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Tue Sep 4, 2018, 09:17 AM

How Trump supporters made me feel like a stranger in Florida

As a journalist, I spend a lot of time traveling Florida’s blue highways and back roads. I am a native Floridian, and I always have been keenly aware of the racism and general intolerance in the state, especially in our rural interior and the Panhandle.

As migrant farm laborers, my parents, my siblings and I lived mostly in Broward, Palm Beach, Lake and Putnam counties. We usually lived outside "sundown towns." These towns were bastions of racism that barred African-Americans and other minority groups after sundown. Punishment was usually severe for missing sundown.

During those years, we knew our place. Our fear of white people and white people’s hatred of us were equally palpable. All around us were Confederate flags and other Dixieland iconography to remind us of racial separation and white superiority.

In many towns, such as Palatka in Putnam County, where we worked, Confederate statues stood guard at official government facilities. The specter of these monuments was intimidating. We always gave them wide berth.


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Reply How Trump supporters made me feel like a stranger in Florida (Original post)
HAB911 Sep 2018 OP
lunasun Sep 2018 #1
Haggis for Breakfast Sep 2018 #2
3Hotdogs Sep 2018 #3

Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2018, 10:03 AM

1. I like the person in the comments who claims there is no racism in the area and he has been to 20

Trump rallies and knows the story can't be true

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2018, 11:06 PM

2. I know Palatka too well.

My grandparents once owned a motel there (in the 50s). It closed when the Interstate came through and there was no exit near them. I remember the maids and helpers they employed to held them out. As a little child, I played with their children and we had a little swimming pool just for us "wee bairns." I never understood why they were always gone before supper.

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Response to HAB911 (Original post)

Wed Sep 5, 2018, 12:02 AM

3. My uncle moved to Palatka in '49. I was 14 when my parent drove to Palatka to visit.

I was introduced to a couple of local neighbors so I would have some kids my age to hang with during the week we were there. Teens could drive at 14 in Florida at that time. The nearest neighbor had a 56 Ford and we drove all over.

First to the drive-in restaurant. Then to the local drag strip which was a long dirt road in the middle of nowhere. I was in the car with the kid -- I have long forgotten his name but Duane seems to stick in my mind --- when we were going around 95 mph, racing the car next to us. I don't recall which car won.

Next, this was now around 11:30 p.m. We stopped on a dark road next to some field and the cars pulled up. The trunks were opened and out came a couple of 22 rifles. There was nothing to be seen except two or three lights a couple of miles away. The kids took the rifles and fired a few rounds in the direction of the lights.

They asked if i wanted to shoot the lights. 22's can only go about one mile so it was unlikely any of the lights would go out but, what the hell. I get a rifle and shoot in the direction of the lights. The same number of lights were still there after shells ran out and the shooting was over.

Me: "What's the lights about?"

Kid: "Them's n-----r houses."

That was 1958. I still think about that from time to time.

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