Tallahassee (1824): midway between Pensacola (1559, 1698) and St. Augustine (1565)

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Today’s Topic — Tallahassee (1824): midway between Pensacola (1559, 1698) and St. Augustine (1565)

This is the first in a series on state capitals that I have never visited. The idea is to get out of the Boston bubble. Never having driven cross-country, I thought it was time to do so virtually. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE LOCATION — midway between Pensacola (western border) and St. Augustine (Atlantic coast)

1.)After the US acquisition of Florida from Spain in 1819, the two largest cities, Pensacola and St. Augustine were at opposite ends of the state and therefore not convenient as the site for a state capital.

2.) A beautiful waterfall (now located in Cascade Park, above) drove the final choice!

3.) The Mission San Luis de Apalachee had been built there in 1633, but it was destroyed in 1704 “to prevent its use by an approaching militia of Creek Indians and South Carolinians.”

A UNIVERSITY TOWN WITH FOUR SEASONS

1. Florida State University is the second largest employer in town after the State of Florida itself (14,378 versus 19,442 as of 2015).

2. Florida A&M is the “fifth largest historically black college by total enrollment. It was founded in 1887 as the “Normal College for Colored Students.”

3. Two A&M students, Wilhelmina Jakes and Carrie Patterson, led the Tallahassee Bus Boycott of 1956 against the racial segregation in the “employment and seating arrangements of city buses.”

DEMOGRAPHICS AND POLITICS

1. Non-Hispanic White: 53%, Black, 35%, Hispanic 6%.

2. A bastion of progressive activism in traditionally conservative northern Florida.

3. James R. Ford was the first black mayor of any capital city in the US. Elected in 1972, he was re-elected in 1976 and 1982.

Tallahassee, Florida

Mission San Luis de Apalachee

Leon County, Florida

James R. Ford

Tallahassee bus boycott

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Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.