether it’s alt-folk tunes at the college coffeehouse or slamming punk with a band, the Hellcat-12 combines great acoustic tone with versatile onboard electronics and a satin body and neck finish for smooth playability, all at a surprisingly low cost.

Blind Willie McTell Music Festival

Blind Willie McTell mural located in downtown Thomson.
Blind Willie McTell mural located in downtown Thomson, GA

The legacy of McTell is celebrated each year at the Blind Willie McTell Music Festival held in Thomson, GA. Ticket prices for the event seem quite reasonable. The lineup for 2022 included Jimmie Vaughn, the Texas Gentlemen, Joachim Cooder (son of the legendary Ry Cooder), and more. For more information on the festival check their website.

Sources:

Burditt, Erin. “Guitars are Back.” The McDuffie Progress. April 13, 2021.

Jacobs, Hal. ““Blind Willie” McTell.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Jun 1, 2020.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

The Rough Guide to Blind Willie McTell is an excellent introduction to the genius that poured from his fingers. It contains 25 key tracks including some of his best known such as Statesboro Blues. Little of the life of McTell is really known and there is no full length biography. To learn more about southern blues I recommend a copy of Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Drawing on archives and interviews with musicians, Red River Blues remains an acclaimed work of blues scholarship. Bruce Bastin traces the origins of the music to the turn of the twentieth century, when African Americans rejected slave songs, work songs, and minstrel music in favor of a potent new vehicle for secular musical expression. Bastin looks at the blues’ early emerging popularity and its spread via the Great Migration, delves into a wealth of field recordings, and looks at the careers of Brownie McGhee, Blind Boy Fuller, Curly Weaver, Sonny Terry, and many other foundational artists.

 

 

 

 

 


The Blues Fake Book

from: The Music Stand

The most comprehensive single-volume blues publication ever, with songs spanning the entire history of the genre. Every major blues artist is well-represented, including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Billie Holiday, Leadbelly, Alberta Hunter, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bessie Smith, Sonny Boy Williamson, and scores of others.

 

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Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech August 28, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Washington, D.C.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom event.  The text of the speech is below.

I also recommend the linked video below from the National Archives. The film is titled The March. Unfortunately some of the audio has been redacted due to a copyright claim from the King family.

If you want to read more of Kings speeches I recommend this volume. This fortieth-anniversary edition honors Martin Luther King Jr.’s courageous dream and his immeasurable contribution by presenting his most memorable words in a concise and convenient edition. As Coretta Scott King says in her foreword, “This collection includes many of what I consider to be my husband’s most important writings and orations.” In addition to the famed keynote address of the 1963 march on Washington, the renowned civil rights leader’s most influential words included here are the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the essay “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” and his last sermon, “I See the Promised Land,” preached the day before he was assassinated.

Editor James M. Washington arranged the selections chronologically, providing headnotes for each selection that give a running history of the civil rights movement and related events. In his introduction, Washington assesses King’s times and significance.

The I Have a Dream speech

Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Washington, D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in Washington D.C on August 28, 1963. Courtesy National Archives

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, Black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.

We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: for whites only.

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr in Washington D.C.
Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Courtesy National Archives

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little Black boys and Black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning: My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.

 

To better understand the Civil Rights movement and the King Years I highly recommend the incredible three volume work by Taylor Branch, America in the King Years.

Branch has been awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and is a National Book Critics Circle award winner. Visit his website to learn more.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.