Bygone Jax: Our Unsung History

Brendan Rivers, Tammy Cherry

The city of Jacksonville turned 200 in 2022, but how much do Jaxsons really know about their city’s history? Bygone Jax: Our Unsung History, a podcast from WJCT Public Media, highlights some of the lesser known or little explored stories from the River City’s past.In Episodes 1 and 2, we take listeners back to March of 1863, when two regiments of Black Union soldiers were sent to Jacksonville to occupy the city for the third time during the Civil War. Their mission: pester Confederate troops in the area, free enslaved people along the St. Johns River and enlist as many Black men as possible.They were there for just three weeks, but during that short span of time, media coverage of what transpired in Jacksonville helped turn the tide of public opinion on Black troops serving in the army. Seeing this as a chance to tip the scales in the Union’s favor, President Abraham Lincoln’s administration decided to move forward with the full-scale enlistment of Black troops. Some historians believe the Union wouldn’t have won the war if it weren’t for the resulting influx of manpower.Then, in Episodes 3-5: The indigenous history of Northeast Florida stretches back over 12,000 years, but too often conversations about it are limited to a handful of talking points which may not even be true. With the help of research by local experts and supporting historical documents, we tackle three of the most common myths and misconceptions about Jacksonville’s indigenous history and take a look at the far more fascinating truth.Research for this podcast comes from Florida State College at Jacksonville, which launched a new History of Jacksonville course in fall of 2022.

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