Millard Fillmore Caldwell: Governing on the Wrong Side of History (Florida in Focus) (Paperback)

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When actions of the past clash with the values of today

Millard Fillmore Caldwell (1897-1984) was once considered one of the greatest Floridians of his generation. Yet today he is known for his inability to adjust to the racial progress of the modern world. In this biography, leading Florida historian Gary Mormino tackles the difficult question of how to remember yesterday's heroes who are now known to have had serious flaws.

The last Florida governor born in the nineteenth century and the first to govern in the atomic age, Caldwell was beloved in his time for leading the state through the hard years of World War II. He was wildly successful in a political career that may never be matched, serving as governor, congressman, state legislator, and chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. He passed important educational reform legislation. But his attitudes toward race and citizenship strike Americans today as embarrassing and shocking. He refused to address black leaders by their titles. He argued for segregated bomb shelters. And he accepted lynching as part of the southern way of life.

Mormino measures the contributions of Caldwell alongside his glaring faults, discussing his complicated role in shaping modern Florida. In the current debates surrounding public memorials and historical memory in the United States, Millard Fillmore Caldwell is a timely example of one man's contested legacy.


A volume in the series Florida in Focus, edited by Andrew K. Frank.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780813066509
ISBN-10: 0813066506
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2020
Pages: 196
Language: English
Series: Florida in Focus