Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2015.

From the University Press of Florida:

“Hobbs unearths four lynchings that are critical to the understanding of the origins of civil rights in Florida. The oral histories from the victims’ families and those in the communities make this a valuable contribution to African American, Florida, and civil rights history.”–Derrick E. White, author of The Challenge of Blackness

“A compelling reminder of just how troubling and violent the Sunshine State’s racial past has been. A must read.”–Irvin D.S. Winsboro, editor of Old South, New South, or Down South?

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.

News & Reviews:

Book Review: ‘Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida’ by Tameka Bradley Hobbs. By Michael Hoffman (, November 28, 2015)

Article: “Revealing the truth about lynching in Florida’s history” by Andrea Robinson (South Florida Times, October 14, 2015)

Tameka B. Hobbs, “A Vital Cohesion: African American Women as Activists in the Family and Society,” in Afrikan American Women: Living at the Crossroads of Race, Gender, Class, and Culture. Edited by Huberta Jackson-Lowman. Cognella Press, 2014.

From Cognella Press:

Afrikan American Women: Living at the Crossroads of Race, Gender, Class and Culture comprehensively addresses the psychological experiences of women of Afrikan ancestry in the United States. This anthology brings together the work of psychologists, social workers, historians, and other scholars who have studied Black female oppression. Their research examines the effects of race, gender, class, and culture on the mental, emotional, and physical health and psychosocial adjustment of Afrikan American women. The book provides a psycho-historical analysis of the experiences of these women across their life spans and discusses the historical and contemporary issues that have contributed to the current conditions they face.

Each unit is organized around three critical questions identified by psychiatrist Franz Fanon:

1. Identity – Who are we?
2. Authenticity – Are we really who we think we are?
3. Purpose – Are we all we ought to be?

Using qualitative and quantitative approaches, the book challenges students to critique Afrikan American women’s experiences using an Africentric worldview lens. By addressing the trauma that Afrikan American women have faced, it places in perspective the lived conditions of Afrikan American women and contributes to the debunking of myths and stereotypes perpetuated about them. Afrikan American Women is ideal for Women’s Studies, African American Studies, Psychology, and Sociology courses. It is also a good supplemental text for courses in Health and Education.

After War Times: An African American Childhood in Reconstruction-Era Florida by T. Thomas Fortune. Edited by Daniel R. Weinfeld. Foreword by Dawn Herd-Clark. Afterword by Tameka Bradley Hobbs. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2014.

From the University of Alabama Press:

T. Thomas Fortune was a leading African American publisher, editor, and journalist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who was born a slave in antebellum Florida lived through emancipation, and rose to become a literary lion of his generation. In T. Thomas Fortune’s “After War Times,” Daniel R. Weinfeld brings together a series of twenty-three autobiographical articles Fortune wrote about his formative childhood during Reconstruction and subsequent move to Washington, DC. By 1890 Fortune had founded a predecessor organization to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, known as the National Afro-American League, but his voice found its most powerful expression and influence in poetry, prose, and journalism. It was as a journalist that Fortune stirred national controversy by issuing a passionate appeal to African American southerners: “I propose to start a crusade,” he proclaimed in June 1900, “to have the negroes of the South leave that section and to come north or go elsewhere. It is useless to remain in the South and cry Peace! Peace! When there is no peace.” The movement he helped propel became known as “the Great Migration.”

By focusing on Thomas’s ruminations about his disillusion with post–Civil War Florida, Weinfeld highlights the sources of Fortune’s deep disenchantment with the South, which intensified when the Reconstruction order gave way to Jim Crow–era racial discrimination and violence. Even decades after he left the South, Fortune’s vivid memories of incidents and personalities in his past informed his political opinions and writings. Scholars and readers interested in Southern history in the aftermath of the Civil War, especially the experiences of African Americans, will find much of interest in this vital collection of primary writings.


Born a slave in Marianna, Florida, in 1856, T. Thomas Fortune was freed by the Confederacy’s surrender in 1865, attended Howard College in the late 1870s, and became a journalist, editor, and publisher in New York City, most notably as editor and co-owner of the New York Age. He cofounded in 1890 the Afro-American League, a precursor to the Niagara Falls Movement and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Daniel R. Weinfeld is author of The Jackson County War: Reconstruction and Resistance in Post–Civil War Florida as well as articles about the Reconstruction era in the Florida Historical Quarterly and Southern Jewish History. Dawn J. Herd-Clark is an associate professor of history at Fort Valley State University, in Fort Valley, Georgia. Tameka Bradley Hobbs is an assistant professor of history at Florida Memorial University, in Miami, Florida.

“You Belong To Me: Sex, Race, and Murder in the South – The Ruby McCollum Story” (documentary, 2014)


August 3, 1952. Live Oak, Florida, the heart of the Jim Crow South. (11:34 AM)

Ruby McCollum, age 42, shoots State Senator-elect, Dr. Clifford LeRoy Adams, firing her .32-caliber revolver four times into his body, before going home and warming a bottle of milk for her baby daughter. What began as a bizarre murder case quickly turned into a bright light on the rotting underbelly of the Old South. Ruby McCollum was the wealthiest black woman in Suwannee County, Florida. She lived in one of Live Oak’s finest homes. Her husband, Sam, ran the local numbers racket, owned several farms, and sat on the board of Florida’s largest black life insurance company. They were church-going, upstanding members of the community. Their eldest son had been accepted to UCLA. Murdering the most powerful white man in the town over a doctor’s bill would seem the least likely crime she might commit. With unprecedented cooperation from the McCollum and Adams families, some speaking on the record for the first time, along with several of Florida and Live Oak’s civic leaders, historians and academics, You Belong To Me explores and rips the veil off hidden practices. The film exposes the truth of what it meant to be an African-American in the Jim Crow South and the long road to healing. Was Ruby insane, or was the killing of Dr. Adams the last sane act of a woman whose wealth and status could not protect her from the blind indifference and humiliations of the Jim Crow South?Her story became front-page news nationwide in the black press but was ignored by much of white America. The Judge in her case refused to allow her to be interviewed by reporters, including the famed writers, Zora Neale Hurston and William Bradford Huie. Her testimony proved so explosive, the local paper refused to print it. Her case haunted jurors and prosecutors for decades. Her story became front-page news nationwide in the black press but was ignored by much of white America. The Judge in her case refused to allow her to be interviewed by reporters, including the famed writers, Zora Neale Hurston and William Bradford Huie. Her testimony proved so explosive, the local paper refused to print it. Her case haunted jurors and prosecutors for decades. Over sixty years later, the scars and divides created by Ruby’s case can still be felt in Live Oak, Florida, a town where descendants of both the killer and the victim still live, and where the case is still discussed more often in whispers than open dialogue.

“You Belong to Me” in the News:

Article: “Jim Crow-Era Shooter Revisited 63 Years Later” (South Florida Times, January 9, 2015)