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First Coast Connect

The history of Manhattan Beach

Tim Fillmon
via The Historical Marker Database

As we honor Black History Month, we cover the lesser-known history of Manhattan Beach in Jacksonville. In the past, it was a special beach for Jacksonville’s Black community, now remembered as Hanna Park. It was not only Florida’s first African American beach resort but also a haven for beachgoers during the era of segregation in the South.


  • Yvonne Hicks, great-grand-niece of Manhattan Beach’s most prominent business owner, Mack Wilson. 
  • Marsha Dean Phelts, author of a An American Beach for African Americans.
  • Chris Hoffman, mayor of Jacksonville Beach and executive director of the Beaches Museum. 
  • Brittany Cohill, executive director of the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society. 

Florida Forum Speaker Series 

Renowned international security expert and retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis recently joined us to discuss his upcoming event in Jacksonville, where he’ll analyze global and geopolitical matters during the Florida Forum Speaker Series. Stressing the significance of a global perspective, especially in the face of humanity’s challenges, Stavridis highlighted the need for a broader understanding to effectively address these issues.

Kendra McCray, president of The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, also gave insights of what to expect at next week’s event. You can find more information here.

PBS Writers Contest

Calling all young writers! The Jax PBS Kids Writers Contest is happening now, and the contest invites students in grades K through 3 to submit their creative work. The deadline for submissions is March 15.

If you are looking for more information, you can find it here.


  • Circe LeNoble, WJCT’s grants and education outreach manager. 
  • Taylor, writer and first grader at Mandarin Oaks Elementary.
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Kathy Waterman joined WJCT News 89.9 as associate producer after graduating from the University of North Florida with a degree in multimedia journalism. She was previously a production intern on the station's talk shows.