How Florida legally terrorized gay students

Watch on YouTube

Show annotations

Download is disabled.

444,102

20,319

650

Genre: News & Politics

Family friendly? Yes

Wilson score: 0.9666

Rating: 4.876 / 5

Engagement: 4.72%

Vox

Subscribe | 6.83M

Shared November 4, 2019

The hidden history of a Florida witch hunt.

Starting in the 1950s, a Florida state committee spent years stalking, intimidating, and outing hundreds of LGBTQ people. And they got away with it. Amid a national witch hunt for communists and an ascendant civil rights movement, a group of Florida politicians with a mission to preserve racial segregation in the state created a powerful group called the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee.

Commonly called the "Johns Committee" for the influential state senator Charley Johns who spearheaded it, the Committee went after civil rights activists by arguing they were backed by communists. But when those investigations failed, they turned to a new group to target: LGBTQ people. Today, over 50 years later, some Florida legislators are calling for the state to finally come to terms with this part of its history.

Note: The headline on this piece has been updated.
Previous headline: When Florida had a committee to terrorize gay people

In the Vox series Missing Chapter, Vox Senior Producer Ranjani Chakraborty revisits underreported and often overlooked moments from the past to give context to the present. Join her as she covers the histories that are often left out of our textbooks. Our first season tackles stories of racial injustice, political conflicts, even the hidden history of US medical experimentation.

Have an idea for a story that Ranjani should investigate for Missing Chapter? Send it to her via this form! http://bit.ly/2RhjxMy

Sign up for the Missing Chapter newsletter to stay up to date with the series: https://vox.com/missing-chapter

Explore the full Missing Chapter playlist, including episodes, a creator Q&A, and more! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

To learn more, check out some of our sources below:
Our DocumentCloud folder with the Florida state archives we used in the piece: https://www.documentcloud.org/search/...

Judith Poucher’s book on the history of the Johns Committee, “State of Defiance:
Challenging the Johns Committee's Assault on Civil Liberties” - http://upf.com/book.asp?id=POUCH003

Stacy Braukman’s book on the history of the Johns Committee, “Communists and Perverts under the Palms” - http://upf.com/book.asp?id=BRAUK001

Karen L. Graves’ book on the Johns Committee’s purges of K-12 teachers, “And They Were Wonderful Teachers” - https://www.press.uillinois.edu/books...
Watch the documentary, “The Committee,” on the history of the Johns Committee: https://www.pbs.org/show/committee/

Check out the documentary “Behind Closed Doors,” on the history of the committee: http://www.behindcloseddoorsfilm.com/...

Read about the push for a state apology by Florida State Rep. Evan Jenne and State Sen. Lauren Book: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/new...


Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE
Follow Vox on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o
Or Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H