Of course while writing that headline I had Sam Cooke’s music going through my head. But it’s a serious question…
For whatever reason, the rich history of Florida, the first part of the continental United States to be colonized by Europeans, as well as a place with a rich pre-Columbian history is often ignored by its residents.
While many other states in the union openly boast about their history, and residents tend to be more informed about it, Florida’s history remains largely hidden. In the coming months we’ll aim to educate and inform more about much of our state’s history.
But first a few questions. Why is it that Floridians know so little about the state’s history or don’t care?
Is it the transient nature of the state’s population that creates this phenomena?
Or could it be that as Americans we are taught colonial British history and are predisposed to ignore much of what the Spanish built?
Maybe it is because the explosive growth in population of the state after World War II has left the impression among many that Florida was simply a rural backwater beforehand (this in many ways is true, but doesn’t detract from our unique history)?
Is it that we’ve become so concerned about racism that everything that happened in Florida prior to 1965 is viewed with contempt? (This has even led to a bizarre change in the name of a state park as any white officeholder in Broward County prior to the 1960’s is presumed to have been a racist – many were so since we’re changing names why rename the county and its primary city, Fort Lauderdale, one of which is named for a classic Bourbon Democrat and the other for a slayer of Native Americans?)
I asked this question also via Twitter and got a few responses.
Floridians – why do we not honor or even know our history the way residents of other states do? Is it the transient nature of things? Is it because it’s largely Spanish rather than English? Is it due to the sad racist history of Fla? Writing a piece for @Flasqueeze on it.— Kartik Krishnaiyer (@kkfla737) April 6, 2019
Florida’s history is illustrious and proud. In the coming months we’ll be rerunning/updating some old history features here and writing some new ones. In the meantime we’d like your opinions as to why Floridians don’t know or care about history as much as they should, and your thoughts about what we should cover. Thanks much!