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Notable Jacksonvillians

A. Philip Randolph
Asa Philip Randolph,
Civil Rights leader,
1889-1979

Over the years, many people, both famous and infamous have called Jacksonville home. This page lists some of the more noted people to reside here. The gamut runs from politicians to performers to preachers.


Arts

Pat Boone
Entertainer. He was born in Jacksonville and later spent time here with relatives.
Frederick Delius
Composer who lived near Jacksonville for a time. His Florida Suite was inspired by his time here.
James Weldon Johnson
Educator, poet, writer. He is most noted for writing Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, known as the "Negro National Anthem."
Henry Klutho
Architect who designed many of the buildings that went up in Jacksonville after the 1901 fire.
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Southern Rock band formed in Jacksonville. The original members met in high school here.
Ruth Crawford Seeger
Composer and step-mother of folk singer Pete Seeger. She grew up in Jacksonville and began her formal musical training here.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Author of Uncle Tom's Cabin spent winters in Mandarin and wrote a collection of vignettes on life in the area titled Palmetto Leaves.

Business

Edward Ball
Brother-in-law and manager of the estate of Alfred I. duPont. He guided the estate for many years and by the time he died in 1981, it was a large charitable force. Later in life, he became involved with the Florida East Coast Railroad.
Alfred I. du Pont
Already a rich and powerful man by the time he came to Florida in the 1920s, du Pont concentrated on banking and real estate businesses in this state. His business interests and previous wealth led to a charitable organization called the Nemours Foundation which provides the financial backbone for several children's hospitals in Florida and Delaware.
Henry Flagler
Although he did not live in Jacksonville, Flagler's railroad, the Florida East Coast Railway, was an important part of Jacksonville's economy. He also owned part of the Florida Times-Union the lone surviving daily newspaper in Jacksonville.

Politicians and other Civic Leaders

St. Elmo W. Acosta
City Councilor, State Legislator, and City Commissioner among other posts. The first bridge to allow automobile and pedestrian traffic over the St. Johns River was named after him.
Charles E. Bennett
State Legislator and member of U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1993. The Federal Building downtown is named for him. Bennett has also written several books on Florida history, often focusing on Jacksonville.
Napoleon Bonaparte Broward
Governor, Sheriff, Legislator, and gun-runner. Broward delivered arms to Cuban rebels before the U.S. went to war with Spain in the late 1800s. Politically, he was a reforming progressive in the mold of Theodore Roosevelt. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1910, but died before he took office.
Cecil Farris Bryant
Governor and State Legislator. He later served in appointed posts under President Lyndon Johnson.
Haydon Burns
Governor and Mayor of Jacksonville. His four terms as Mayor (1949-1964) are the longest that anyone has held that position. His administration led many of the efforts in the mid-20th Century to modernize Jacksonville and led to the city that we know today. The 1965 Main Library building was named in honor of him.
Richard Daniel
Attorney and businessman. He founded the Jacksonville Urban League in 1947 and worked for racial equality for many years. A building downtown is named for him. Once home to many state agencies, it is now part of the Adam's Mark Hotel.
George Frankin Drew
Governor during the end of Reconstruction. He owned sawmills and other lumber industry companies.
Francis Philip Fleming
Governor, attorney and Civil War officer.
Ossian Hart
First native-born Floridian to serve as Governor. He was the son of one of the founders of Jacksonville, Isaiah Hart. He was a major force in Reconstruction in Florida, serving as an associate justice of the Florida Supreme Court before running for Congress and later becoming Governor. Ocean Street in downtown Jacksonville is named for him, although the spelling was changed.
John Wellborn Martin
Governor, mayor and attorney. While Governor, he improved Florida's state road system, public school financing and provided free schoolbooks for Florida children through the sixth grade.
A. Philip Randolph
Labor and civil rights leader in the 20th century. He grew up in Jacksonville and attained notoriety after leaving for New York. By 1919 he was identified in a government report as "the most dangerous Negro in America" due to his Socialist leanings and labor supporting writings. He organized the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famed "I have a Dream..." speech.
Harrison Reed
Governor, tax commissioner, and postal agent in the 1860s. After his term as Governor was over, he retired to his farm and later became the editor of an agricultural magazine, the Semi-Tropical.
Fuller Warren
Governor, State Legislator, and attorney. While Governor, he initiated plans for the Florida Turnpike, better citrus quality control, and the Jacksonville expressway system. The bridge section of I-95 that crosses the St. Johns River is named for him.

Educators

Johnnetta Cole
Educator and author. She served as president of Spelman College for ten years. She has taught at Emory University, served on Bill Clinton's transition team, and is currently president of Bennett College in North Carolina.

Athletes

Bob Hayes
Olympian and football player. Hayes won two gold medals in track at the 1964 Olympics and then became a wide receiver in the NFL. He played ten years with the Dallas Cowboys where he went to two Super Bowls (winning one) and retired after one season with the San Francisco 49ers.

Science

Norman Thagard
Astronaut and physician. He spent time on the Russian space station Mir and has logged five space flights.

Explorers

Jean Ribaut (also known as Ribault)
French naval officer who explored the St. Johns River area near present-day Jacksonville. The French eventually founded a settlement, Fort Caroline, which the Spanish under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés destroyed. Ribaut died in the aftermath of that attack.
René Goulaine de Laudonnière
Orginally Ribaut's second-in-command, Laudonnière was charged with establishing a colony on the St. Johns. This was the above mentioned Fort Caroline. Laudonnière escaped the attack and returned to France.