A People's History of Florida follows the People's History tradition, documenting the active involvement of African-Americans, indigenous people, women, and poor whites in shaping the Sunshine State's history.
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Beneath the normal tropical romanticism that has comprised Florida history, lies a long bloody history of struggle of runaway slaves and Seminoles fighting the U.S. military for land and freedom. Beneath the fancy tourist hotels, theme parks, and lily-white suburban enclaves, lie the bones of black Seminole maroons who fled from their masters, seeking freedom under Spanish and Seminole protection. Underneath the shore-front retirement homes of Northern migrants, the wealthy mansions of South Florida, and the overdeveloped downtown areas, lie the bones of Florida's poor whites who fought against an aristocracy of big banks, wealthy speculators, and aristocratic planters. Underneath the Civil War tourist attractions, gift shops, and battlefield renditions, lie the bones of poor whites who were drafted into the Confederate army to fight for the privileged, only to desert and return to fight Florida's Confederate government on the home front. You get the picture. This is not a postcard image of Florida as a sunny beach found in a tourist-based gift shop in the middle of a Gulf-front town. This is the blood, sweat, and tears of countless people who fought for land, freedom, and autonomy.