Florida Memorial University Professor of History Tameka Hobbs is joining Midtown Reader on May 19 for a discussion of her latest book DEMOCRACY ABROAD, LYNCHING AT HOME.
Florida is frequently viewed as an atypical southern state more progressive and culturally diverse but, when examined in proportion to the number of African American residents, it suffered more lynchings than any of its Deep South neighbors during the Jim Crow era.
Investigating this dark period of the state s history and focusing on a rash of anti-black violence that took place during the 1940s, Tameka Hobbs explores the reasons why lynchings continued in Florida when they were starting to wane elsewhere. She contextualizes the murders within the era of World War II, contrasting the desire of the United States to broadcast the benefits of its democracy abroad while at home it struggled to provide legal protection to its African American citizens.
As involvement in the global war deepened and rhetoric against Axis powers heightened, the nation s leaders became increasingly aware of the blemish left by extralegal violence on America s reputation. Ultimately, Hobbs argues, the international implications of these four murders, along with other antiblack violence around the nation, increased pressure not only on public officials in Florida to protect the civil rights of African Americans in the state but also on the federal government to become more active in prosecuting racial violence.
Called " a compelling reminder of just how troubling and violent the Sunshine State's racial past has been" and a "must read" by Ervin D. S Winsboro, editor of Old South, New South or Down South?, Hobbs reviews four lynchings and our violent racial past which led to the state's civil rights movement.
Dr. Hobbs is a native of Live Oak, Florida, and a graduate of Florida State University where she earned her doctoral degree in United States History, and Historical Administration and Public History. She has taught courses in American, African American, oral history, and public history at Florida A&M University, Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, and John Tyler Community College, in Chester, Virginia. In addition to her teaching experience, she has served as a researcher, writer, consultant, and director for a number of public and oral history projects in Florida and Virginia, including the African American Trailblazers in Virginia History Program, a statewide educational program focused on celebrating African American History. Her professional experience includes serving as Director of Projects and Program for the John G. Riley Museum and Center of African American History and Culture, located in Tallahassee, Florida. After relocating to Virginia, between 2006 and 2007, Hobbs worked as the historian and coordinator of the Valentine Richmond History Center’s Richmond History Gallery Project.
From 2007 to 2011, Hobbs worked as Program and Education Manager for the Library of Virginia, where she coordinated the African American Trailblazers in Virginia History Program, a statewide educational program focused on celebrating African American History. In 2011, she authored a children’s book about the Library of Virginia entitled To Collect, Protect, and Serve: Behind the Scenes at the Library of Virginia.
Hobbs joined the faculty of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida, in August of 2011. In 2012 and 2013, she participated in the “Route to Our Roots: The Power of a Greater Vision” Lecture Series, sponsored by the John G. Riley Center and Museum of African American History and Culture and the Florida Humanities Council for the Viva Florida 500 observance of the state’s quincentennial. Her book, Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida will be published by the University Press of Florida in August 2015.