U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy ruined the lives and careers of innocent people in the 1950s, fueled by Cold War-era paranoia about the possible communist infiltration of America.
The Florida legislature had its own version of McCarthyism called the Legislative Investigation Committee, popularly known as the Johns Committee.
Organized in 1956 by state senator and former Florida governor Charley Johns, the Johns Committee investigated what it labeled “subversive activities” in state colleges, civil rights groups, and suspected communist organizations.
On Christmas night 1951, a bomb exploded under the Mims home of educator and civil rights activist Harry T. Moore. The blast was so loud it could be heard several miles away in Titusville.
Moore died while being transported to Sanford, the closest place where a black man could be hospitalized. His wife Harriette died nine days later from injuries sustained in the blast.
The couple celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary on the day of the explosion, and Harriette lived just long enough to see her husband buried.
A new exhibit at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science in Cocoa is recognizing the accomplishments of two internationally known Floridians with strong local ties.
On display are panels featuring rare photographs, letters, and information about educator, activist, and civil rights martyr Harry T. Moore; and writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. A video component produced by the Florida Historical Society includes commentary from scholars and oral history interviews with friends and relatives.
In the 1960s, Dr. Robert B. Hayling was a leader of the Civil Rights movement in Florida. His former dentist’s office in St. Augustine is now a museum. Dr. Hayling died on December 20, 2015, at the age of 86.
One of Hayling’s last public appearances was at the Florida Historical Society Annual Meeting and Symposium on May 23, 2015, where he discussed his life.
Hayling grew up in Tallahassee, the son of a professor at Florida A&M University. At an early age Hayling became aware of racial inequities in America.
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