Miami-Dade Lynchings

Great Chance of Being Lynched in Florida

Florida was not always the “Sunshine State”. Marvin Dunn, FIU Professor Emeritus For Community Psychology and Miami-Dade resident, activist, and author describes it as a reinvention of the 1950s to attract tourists. Before that, Florida was a racist southern state like many others, and, in some ways, worse. A black person in Florida was almost as likely being lynched as a black person in Mississippi or Alabama.

A new Florida law (dubbed the Stop Woke Act) requires lessons on race to be taught in “an objective manner,” and not “used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.” It also says students should not be made to “feel guilt” because of actions committed by others in the past. Proponents of the law, which went into effect last summer, contend some teachers have inserted political beliefs into lessons related to race. Already the Florida Department of Education rejected an Advanced Placement African American studies course offered by the College Board as a result of the new education law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Dr. Marvin Dunn, FIU Professor Emeritus, Community Psychology

Dunn highlights Black stories by offering a tour to sites where historic events transpired. His “Teach the Truth” tour in January took high school students and their parents to the historic locations of Florida lynchings of victims like Arthur McDuffie. The Black insurance salesman was beaten to death by six White police officers in 1980. The Rosewood massacre, the story of the Newberry Six lynchings or the murders of Black civil rights activists bombed to death on Christmas Day in 1951 are some of the Florida atrocities against black residents Dunn includes in the Florida history tour. His appeal for whites and blacks is to “sit down and listen to each other”.

Dunn’s book “A History of Florida: Through Black Eyes” contains photos unearthed over 50 years of research, documenting lynchings and other crimes against Black Floridians. He donated a collection of 4,000 photos recording that past to FIU. You can find more information about his “Teach the Truth” tour and more at

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