‘Tallahassee’s Black History Firsts’ book out now

A local Tallahassee woman published a book on the black community’s history in Tallahassee in the post-reconstruction era.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:32 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A local Tallahassee woman published a book on the black community’s history in Tallahassee in the post-reconstruction era.

“I’m hoping that this book will encourage HBCU’s and other universities to look more at their local communities and begin to research who were the ‘firsts’ in each professional category,” Author Dorothy Inman-Johnson said.

The book covers a wide range of subjects and influential people throughout that timeframe in Tallahassee.

From the arts to media, including the first black anchor at WCTV Gail Andrews.

“There’s a whole section on law and religion and civil rights, government,” Inman-Johnson said.

Inman-Johnson said she got the idea to write the book after the widow of James Ford, the first black mayor in the city of Tallahassee after reconstruction, who came to her at an event in the civic center and told her she needed to document their cultural history.

“I think people will find it interesting because what I found when I was writing the book, there’s a lot of Tallahassee history woven in the biographies,” Inman-Johnson said.

Inman-Johnson said the book outlines historical events as well, for example, through her research she found out that when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation the news of slave freedom took a while to reach Tallahassee.

“There’s a lot of information about the Frenchtown area and the old Lincoln High School, and things these people experienced coming up,” Inman-Johnson said.

The book also mentions local politicians who made their mark in the capitol city like Dr. Henry Lewis who was the first black county commissioner to sit on the Leon County Commission.

“It’s real information and I think our children suffer from lack of not knowing their history,” Inman-Johnson said. “Especially now at a time when there is a real effort to erase black history from the history books.”

Inman-Johnson was the first black woman elected to the Tallahassee City Commission and later served as mayor of the city.

Inman-Johnson’s book ‘Tallahassee’s Black History Firsts Post Reconstruction’ is available on Amazon and can be ordered through local bookstores.