Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life as a Graduate Student, or: Road Trip!

I have three papers this term, all of which deal with events or conditions back home in north Florida, now that I'm going to graduate school in south Florida!  That just figures.

My classes are on Tuesday and Thursday, giving me a four-day weekend.  That makes going home quite doable.  I had not expected to come back much before next month, but decided to come up and do some research.  It has been rather a disappointment to the family, because my main purpose being research has meant not much family time, but my husband and I did watch "Apollo 13" last night -- even though half the time I had my nose in my computer, arranging the newspaper articles I had photographed off the microfilm at the library!  Such is the life of a graduate student. 

I did, however, see enough of the movie for the final several minutes to bring the usual tears to my eyes.  I can't see that movie without getting teary-eyed.  I remember that event, and the waiting to see if the astronauts had made it through re-entry.

I've spent the last two days, Friday and Saturday, in the main Jacksonville Public Library.  I left Pinellas Park early Friday and went directly to the library (after having lunch at a favorite restaurant in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood, that is).  I spent the afternoon going through the Florida Times-Union index and found some interesting and wonderful information for my paper in the Florida politics course.

That paper deals with Governor Leroy Collins's suspension of Duval County sheriff Al Cahill in 1958.  Lots has been written about Leroy Collins and his term as governor of Florida.  The vast majority of these writings have to do with his actions related to civil rights.  Nobody, as far as I have found out, has written anything about the suspension of Cahill. 

That event is another one I remember.  I grew up in Jacksonville.  I was eleven years old at the time, and I read the newspapers.  The story was all over the papers and the television news.  Cahill had just taken office the year before, having defeated Rex Sweat, who had been sheriff of Duval County since 1932.  His removal was the end of a string of sheriffs who attained office with no prior law enforcement experience.  A new tone was set when Governor Collins appointed Dale G. Carson, an FBI agent, as Cahill's replacement.

I have a number of questions I'll be addressing in this paper.  I'm going to enjoy this -- I do like breaking new ground.  That's what we historians are supposed to do.

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