African American History

Jacksonville's First Black Lawyer

Joseph E. Lee, Jacksonville's first black lawyer

Joseph E. Lee is a prominent figure in Jacksonville history. He holds the distinction of having been the City's first Black lawyer as well as having left a legacy of commitment to public service and community. Jacksonville Public Library was recently able to digitize an extensive collection of Joseph E. Lee's professional and personal correspondence, dating from 1877 – 1882. These papers help paint a clearer picture of the man and his accomplishments.

Black History Month 2022

Black History Month

Black History Month (or African American History Month) is celebrated annually in February. It was first created by historian Carter G. Woodson as a week-long event in 1926. Encompassing the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, it highlighted the many achievements that had been made by Black Americans since emancipation. Whether you’re looking for fictional characters or real-life heroes who look like you or you want to learn more about history, the Library has some great options!

Zora Neale Hurston's Birthday

Happy Birthday Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was born on January 7, 1891. After her mother’s death in 1904, Hurston relocated from Central Florida to Jacksonville where she grew, lived, worked, played and loved in Florida’s largest city. A central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, her work celebrated African American culture in the rural South.

Rosa Parks Day

Rosa Parks Day 2021

Rosa Parks was arrested and charged with violating Montgomery’s segregation law on December 1, 1955, an act that would kick start the Montgomery bus boycott. "I had given up my seat before, but this day, I was especially tired. Tired from my work as a seamstress, and tired from the ache in my heart,” Parks would later say. If you have been inspired by Rosa Park’s story to take a stand in your own life or if you would like to learn more about her or other civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Library has a few suggested reads!

Get a Library Card

Jacksonville Public Library Card image