USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications

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Sunland Tribune

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Excerpted from a larger seminar paper that described legislative assaults on academic freedom in Florida during the period following World War II, this article traced the history of probes directed at the University of South Florida (USF). Chartered in 1956 and opened in 1960, USF was the first public university in an urbanized metropolitan area on the Florida peninsula, and the new university became a target for the reactionary Florida Legislative Investigation Committee (FLIC), an interim committee of the Florida legislature that operated from mid-1956 until July 1965. Commonly nicknamed the "Johns Committee" due to the longtime leadership of the committee by state Sen. Charley Johns, the FLIC targeted educators, students, public employees, and private citizens who discussed ideas or openly promoted reform measures that challenged the practice of racial segregation or other progressive causes. Although this article appeared in print before the release of the FLIC's redacted public records in July 1993, the information subsequently revealed through these records confirms the general arguments put forth here.


Tampa Historical Society

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.