Gloria Jahoda [POF 14]
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This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limts the amount of material that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contact the
the University of Florida

Fla. Pers. 44AB

subject: Gloria Jahoda

interviewer: Samuel Proctor


?: The American Association for State and Local History presents

History in the Sunshine, a program about Florida, featuring historian,

biographer and novelist, Mrs. Gloria Jahoda, of Tallahassee.

With Dr. Samuel Proctor, Distinguished Service Professor of History

at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Mrs. Jahoda is

author of the book Florida, A Bicentennial History, part ofAseries

entitled The States in the Nation, consisting of a history of every

state, plus the District of Columbia. And now, Mrs. Jahoda and

Dr. Proctor.

P: Well, we have the/Vs; longest history of any state in the Union.

J: We're the oldest, and in some ways, we're the youngest, some of


P: The oldest?

J: .... frontiers have just been developed, and certainly, we were here

long before Jamestown, Virginia, I think that's important to


P: Florida's frontier stretches all the way from the Perdido River

in west Florida, to the Florida Keys.

J: You might even say, Sam, that it stretches to the moon. (Laughs)

P: (Laughing) That's right, we forget the kind of work that went

on the 19505g and 19605# at Cape Canaveral, and at the Kennedy,

Kennedy Space Center.

J: Right.

P: So Florida's history, then, is all, stretches all the way from the

conquistadors of the sixteenth century to the moon shots of the

Fla. Pers. 44AB 2


P: twentieth century.

J: Yes, it does.

P: And, of course, you were able to include all of this in a relatively

short book.

J: Yes, it wasn't easy.

P: I was remembering when we were celebrating the bicentennial and you

wrote one of the volumes in the bicentennial series....

J: Yes.

P: ....that we were celebrating, the nation was celebrating it's

200th anniversary.

J: Yes.

P: But, uh, Florida was already an established area for more than

200 years when 1776. came along, we really can look back on half

a millennia of written history in this state.

J: Yes, we can, and what was terribly funny, of course, about the

bicentennial was the fundamental fact that Florida did not revolt.

P: Absolutely.

J: Florida, at that time, was British and remained totally loyal to

George III.

P:: Absolutely, we hear so much about the thirteen states, the thirteen

colonies, and east Florida, and west Florida were the fourteenth

and fifteenth colonies.

J: And they distinguished themselves by burning Patrick Henry in


P: Right in St. Augustine, in the square, just as soon as they got

news that, uh, the Declaration of Independence had been signed.

J: Yes.

Fla. Pers. 44AB 3


P: There were celebrations, bonfires, dancing in the streets, and

carnivals elsewhere in the emerging United States, but there was

lamentation and tears in Florida.

J: Very definitely, because they wanted the King of England to keep

footing the bills, they didn't want their taxes raised.

P: Well, they, they weren't really paying any taxes at all, and so

long as they remained royal colonies, Parliament picked up the tab

for everything.

J: Yes.

P: Plus-the fact, as you point out in your histories, including the

bicentennial history, Florida's long seacoast, it's Gulf coast and

it's Atlantic coast, were very vulnerable to attack. The French

fleet was hovering around, uh, there was every possibility that the

enemy could move in to Pensacola and St. Augustine.

J: Yes.

P: And these Floridians needed the redcoats here....

J: Very much so.

P: .... so they were very welcome.

J: Yes.

P: And there weren't many tea drinkers in Florida at the time, so they

were hardly worried about that.

J: That's not a traditional Florida drink.

P: It is certainly not a traditional Florida, Florida drink, there's

no, there's no orange juice associated with it whatsoever.

J: No.

P: Gloria, let's talk about you.

J: All right.

Fla. Pers. 44AB 4


P: Where are you from?

J: I'm from Chicago, Illinois, I am not a native Floridian.

P: Well, you didn't have to add that, now. I know that that's far

up north. How long have you lived in the state?

J: I've lived i-n Florida since 1963, fifteen years.

P: I'm kind of curious about what brought you here, because you're so

much identified now as an interpreter of the state's history.

J: I know, and it's a strange thing, really. We came in 1963, when my

husband joined the faculty of Florida State University, in the

School of Library Science. And I had-written two novels before I

came down, but when I came here, it was so very different from

anything I'd ever known, I needed a book to really help me interpret

it, and there was no one book that could do this, and I thought,

"Well, I'm a writer, then I'm going to write one, for my own

satisfaction, and hopefully for the rest of the country to learn

about an area of America that's not as well known." I had to get

background on my adopted state, and a lot of it was done just by

me taking my car into the back reaches of north Florida, and

interviewing people that I found there. I would explain who I was,

that I was writing a book about the area, that I needed people's

help, and to a man, really, they were very friendly, and they talked

with me, I talked to professional snake catchers, and I talked to

a hermit, and I talked to a woman who had been a servant of an

English composer who had lived here. I just sought out as many

people as I could, and interviewed them, and then tried to piece

together in my head what I had learned.

P: 'Course, this is what we're trying to do with oral history, now.Ai

Fla. PErs., 44AB 5


J: Yes, very much so.

P: As we sit down with a tape recorder now, and record these interviews,

and put them into the archives, and of course, that adds to our

information, our basic information about areas.

J: It adds immeasurably, and, and here I would have to say what I

always say, "Don't throw out grandma's letters, they may be very


P: Or diaries.

J: Or diaries. And listen to her before she dies.

P: That's right, sit down with a tape recorder and talk to her, and

all the other old timers.

J: Yes.

P: In all the other areas of this state, you were writing about north

Florida, weren't you?

J: Yes, I was, in that particular book.

P: But the, the rich, there is rich history in every area of Florida

that needs to be ferretted out by other Gloria Jahodas sitting

down and talking to the old timers in this state.

J: Very definitely.

P: You found these people were friendly?

J: Oh, I found they were extremely friendly, and very pleased that I

was doing the book and I found the same thing when I came to be

doing Florida history, people were certainly friendly in all parts

of the state, very understanding, very sympathetic.

P: Has north Florida changed much in the way of getting around from

1963 to the present?

J: Oh, certainly, the, the train service has disappeared, and roads

Fla. Pers. 44AB 6


J: that were dirt roads when I first took them have since been paved.
We had no, ~h1:t I was a northerners would have called a real

department store in Tallahassee, but now we have shopping malls,

all this change has come, and very significantly there was one

psychiatrist in Tallahassee when we moved here, and now the phone

book is full of them because we've acquired modern America and

it's ills as well as it's conveniences.

P: Gloria, you said you've gathered a lot of the information for this

book, and of course, for your other books, by working in the library.

J: Yes.

P: Do we have a strong bibliography of Florida history?

J: I think we have a, a very strong one, and, however, I think you

need to be a little bit sophisticated about what you're looking

for. This was my problem in the beginning, I really wasn't sure

what I was looking for, and where to get all of it.

P: In addition to the books, what about primary sources, like newspapers,


J: Oh, newspaper Jgr very, very important, and I think we're strong in

our collection of newspapers, I think the librarians of the past

have done an excellent job, sometimes gathering collections of

clippings which you can use. I found this particular true in


P: What about things like courthouse records, did you use those?

J: I did not use those directly, no. I, I'm not terribly sophisticated

in terms of records of that sort.

P: Gloria, your sources for your histories have been mainly talking

with people, then?

Fla. Pers. 44AB 7


J: Mainly talking with people, reading what I consider good secondary

sources, after some soul searching evaluation, primary sources, in

many cases, but what I've really been trying to do, instead of

original painstaking research, is to bring to the people an

interpretation of what I have found, and to try and produce readable

books that the layman can identify with and understand.

P: I think it's also interesting to note that you're not alone, people

coming into Florida, and people are moving in from all parts of

the United States, and in fact, from all parts of the world, are

becoming increasingly interested in Florida, and obviously, this

is a state that has a very rich and colorful history. There has

been a real growing emphasis the last dozen years or so, and perhaps

since World War II, on local history, as you and I both know....

J: Yes.

P: .... after World War, after the Civil War, we became interested in

national history here in the United States, and the professional

historians began to look down their noses at local history, and

said that this was only something that the genealogists and the

antiquarians were interested in. But the situation has changed in

the last several years, and I think that is one of the reasons

why historians like you, writers like you, have become so popular.

If you're dealing with local history.

J: And it's very important.

P: It's a very important area for students to, researchers to be

working in, and I think as we emphasize more and more the researching

and writing of state and local history, community histories, the

institutions on the local level, we need to train our students to

Fla. Pers. 44AB 8


P: work in these areas.

J: I believe we do, yes.

P: Gloria, with these three books under your belt, and a number of

articles about Florida.which have appeared in national journals,

and the fact that you have written a lot of poetry with Florida

as a theme, is this what brought you to the point of agreeing to

write this bicentennial history of Florida?

J: Oh, very definitely, and actually, I couldn't wait to write it

because when I was asked, it was almost miraculous, a full-blown

outline just popped into my head, and when I talked with my

editor about it, he agreed that that was really what he wanted,

so it was just a delightful experience from beginning to end.

P: What were you trying to do with this book?

J: I was trying to explain to Florida and also to the rest of America

what Florida is, and it's relation to the rest of the United


P: Now, you were not trying to write this as a professional historian?

J: Oh, definitely not, no. No, I was, uh, going into it as a popular

writer, if you will, even with some poetic features about the book

I wanted to convey the sense of Florida, and do this artistically,

rather than simply in a scholarly way.

P: It's another point to show also that while we think about the

Pilgrims landing at Plymouth, and the settlement o*i Jamestown as

the beginning of American history, in fact, we can go back much

earlier than that in Florida.

J: Very much so, and of course, we have a war between St. Augustine

and Pensacola because Pensacola had the first Spaniards, but they

Fla. Pers. 44AB 9


J: didn't stick, and St. Augustine had the first permanent STpirds-.

P: That's right, Christan De Luna M4' came into St. Augustine in

the 1550g /[.y

J: Yes.

P: AN/and of course, Menendez was successful in St. Augustine in 1565,

which means that when Jamestown came along, St. Augustine was a

settled community, it had a police force,'there was a library

there, it even had a street lighting system....

J: Yes.

P: .... a couple of paved streets, a central plaza, a church, so

Florida can take pride in the fact that we can really backtrack

a little bit on American history.

J: Yes, we can, and the great paradox of this, of course, is that today,

you can go into the Florida Everglades and find Indians who do not

speak English.


P: So many myths have grown up about Florida's long history, tand I

know that you ran into many of these. One of the most interesting

stories, however, of the early Spanish period was the *rq Ortiz,

Ortiz story which you tell about in your book. What was it?

J: Well, Juan Ortiz was a Spaniard who was captured by the Indians,

and he was about to be executed by a chief called Herehigua (?),

and Herehigua didn't like the Spanish much because he had had his

nose cut off by the Spanish, and I believe they killed his mother.

And he was about to kill Juan Ortiz, but his daughter pleaded for

the life of Ortiz, who, legend tells us, was very harldsome1 ,/nd

Chief Herehigua spared her. Well, this was written about, and

Fla. Pers 44AB 10


J: later on, Captain John Smith picked it up, and I don't like to

accuse the dead of plagiarism, but it looks very, very suspicious

that Pocahontas really was the daughter of a Florida chief whose

name was, and the girl's name was not Pocahontas.

P: Yeah, I think this is really true now, we know for instance that

this story was published in a volume which was translated and

appeared in England at the time that John Smith had returned....

J: Oh, yes.

P: ....from Virginia, and he probably read it there, and....

J: He had access to it, yes.

P: and John Smith was not at all adverse to using this kind of

thing to make a point or to make a case on his own behalf. It

amazes me what you were able to include in these 200 pages, and

yet, I guess your biggest problem is what you were forced to leave


J: It was, I, I'm, for instance, extremely fond of the Greek fishermen

of Tarpon Springs, and I had devoted a lot of space to them in my

earlier book about the Tampa Bay area, and I couldn't give as much

space to them as I had wanted to in this book, they're immensely


P: And you also didn't say very much about the wars that Florida was

involved in, except you, of course you do mention the Second

Seminole War....

J: Yes, yes.

P: ....and a little bit about the Civil War, and a little bit about

the Spanish-American War, but it seems to me you were talking about

peace rather than the military.

Fla. Pers. 44AB 11


J: Oh, yes, I really had to be talking about peace, because although
Florida's wars are well known, and of course ?I rolls in the Spanish

American War, we practically fomented that thing in Tampa, with

the Cuban population there. But I felt that, by and large, I wanted

to take Florida as an entity as a whole, apart from the separate

events, and I saw that whole as more peace than war.

P: Gloria, one of the things that I was curious about when I read

your book, and knowing you like I did, do, what about women in

Florida, have women played a very active role in the history of

this state?

J: Some women have, we think immediately of course, of Mary McCloud

Bethune, and her great school for blacks, her pioneering work in

black education after the Civil War, but by and large, I don't

think women have been as eminent here, and that has to do with

Florida's relationship to the south as a whole. Southern women

have not been aggressors in the history of the United States.

They may be becoming to be aggressors, I've heard them described

in modern times as "steel magnolias", which I think is an interesting

description. But, by and large, women have stayed at home.

P: It takes as long to go, I believe, from, or the distance from

Miami to Pensacola is approximately the distance from Miami to


J: Yes.

P: This is a giant state. Now, are we talking about a single state,

or in reality, is Florida a lot of states or regions?

J: Oh, I think it's a lot of states and regions, because, who are we

talking about? Are we talking about the deep south people in the

Fla Pers 44AB 12


J: north, or what I might call the deep north people in the south?

For instance, around Miami, are we talking about Greek sponge

divers in Tarpon Springs, are we talking about Minoricans in

St. Augustine, or Czechs at Masaryktown, or Swedes in St.

Petersburg? Who, indeed, are we talking about? And, uh, I think

Florida has got now a distinctive emerging culture. I see this

more and more, there's a certain informality in the life here,

a way of looking at things very much oriented to climate. Um, you

do not behave in Florida, in many ways, as you behave in New York.

P: One of the things that you said in your book that I would like to

explore a little bit with you, Gloria, is that Florida is the

dream of the American Middle class.

J: Oh, yes, it's heaven, you see. This is where you retire to. You

save all your money and then you buy a place in the sun, and you

come down and you live what is known as the new life. This is what

one of the retirement books is called.

P: Well, what are you trying to do, live forever?

J: And, what you're trying to is, oh, yes, we don't like to mention

death. Now, one of the nicknames for this state is "God's waiting

room" and I think it's justified in many ways. But, I, I think

that you're supposed to find yourself, personally in your leisure

time, down here in Florida. And so, it's a goal for people to come

to, it's heaven on earth. And this is one reason, I think, that

the retirees who are here are quite sensitive when there's any

criticism of Florida.

P: The sun shines all the time2 /he beaches are white1 jife is easy,

you can just pull the, the bananas and the oranges off the tree.

Fla Pers 44AB


P: You lie out in the sun, and you fish, and you will live forever.

J: I think this is a popular stereotype.

P: I think this is the pop....

J: Except that when you get down here, of course, you do find that

it rains and you can get pneumonia, and there are big cities

and traffic jams.

P: Florida attractions, /nd the best known, of course, is Disney

World, which has not only made an impact on Orlando and central

Florida, but it's made an impact on this entire state.

J: It's made an immense impact. And, um, I think also, something I

said in my book that bears repeating at this moment, in Florida,

for instance in the very Jewish community of South Beach, which

is south of Miami, past and south VA Miami, you get very many

older Jews, and it's possible to have an elderly Jewish woman

who is now under the care of a Cuban doctor who was a refugee

recently, and all the time, she's surrounded by plastic Mickey

Mice. I think this is maybe a picture of !Ne state, the ethnic


P: (Laughing) It's amazing what kind of an ethnic,mix we've had in

Florida, right from the very beginning,and it has increased up

to the present time.

J: It has increased, and, for instance, if you read histories of

Cape Canaveral, you'll find out about the roles of German scientists.

If you're looking at Tarpon Springs, we think of the Greek sponge

divers, or the Czechs at Masaryktown, um, who've been active in

poultry farming. We think of the Minoricans in St. Augustine,

Fla Pers 44AB 14


J: there are just so many different groups who've come.

P: Don't forget the Swedes who came in to work in General Sanfords

groves in the 1870g#3

J: Absolutely, absolutely. And we also think, for instance, of

Cubans, not just one wave of Cubans, but three separate waves

of Cubans. The very early Cubans who came to have fishing ranches

here in the very first years of the state, in the seventeenth

century, of course not a state then. We think of the Cubans who

came here to Tampa to make cigars in the nineteenth century, and

the character of Miami has very much altered since the fall of

Batista in Cuba.

P: And the Danes AdI Dania, and the Japanese at what is now Boca Raton.

J: Yes.

P: Yes, I don't think that Florida is the result of just the white

Anglo-Saxon Protestants....

J: Oh, no, there is....

P: ....it's the result of all of these groups.

J: Yes, and there is a strong Latin influence in this state.

P: Always has been.

J: And he who forgets that forgets that at his peril, because this

is not a state where you think of history in terms of pilgrim

fathers or the Puritan ethic, it's something very, very different.

P: You know, another American, an important Floridian that we ought

to mention here, Gloria, is the Chinese citizen who played such

an important role iii the development of the citrus culture of this


J: Loo Jin Gong, who developed the Loo Jin Gong orange, which is

Fla Pers 44AB 15


J: still being grown.

P: Where was he living, and when?

J: Uh, he was living around Deland, I believe, in the latter part of

the nineteenth century.

P: He was, uh huh.

J: And, as an old man, he was rather poor, but I understand the

citizens there felt a great debt to himA so they took care of him.

P: Gloria, we're talking about the things that have shaped Florida.

We know that people come here because of the temperate climate

during the winter, and the sunshine, and the balmy breezes, but

you also point to the fact in your book that Florida's history

has been shaped by heat, and mosquitos, and hurricanes. What

role has weather played in Florida's history?

J: Weather has played a tremendous role because no matter how you

approach it, you have to come to the conclusion that life here

is pretty close to heaven. We have extremes of weather, of course,

we have intense heat in summer, we have the fury of the hurricanes,

but it's nice here, it's much nicer than where it snows. This is

putting it very simply, but this is true. And then of course,

the hurricanes have, have wiped out settlements that had been

started, yellow fever and malaria used to be great hazards in

Florida. Not any more, because we're wise in the ways of public

health, and not giving mosqitos ei0 chance to breed, but, it

certainly had.

P: One of the south's foremost historians, as you know, R. Richaby

Phillips says that weather was perhaps the most important thing

which shaped southern history, and made the south a distinctive

Fla Pers 44AB jo


P: region.

J: It dows, and you know, of course, Sam,.we gave the world air

conditioning, right here in Florida.

P: That's right.

J: Dr., John Gory, of Apalachicola, invented air conditioning, and

everybody laughed at him. They didn't think it was possible, and

he never was able to market it successfully. But finally, through

the work of the Frenchman Carrier, who built on his work, air

conditioning became adopted, first in movie houses, and finally

it became, I think probably in the forties and fifties, a general

thing in America. But air conditioning has had a tremendous

influence on Florida, because it's, it's made it habitable in

many places.

P: You know, we're talking about the growth of Florida, and it

certainly is a large state, not only geographically, but in size

as far as people are concerned. It's one of the fastest growing

states in the nation. In your book, you point out that Florida,

in many ways, is suffering as a result of this.

J:A We have grave environmental suffering. Now, I, I don't belong to

school of thought that says we have to get rid of all the people

and keep things the way they were. This is not possible. But

certainly in the contamination of Tampa Bay, for instance, we

see major environmental problems. And Florida is making mistakes

that the rest of America made, you know, in terms of traffic planning,

in terms of energy, in many things of that sort. And we're getting

the complexities of the highly urban civilization that most of

America represents, we're getting those things, we no longer have

Fla Pers 44ab 17


J: just one psychiatrist in Tallahassee.

P: Should we begin to check this population flow?

J: I, I would hate to see that happen, because I hate to see anybody

denied his dream, and just from a personal standpoint, living

here is so simply splendid, I wouldn't like to prevent anybody from

doing so, but I don't know what the answer is to that, it's an

extremely serious question. Now, I believe it's, Oregon has

actually told people, "Don't come." I would hate to see Florida

do that, that has not been our traditional role.

P: So as we look toward the future, the next ten years, the next

twenty years, the next fifty years, maybe the other Florida also

will be gone, its endangered, it's an endangered species.

J: Yes, it most definitely is. And unless we do some highly intelligent

planning, and listen to people who know what they're talking about,

I think we're going to be in trouble.



Fla Pers 44ab 18

tape A, side 2


side 2 BLANK


P: Supposing it would be possible, Gloria, for some of these patriots

of the American Revolution, the John Adams', and the Thomas

Jeffersons, and the James Madisons, and all of those people to

come back in 1978, and make a trip to Florida perhaps, to

visit Disney World, or whatever.

J: I was going to say, the first, the first Mickey Mouse and the

first bikini they saw might well turn them off for the rest of

the trip.

P: But o they looked at the Florida scene.in 1978, do you think

they would be appalled, would they be disappointed?

J: Well, if we endowed them with historical sophistication, I think

they, too, would be optimistic. Uh, if they came just cold, from

the eighteenth century, I think they would be universally appalled.

But I think they would be by all of America, because we have, in

many ways, departed from the sternness of that time. America

today wants pleasure a lot more than America wanted pleasure, or

America thought pleasure was possible in 1776.

P: Now, Florida's attractive not only to the people who are, quote,

"enjoying their golden years" end quote, but there are others who

come to Florida. Gloria, one of the things that we haven't mentioned,

but we need to say something about is the attractiveness of

Florida, not only to individuals, retirees, and tourists, but also

to business. An increasing number of businesses are relocating

Fla Pers 44ab 19


P: in Florida.

J: Oh, yes, industry is coming down....

P: Why, why?

J: Well, because we have traditionally needed jobs. Very often

Floridians will work for a bit less. In some cases, unions have

not been as strong, and in some cases, people just want to work

in a pleasant atmosphere. Move down, move the company down where

it's nice and warm.

P: And, uh, the businesses are creating problems pollution problems,

all kinds of environmental problems, housing problems. These

people are attracted to Florida because it is a lovely state, but

I wonder how long it will remain lovely and idyllic.

J: Will they destroy it's loveliness, will they destroy what they

came for, that's really one of the fundamental questions.

P: Yes, I think that economically they, the United STates is looking

toward the south, and it's looking toward Florida. Perhaps this

is the last of the economic frontiers of this country.

J: In other words, what, what we're saying, perhaps, is that there

may not be a wild west anymore, but there may be a wild south.

P: That's right, and I think that is very definitely true. And I

think not only is the nation looking increasingly toward Florida,

but this is also true of the rest of the world, particularly,

of course, Latin America, as you point out in your book.

J: Latin America, yes. And certainly the Caribbean. I've been

startles, truly startled to hear very rapid French on the streets

of Jacksonville, and I realize these are tourists.

P: And they've all heard of Disney World.

Fla Pers 44ab Zu


J: They certainly have.

P: They all know exactly where Disney World is, and it's on almost

every international tour. But you know, Florida, as far as Latin

America is concerned, has always been involved in that part of

the world.

J: Yes, you know, of course, in the early days of the Spanish, Florida

was spiritually closer to in Columbia, what is now

Columbia, than it was.to the, what is now the rest of the United


P: You emphasized the Spanish heritage of Florida in your bicentennial


J: Because it needs, it needs emphasizing, people cannot think of

pilgrim fathers, and they cannot think of the Puritan ethic

when they think of this state. We have deeply Latin roots.

P: Really, I guess, up until Florida became an American territory
in 1821, and already e adbd years of Florida history had

passed by that point, Florida stood with it's back to what is

now the United States. The St. Mary's River was actually at the

back of Florida, and Florida was looking south to the Caribbean,

and to Latin America.

J: She certainly was, yes, yes. And even today, in the names of

many of the citizens, you can see their, their Spanish origin, and

just in general attitudes, I think very often we tend to focus

much more on what's happening in Cuba than what is happening up

in Maine.

P: Where does Florida fit in on the national picture?

J: Definitely on the conservative side. Certainly, I would say that,

Fla Pers 44AB 21


J: almost without exception. Um, I think Florida is interested also

in environmental issues, to a very jb j degree) possiblyy greater

than, say, someone from Kansas City, although that may be debatable.

And Florida has always had a strong international orientation.

Their cosmopolitanism is directed more to South America than

Europe. But I think this is colored Florida thinking, we aren't

that far from the Bahamas. We're not that far from Cuba.

P: Does Florida fit in politically, with the political philosophy

of the rest of the deep south?

J: Uh, in many ways, north Florida does, but south Florida, I would

not say so. There, there the people are primarily from the north,

and they may tend to be a bit more liberal than the conservative

north. North in Florida is south, and south in Florida is north.

That's a great oversimplification, but, certainly, north Florida

is very much a part of the deep south, with deep southern history,

deep southern attitudes.

P: I wonder, though, if that's not an arguable point.

J: It may very well be an arguable point.

P: I was gonna say, these people have moved into Florida from the

middle west, from the north, they have brought their conservative

political philosophies with them. Really, the development, or the

reestablishment of a two party system in Florida, since World War II

has been, not totally, but in large part, as a result of the

people moving into Pinellas County, Brevard County, Palm Beach


J: We now have with us the heartland of Iowa, /he heartland of

Wisconsin, Kansas.

Fla Pers 44AB ZZ


P: So, I'm not so sure that liberalism is a result of northern

emigrees coming into Florida. I think that, yes, Florida is

.part of the old 5,outh, and we can see that in many ways.in north

Florida. The associations of Tallahassee and Jacksonville, and

Fernandina, and Pensacola, with the rest of the south, and our

attitudes towards race and white supremacy and all of those

things that had been so long associated with the history of, of

the south. But I'm wondering, also, about the rest of *tz state.

I think that this is a state which is very conservative from

a political point of view.

J: Yes, it is, I would say possibly with the exception of Miami.

I have nothing to support that, it's an impression.

P: I think that's more of an impression if you look at the voting

patterns there.

J: Yis.

P: I think because Dade County is so large, and we think that everybody

from Dade County has moved in from New York City, we get that

impression, but I think if you look at the voting 'patterns there,

look at the editorials in the newspapers, and particularly see

how people vote in national elections.

J: Ah, there's a very interesting point, because the people that are

voting in Florida, so many of them are over seventy. And they

all do vote. And sometimes the younger people do not vote in this

state. And so we have a very great impact, I think, on whether

conservatives succeed nationally.

P: It is true, though, that north Florida was settled really by

South Carolinians....

Fla Pers 44AB 23


J: Yes, it was.

P: ....and Georgians....

J: Virgininns.

P: .... and west Floridians, and Virginians, west Florida by people

who came down from Tennessee, Mississippi, Lousiana. There were

so many South Carolinians living in Alachua County during the

Civil War, that the local newspapers carried the casualty lists

from both states, Florida and South Carolina, so that people would

know about the things JIA were happening to their families back

home and their friends back home. A story that I've always enjoyed

talking about, the movement of people from the other parts of

the south into Florida is one which is credited to Eugene Talmadge,

the governor of Georgia. He said that so many Georgians had

moved into Florida that it had a real impact on both states, that

it redounded to the intellectual benefit of both states./Ar-That

Georgians leaving Georgia tended to up the intellectual level there

arid it certainly improved Florida.A And I think this is a trend

that continues.

J: I do too.

P: Indeed, many of the people who settled in north Florida in the

nineteenth and early twentieth century came from other parts of

the south.

J: They did indeed, but I always loved the one story about Tallahassee

that, when Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin,

came through here after the Civil War, Tallahassee liked to party

so much, they gave her one.

P: Well, of course, by that time, she was a Floridian, she had built

Fla Pers 44AB 24


P: the house at Mandarin, outside of Jacksonville, and had indeed

become a tourist attraction.

J: Yes, she was luring tourists down.

P: She was, well, not only thatI but not only was she luring tourists

down because she was writing promotional stories which appeared in

the northern press, but it is said that she had made arrangements

with the captains of the tourist boats plying the St. John's

River, that when they approached the point where her cottage was

located, they tooted they whistle enough ahead of time so that

she and her family would come out and seat themselves on the

lawn so that they could be pointed to as the tourists passed,

"There's the famed authoress of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and her family

>' in their garden, sitting around chatting, or having tea, or conversation

or whatever." So she was quite a, a lady. In the period before

the Civill War, we had some planters and some big houses in north

Florida, but the real bulk of Florida's population were people

who were middle class, lower middle class laborers.

J: Yes, um hmm. And, you know, any image we might have of antebellum

Florida is a gone with the wind dream of vast plantations. This

simply was not the case.

P: No, no. There were a few of these plantations in Jefferson County

and Leon County and Gadson County....

J: But relatively very few.

P: Very, very few. Very few people in Florida owned slaves.

J: John Q. Public was a little man, with a little world.

P: Very much so. These were settlers who moved in with their families,

really to make a home in the wilderness. They were able to get a

Fla Pers 44AB 5


P: small amount of land, land was available in Florida, and it was

cheap. After the Second Seminole War, of course, the federal

government opened up land and made it available to army veterans,

and then after the Civil War, of course, Florida was opened up for

settlement under the Moral Land Grant Act. But most of these

people came down with little more than just the clothes on their

backs, and the few tools that they had in the back of the wagon,

and they were glad to be able to scratch a bare living.

J: And you know, we might point out, too, that when these people came

in, some of the Seminoles were stubbornly staying here, and they

retreated into the Everglades, and those last holdouts are the

Seminoles that are in the Everglades today, and some of them

still do not, or will not speak English. So right in the shadow

of Miami Beach, you have Indians who have not yet learned to

speak English.

P: Very traditionalist.

J: Very, very traditionalist. And the tourist concessions that you

see along the Tamiami Trail, these people run. But they are not

really an integral part of American life as a whole.


P: The 200th birthday of the nation, and all of us began to focus our

eyes back on the event of the eighteenth century, the American

Revolution, 1776, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution,

the Bill of Rights, you know, a great wave of enthusiasm passed over

the country. Let's spend a little bit of time talking about

Florida in all of this. You made the point earlier about Florida

not being one of the participating colonies.

Fla Pers 44AB 26


J: Yes, east Florida and west Florida did not revolt. That is the

hard, fundamental fact people had to remember.in 1976. They

couldn't really very well run through the streets playing Yankee

Doodle, this was not a part of what Florida, the Floridas were,

as they were known then.

P: No, Florida, as you point out in your book, had recently been

acquired by England, at the close the Seven Years War, or the

French and Indian War, as we know it American History, just in

1763, so the Floridas were very new. By the way, the

Apalachicola River, as you note in your book, was the dividing

line between gast and west Florida. ,W

J: Yes, it was.

P: And St. Augustine was the capital of east Florida.

J: And Pensacola of west Florida.

P: Was the, yes, it was. And the Floridas were loyal to King George III.

J: Yes.

P: It paid off politically and economically for Florida to be on the

right side.

J: It certainly did, yes.

P: And I think we ought to ask the question of what has happened, or

what did happen to these fundamentals of democracy in the years

after 1783, and for Florida after 1821.

J: Yes, I think we need to ask those questions, and you know, Florida

has had, historically, and until recently, a problem with

apportionment. It was based on area rather than population, and

so, for long years, the northern part of Florida, the least heavily

settled, was in control. They were known as the pork chop legislators.

Fla Pers 44AB L/


P: Pork trees, pork trees were, I mean pine trees were voting, not

pork trees.

J: Pine trees were voting, and in south Florida, the people who

represented the south Floridians were called the lamb chop

legislators. And the pork choppers had a wonderful time building

roads that went from swamp to swamp.

P: What kind of people were they representing, Gloria?

J: They were representing conservative, small town southerners.

P: People who had moved in, who were not affluent.

J: Yes, very definitely, not rich people. They were not representing

these people.

P: Florida really has never had a large number of rich people.

J: No, it has not.

P: Gloria, these people who came into Florida, facing the threat

of Indian attack, settling on the Florida frontier, these people

who we associate in American history with the era of Jacksonian

democracy, were they fulfilling the dream of the Declaration of

Independence and the Bill of Rights what were they looking for?

J: I think they were, they certainly were. They were looking for the

pursuit of happiness, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Certainly they were looking for prosperity. America from its'

beginning, I think, has had a dream that a lot of hard work brings

prosperity. They probably weren't looking to be tycoons, but just

average successful farmers.

P: They, were they concerned with politics, were they voters, were

they participants in local and county politics?

J: Oh, certainly they were, they were participants in this, certainly

Fla Pers 44AB 28


J: they were. I, I think Florida had had a very informed citizenry

from the beginning. They were because they had to be, they wanted

their share.

P: They were looking, as you say, for life, and liberty, and security....

J: Yes.

P: And happiness. Now what kind of people, which group of people are

you talking about. You're certainly not talking about black


J: No, I'm talking about the white, small landholders.

P: That's right, and these were the people who dominated the political

institutions before and after the Civil War.

J: Oh, yes, and you know, the emergence of, of the blacks as a

really sizable voting force has been very recent, really.

P: That's, although they made up over half of the population of


J: Yes.

P: And blacks have been residents of this state from the earliest

times, they came in with the Spanish. Not as slaves, either,

as free men.

J: As free men, they were here long, in Florida, long before blacks

were ever in Virginia. I've read, you know, that when these

blacks arrived in Virginia, that's when the history of theilack

people in America began....not so.

P: No, it's the history of the black slave people in America, but the

first free blacks came into this area, not very many, but there

were blacks in this area....

J: There certainly were.

Fla Pers 44AB 29


P: ,41Mithe Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the

Bill of Rights promised everybody equality, but that was not a

dream to be realized for black people until twentieth century

Florida, was it?

J: It was not, and you know, the change we have seen since the Civil

Rights Law of 1964 has been so dramatic it's just mind-boggling.

The changes that that particular law brought. I think the black

people have emerged as a strong force now, but of course, for

many years, had very little voice. That they have produced leaders

out of all proportion to the voice they had, I believe.

P: Well, did they achieve all of these wonderful gains as a result of

the enthusiastic cooperation of Floridians?

J: (Laughs) They achieved it in spite of the lack of cooperation

of white Floridians.

P: They've made great strides in the last two decades, and certainly

since the Civil Rights Act of the 1960's, but you and I know

from our own historical research the controversy that developed in

St. Augustine in the 1960's.

J: Yes.

P: When the Martin Luther King and his associates attempted to

integrate the public facilities, including the beach in St.


J: There was violence, and it was ugly violence.

P: Violence, violence, and a lot of the leadership, political leadership

of the state, and the political leadership of St. Johns County

actually endorsed that violence, or at least they stood by and

allowed the violence to take place.

Fla Pers 44AB 30


J: They allowed it to happen.

P: There have been many attacks made on a great variety of minorities

in this state.g/A

J: Yes, there have been.

P:A ou remember that in 1928, Florida went Republican for the first

time, largely as a result of the religious identification of the

presidential nominee for the Democratic party.

J:/A Al Smith was a Roman Catholic, and one of my favorite Florida

stories concerns a man who was elected to the governorship on the

ground that he was going to prevent the Catholics from doing anything

terrible in Florida.

P: That was Sydney J. Katz who was elected in 1916.

J: Sydney J. Katz. And his, his successor, when he was campaigning

said,'now, let's examine, Sydney J. Katz promised you that he was

going to keep the Catholics down, but,while he was office, one

Pope died, and he let them elect another without raising a finger

to stop it.

P: But, uh, the Ku Klux Klan was an active force in Florida after the

First World War. You pointed out in our conversation earlier how

a Jew served as United States senator from Florida beginning in

1845. There was a rising degree of anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism

in twentieth century Florida.

J: Yes, yes, that's been a twentieth century phenomenon.

P: Steven R. Mallory was Secretary of the Navy in the Confederate


J: He was, and interestingly enough, he was a Roman Catholic from

Florida, and our first senator was a Jew.

Fla Pers 44ab 31


P: I think that's important, these were the two men that represented

Florida at the tjme of Florida's secession in 1861. So the dream

that was suggested by the Declaration of Independence, and the

patriots of the 1770's was not to be realized for all people until

relatively recent.

J: This is very true.

P: And then, over the opposition of a great many whites....

J: Yes.

P: ....the blacks did not achieve their goals very easily, and perhaps

in 1978, they still have not achieved their goals.

J: I would, I would say that was true.

P: You know, w6've wrapped the whole period of the American Revolution

in this great mantle of patriotism, and I'm sure there's a real

basis for it, you know, Valley Forge was not just a figment of

people's imagination, and George Washington did have a tremendous

job in maintaining morale and securing the support that he needed,

and eventually, you know, the good guys won as far as American

history is concerned. Do you think there's the same level of

patriotism, the same level of morale in twentieth century America?

J: I don't know. In some cases I would be inclined to say no, I think

we suffered a very grave blow ;fv the Vietnamese War, we're going

to be a long time recovering from that.

P: So have we realized the drean of the American Revolution?

J: I don't think....we have realized it, but I would also say, I

wonder if any state in this union has fully realized the dream of

the revolution. It was a .noble dream, an almost unprecedented

dream. So perhaps we can't be altogether chastized for not having

Fla Pers 44AB 3Z


J: realized it.

P: Well, as we look toward future Florida, are you optimistic?

J: I am reasonably optimistic, if destruction of the environment

doesn't do the worst thing to us, and give us complications of

such a nature that everyone's life will be diminished. I would

hate to see Florida totally paved, and everybody living in small


P: When we begin to look at what's happening to our rivers, and

Tampa Bay, and the threats to the Everglades, and to the water

which in some areas, I understand in Florida, is already running


J: Yes.

P: .... this is a place for the trained scientists, the trained

environmentalists, and not the passing ecologist.

J: This is true, and we'd better start praying for good geologists.

That's what we need.A 7he reason I. see. ecology in quotes is because,

as I always understood the term, ecology referred to what was there,

it's not a positive or a negative thing in itself at all, it's the

relationship of things in balance. It used to be, you know,

that in Tallahassee, the worst thing that you could say about a

person was that he was weak on his warblers, he couldn't identify

the right bird at the right time, and that's disappearing, unfortunately

and I hate to see it go. But I don't know what the answer is, I

wish I did. I, I do have one particular annoyance, that in Florida,

many people speak out in favor of, quote, "ecology", unquote, who

really aren't scientists, and I think that we ought to listen to

the scientists, there are too many amateurs in this business, and

Fla Pers 44ab 33


J: our situation is getting so desperate, we really have no room

for amateurs.

P: Well, what about the, the political dream, what about the dream

of equality, the right of every man to see that his children are

educated, that he can get a job, that he will have a decent

place to live, a job that he can look towards security when he

gets ready to retire?

J: I1W optimistic about this, It* very optimistic about this. Of

course, one of the things I think we have to work on is our health

care, and not only in Florida, but in the nation as a whole.

But I am optimistic, the dream is achievable.

P: You and I are so much a part of the university scene, and deal on

a day to day basis with young people. Are you optimistic about

their futures?

J: Very much so. I think they're one of the finest groups of young

people I've ever seen, the ones we have right now.

P: So you have not lost faith in the young Floridians?

J: Oh, no, not at all. And I think their, their enthusiasm for

building a better Florida, in many ways, is going to be contagious.

P: Well, if this is true, then, the dream that was expressed in the

1770)j-at the time of the American Revolution, if it's the

responsibility of these young Floridians, and young Americans,

then it will be achieved.

J: Then I think it will be achievable, yes.

P: So the future that you see, when you get ready to write the sequel

to your book, is going to be a very bright one.

J: It's going to be a bright one, yes.

Fla Pers 44AB,


?: You have been listening to History in the Sunshine, with historian,

biographer, and novelist Gloria Jahoda, of Tallahassee,, /nd Dr.

Samuel Proctor, Distinguished Service Professor of History at the

University of Florida in Gainesville. Mrs. Jahoda's book,

Florida, a Bicentennial History, is part of a series entitled The

States in the Nation, consisting of a history of every state plus

the District of Columbia. e rdit- WA grant funds from

the National Endowment for the Humanities, the series is published

by the American Association for State and Local History, and

W. W. Norton and Company, Incorporated. This program is made
available as a public service by the American Association for

State and Local History, and ,was made possible by a grant from

the National Endowment for the Humanities. The interview was

conducted in the studies of WFSU-FM at Florida State University

in Tallahassee. Views expressed in the program are those

of the participants alone. I'm Tom Berger.

, Eevp r or^ve

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