7 Black Facts About Jax You Didn't Already Know!

February 2, 2016 8 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

In celebration of Black History Month, here's a few things you probably didn't know about Jacksonville.

3. Forty Acres and a Mule meets Jacksonville

Image courtesy of Isaac McCaslin

Forty acres and a mule refers to a concept in the United States for agrarian reform for former enslaved African American farmers, following disruptions to the institution of slavery provoked by the American Civil War. Many may have heard of the term "40 acres and a mule". However, most don't know that the land earmarked for former slaves included Jacksonville. Here's a brief description of the area from General Sherman's Special Field Orders on January 6, 1865:

[ quote ]The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns River, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the Negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.

At Beaufort, Hilton Head, Savannah, Fernandina, St. Augustine and Jacksonville, the Blacks may remain in their chosen or accustomed vocations--but on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves, subject only to the United States military authority and the acts of Congress.[ quote ]

Image courtesy of NPR

What would Jacksonville look like today if Sherman's Orders were actually carried out by the federal government?

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