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The Weekly True Democrat
The Tallahassee Weekly True Democrat was established on March 3, 1905, by John G. Collins. The "True Democrat", as it briefly called itself, explained that its name showed dedication to the "true and tried doctrines of The Old Time Democracy...as distinguished from...mischievous fads and fallacies of the day."
Though not intended, never more true words have been spoken on newspaper title changes! Milton A. Smith bought the Weekly True Democrat in 1908. In February 1912, the paper started publishing as the Semi-weekly True Democrat . In 1913, it reverted to a weekly again under the title of the Weekly True Democrat . On April 6, 1915, the newspaper became the Daily Democrat . Frequency of publication dictated another change of title later that year when the Daily Democrat became the Weekly Democrat .
Sometime thereafter, exact dates are not known, the Weekly Democrat became the paper of record for the state’s capital, and the title changed to the Weekly Democrat and Florida Record to reflect this development. If ever it was a record for Florida, it would have been a digest, since both the Florida House and Senate have maintained continuous and detailed recordings of their deliberations. Today, the same newspaper is known as the Tallahassee Democrat .
Because Tallahassee is the seat of Florida’s state government, the True Democrat has been quoted copiously in journal articles and theses. Of particular note is its usefulness in tracking Jim Crow behaviors in the early 20th century. During this period, African Americans constituted about 80 percent of the population in Leon County, and white supremacists felt particularly threatened.
The True Democrat, whatever its name, would come to influence--and some might argue, make mischief with--the State of Florida’s democratic processes and the deliberations of the legislature. While it may have shown leanings toward one party or another throughout its history, the newspaper has been affiliated with neither the Democratic nor Republican party but can be said to have exerted its influence on each.
Provided by: University of Florida