Tameka Bradley Hobbs
Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home
Racial Violence in Florida
University Press of Florida 2015
The World War II era was a transformative period for the United States’ relationship to the rest of the world. Exporting liberal democracy was an important goal for the American government. Yet in places like Florida, the promise of liberal democracy was yet to be fulfilled for African Americans. In her 2015 book Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida (University Press of Florida, 2105), Tameka Bradley Hobbs explores this contradiction by telling the stories of four African American men–Arthur C. Williams, Cellos Harrison, Willie James Howard, and Jessie James Payne–who were lynched in the Panhandle of Florida between 1941-1945. Using a plethora of court documents, white and black press editorials, and oral histories to find the voices of those living in the aftermath of the lynchings, Dr. Hobbs targets the narrative of Florida “exceptionalism” in the American South to show that Florida was actually, per capita, the state where Black Americans were most likely to be lynched.
Adam McNeil is a PhD student in History, African American Public Humanities Initiative and Colored Conventions Project Fellow at the University of Delaware. He can be reached on Twitter @CulturedModesty.