Jacksonville, a city of 700,000 residents, is located few miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean along the St. Johns River.
African American population in metro Jacksonville tops 225,000.
By merging with Duval County, Jacksonville became one of the nation’s largest cities in land area with 841 square miles.
Jacksonville is both a major port city and the largest financial center of Florida.
Jacksonville attracts 5 million visitors per year.
On 12 February 1900, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, the unofficial Negro National Anthem composed by the Johnson Brothers, was sung publicly for the first time. It was a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday at the Colored School in Jacksonville. In 1926, James Weldon Johnson acknowledged that the song was not written as an expression of African-American unity.
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National figures here or made their mark here include:
Asa Philip Randolph – One of the greatest under-appreciated leaders of the modern Civil Rights Movement in America; co-organized the 1963 March on Washington
James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson – Brothers who co-composed the unofficial Negro National Anthem
Hattie Emerson – Founded Old Brewster Hospital for Colored patients
Reverend James McDonald & Reverend Ryan Frier – Organized the first Baptist church in Jacksonville under the title Bethel Baptist Church in 1838
Clara White – Founded a mission to care for the sick and needy in Jacksonville’s LaVilla district
Richard Daniel – Attorney who founded the Jacksonville Urban League in 1947; building downtown is named for him, its now part of the Adam’s Mark Hotel
Dr. Johnnetta Cole – Served as president of Spelman College, taught at Emory University, served on President Bill Clinton’s transition team, president of Bennett College in North Carolina; also a published author
Bob Hayes – 1964 Olympian and pro football player for the Dallas Cowboys; was the fastest wide receiver in the NFL