Sunday, September 28, 2008

this and that

So because one of my topics within the general history of music in Winter Park is the history of musical education in Winter Park, I've been doing some research on Jim Crow laws in Florida. Here are some of the laws which I either thought applied or were interesting:

1885: Education [Constitution]
White and colored children shall not be taught in the same school.

1895: Education [Statute]
Penal offense for any persons to conduct any school, any grade, either public or private where whites and blacks are instructed or boarded in the same building, or taught in the same class by the same teachers. Penalty: Between $150 and $500 fine, or imprisonment in the county jail between three and six months.

1913: Education [Statute]
Unlawful for white teachers to teach Negroes in Negro schools, and for Negro teachers to teach in white schools. Penalty: Violators subject to fines up to $500, or imprisonment up to six months.

1927: Education [Statute]
Criminal offense for teachers of one race to instruct pupils of the other in public schools.

1927: Race classification [Statute]
Defined the words "Negro" or "colored person" to include persons who have one eighth or more Negro blood.

1967: Public accommodations [City Ordinance]
Sarasota passed a city ordinance stating that "Whenever members of two or more…races shall…be upon any public…bathing beach within the corporate limits of the City of Sarasota, it shall be the duty of the Chief of police or other officer…in charge of the public forces of the City...with the assistance of such police forces, to clear the area involved of all members of all races present."

It's still crazy to me to think about how recent all of this is. The Jim Crow laws were verified by the Supreme Court with the "understanding" that all black facilities had to be equal in quality to those of the whites, but this was hardly ever the case, and so I have to imagine that black education in Florida was sub-par to say the least.

I was also researching the Great Depression in Florida to see how it affected Winter Park (and musicians specifically), and found this interesting bit:

"In April of 1929, just a few months before the stock market crash, Orlando and Florida received its own devastating news. The Mediterranean fruit fly was discovered in a citrus grove near Orlando. State and federal inspectors began to look for more and discovered a massive infestation. Officially 1,002 groves in South and Central Florida were infested. 72 percent of all the commercial citrus trees in the state. Over the summer of 1929 and into the fall, tens of thousands of trees were cut down and burned. All infected trees were destroyed."

I realize this has little to do with my topic, but I thought it was interesting to know that Central Florida was already in big trouble before the Great Depression. I have found many letters to the director of the music program at Rollins during the depression from musicians begging for work. There were few jobs available for those with practical training; it is no stretch of the imagination to think that musicians would have trouble finding work.

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