Coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries, the Florida Book Awards is the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program. It was established in 2006 to celebrate the best Florida literature.
We are pleased to announce our three award-winning titles in this year’s competition.
FLORIDA NONFICTION, SILVER MEDALIST
by Gregory W. Bush
In May 1945, activists staged a “wade-in” at a whites-only beach in Miami, protesting the Jim Crow-era laws that denied blacks access to recreational waterfront areas. Pressured by protesters in this first postwar civil rights demonstration, the Dade County Commission ultimately designated the difficult-to-access Virginia Key as a beach for African Americans. The beach became vitally important to the community, and was also a tangible victory in the continuing struggle for civil rights in public space.
In White Sand Black Beach, historian and longtime Miami activist Gregory Bush recounts this unique story and the current state of the public waterfront in Miami. Recently environmentalists, community leaders, and civil rights activists have come together to revitalize the beach, and Bush highlights the potential to stimulate civic engagement in public planning processes. A place of fellowship, relaxation, and interaction with nature, this beach, Bush argues, offers a common ground of hope for a better future.
FLORIDA NONFICTION, BRONZE MEDALIST
by Marty Jourard
Many American college towns have their own story to tell when it comes to their rock and roll roots, but Gainesville’s story is unique: dozens of resident musicians launched into national prominence, eight inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a steady stream of major acts rolling through on a regular basis.
Marty Jourard—himself a member of the chart-topping Motels—looks at Gainesville through the mid-1960s and 1970s, delving into individual stories of the musicians, businesses, and promoters that helped foster innovative, professional music in a small north Florida town. Jourard brings to light a key chapter in the history of American rock and roll—a time when music was a way of life and bands popped up by the dozen, some falling by the wayside but others indelibly changing the face of rock and roll. Here is the story of the people, the town, and a culture that nurtured a wellspring of talent.
VISUAL ARTS, BRONZE MEDALIST
by Gary Monroe
In the age of railroads and steamships, of frontier Florida and the tourism boom of the early 1900s, photographer E. G. Barnhill set up shop in the young city of St. Petersburg. He pioneered a popular new type of tourist art, colorizing black-and-white snapshots taken by himself and his customers. He sold many of his hand-colored photographs as postcards or home décor.
Filled with vibrant images of Barnhill’s unique creations, this book showcases a little-known artist whose inventive techniques—particularly his uranium-dye coloring—merit a place in the story of American photography. A fascinating mix of photographic realism and individual artistic vision, his work reveals both the Florida that was and the Florida that tourists wanted to believe in.