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In Black America: Unfolding the history of the first Black sheriff of Jacksonville

A headshot of Nathaniel Glover smiling at the camera in a black suit, white undershirt, and red striped tie.
Courtesy of Nathaniel Glover
Nathaniel Glover was motivated to find a career that didn’t turn a blind eye to people in need.

On the latest edition of In Black America, producer and host John L. Hanson Jr. has a two-episode interview with Nathaniel “Nat” Glover of Jacksonville, Fla. The Duval County native is the author of the recently released autobiography Striving for Justice: A Black Sheriff in the Deep South. The book chronicles what led him to become the first elected African American sheriff in the city of Jacksonville and, eventually, the president of Edward Waters College.

Striving For Justice: A Black Sheriff in the Deep South by Nathaniel Glover
Simon & Schuster
Glover's autobiography chronicles the life events that led to him becoming the first Black sheriff of Florida in over 100 years.

Glover was born in 1943 and spent his life in Jacksonville, a city that was still segregated in his youth. At 17, Glover was leaving his shift at a local restaurant and stumbled into a group of Black people being chased out of a civil rights sit-in. They were assaulted by a group of over 200 white men, some who were members of the Ku Klux Klan, with baseball bats and axe handles in hand. Glover was one of the many victims of Ax Handle Saturday.

When Glover ran to the police for protection, he was told to leave town or risk being killed, he said in an interview with The Florida Times-Union. He calls this “one of the most traumatic events of [his] life.”

“I am convinced I could have died that day. And I survived it,” Glover said. “When I ran home, I felt embarrassed because I had ran. … But what happened with me on that day after I stopped crying, I committed to myself. I said to myself, ‘I will never run away from another fight.’”

Glover was motivated to find a career that didn’t turn a blind eye to people in need. He graduated from Edward Waters College, playing football for the historically Black institution on a scholarship. With a degree in hand, Glover was inspired to become a detective with the Jacksonville Police Department.

You can hear more about Glover’s young adulthood and what led him to become a leader in Jacksonville by tuning in to the full interview on In Black America. The program is on the airwaves on Tuesday evenings at 10, Sunday mornings at 6:30, or can be found wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

John L. Hanson is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America. It’s heard on home station KUT Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., as well as weekly on close to 20 stations across the country. The weekly podcast of IBA, the only nationally broadcast black-oriented public affairs radio program, is one of KUT’s most popular podcasts.
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