Today, we hear about how Florida deeply embraced Jim Crow including the Rosewood massacre and account injustice toward black families beyond separate water fountains and restrooms. Welcome to Florida Time, a weekly column about Florida history.

Q: What was the extent of Jim Crow in early 20 century Florida?

We’ve said that Florida is now the most “northern” of the southern states. Its Jewish and Hispanic populations are among the largest in the nation and each boasts its own diversity.

The state has had Hispanic members of the U.S. Congress, Senate as well as regional and state elected officials from every ethnic group imaginable. A lieutenant governor and the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor were African-American.

But in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Florida was fiercely Southern. And like much of the South, to its shame, deeply embraced Jim Crow.

There were people who didn’t look like the Pilgrims and who hadn’t come voluntarily. The end of the Civil War was supposed to have made them full citizens. That ideal slammed head-on into the reality of racism and resentment.

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It wasn’t just separate water fountains and restrooms, which this writer remembers seeing as a child in Miami in the 1960s. That was mild. From 1918 to 1927 alone, 416 blacks were lynched nationwide. Of those murders, 47 were in Florida.

And while lynchings are one thing, massacres are something else.

On New Year’s Day of 1923, a 22-year-old white woman named Fannie Taylor told the sheriff in Levy County, west of Ocala, that a black man had assaulted her. Soon a mob of between 400 and 500 people was searching the woods around Rosewood, a community of about 300 black families. After seven days of violence, six blacks and two whites had been killed and Rosewood had been burned to the ground.

A 1993 investigation commissioned by the state would called it “a tragedy of American democracy and the American legal system.”

As dramatic as that massacre was, another incident became nothing less than a sideshow of the Cold War.

In 1949, four black men were accused of raping a white woman outside Groveland, in Lake County, north of Orlando. One man was killed by a mob a few days later. The other three were tried and convicted. After the St. Petersburg Times published articles showing distances and timing made the men’s guilt physically impossible, and when future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, then with the NAACP, stepped in, a retrial was ordered. The Lake County sheriff drove to the prison to get the boys and shot two of them while they “escaped” as he changed a flat. One died. The surviving two were convicted again. One served 19 years, one 12. The Soviet Union would gleefully make propaganda hay, arguing freedom-loving Americans were hypocrites.

Other individual miscarriages of justice against black Floridians are too numerous to mention. And that’s the ones we know about.

READER REWIND: What's your Florida story? Share it with Eliot by leaving a voicemail at (850) 270-8418.

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Next week: The Binder Boys

Last week: The two Henry’s who made Florida

From a reader: I love your column and am so happy to see it. I’m wondering did any Forts in Fl that are now national parks see any action like fort Sumter? I thought I heard one was used as a prison and was involved in a prisoner exchange. So what’s the story? -Susan

Eliot Kleinberg is a staff writer for the past three decades at The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, and the author of 10 books about Florida (www.ekfla.com). Submit your questions to FloridaTime@Gatehouse.com, or in care of this newspaper. Include your full name and hometown. Sorry; no personal replies.