What It Feels Like to be Black in America


Seminole County, Florida ~ named for the Seminole people who once lived throughout the area. The term Seminole comes from the Creek word ‘semino le’, which means ‘runaway’ and the Spanish word cimarrón which means “runaway slave.” While the logo of the Florida State University Seminoles is that of a white man, Thomas Wright a longtime music professor at the school with a free lifetime pass to all athletic events, Seminole is the collective name given to the amalgamation/intermixing of various groups of native Americans and runaway- ex-enslaved Africans who settled in Florida in the early 18th century and fought three wars against the United States. The 1st Seminole War was from 1814 to 1819, the 2nd from 1835 to 1842, and the 3rd from 1855 to 1858. In 1817, future U.S. President Andrew Jackson, called the “Extermination President” for his savagery in profiling and annihilating the Native population, invaded then-Spanish Florida and defeated the Seminoles in the 1st war. And after defeating U.S. forces in early battles of the 2nd War, Seminole leader Chief Osceola was tricked, then captured on Oct. 20, 1837, when U.S. troops said they wanted a truce to talk peace. In 1946, Jackie Robinson, in Sanford at a Brooklyn Dodgers’ baseball training camp, couldn’t stay in a white-owned hotel with teammates and was forced to flee the town in the middle of the night to avoid being lynched by local whites opposed to desegregation of the team. Fast forward to Christmas 1952, in an atmosphere of race terror and state indifference, NAACP leader Harry T. Moore and his wife Harriette were killed when the Ku Klux Klan blew up their’ home on Christmas night. The closest hospital was 35 miles away in Sanford. There was a delay in getting the couple to the hospital and getting a black doctor to attend to them. They both died in Sanford. No one spent a day in jail for his or her murders. Today the racial makeup of the county is 82.41% White, 9.52% Black, 11.15% Hispanic, or Latino, 0.30% Native American 2.50% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.06% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. Out of a population of 54,000, about 57 percent of Sanford City residents are white and 31 percent are black.