Author and journalist Mike Tolbert stopped by the Free Press office to grace staff with a copy of his newly released Jake Godbold biography entitled “Jake!”
Tolbert began covering Goldbold in the late 60s for the Florida Times-Union and grew to be both a fan and friends. The book is a synopisi of the beloved political figures lifelong career in Jacksonville as city councilman and and mayor. Hundreds of Jake’s family and friends attended the book signing held at the Old St. Andrews church on the Eastside last week.
On hand were his former political colleagues Betty Holzendorf and Denise Lee who were in attendance to bestow gratitude to Jake for his cultural diversity initiatives and revitalization of the Bold City of the South. Congressman Al Lawson and former Mayor Alvin Brown were also in attendance to offer accolades to Godbold, who was known and loved throughout Duval County and the state of Florida particularly in local communities of color.
Jake Maurice Godbold was elected to the Jacksonville City Council in 1967 and served until 1979 including multiple stints as city council president during that time.
When former mayor Hans Tanzler announced he would be resigning his position to run for governor of Florida in 1978, Godbold was appointed to take his place for the last six months of the term. He was elected in 1979 and re-elected in 1983.
During his time as mayor, Godbold initiated a number of “brick and mortar” projects to revitalize the city’s failing downtown. He initiated the efforts to secure an NFL team, started the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, initiated the construction of the Jacksonville Landing and the Southbank Riverwalk and secured funds for public housing that had been taken away by the federal government. His “creative” use of bond financing meant eight years of capital construction projects by the city. He ran for mayor again in 1995 and ultimately lost to John Delaney, the city’s first Republican mayor since Reconstruction. He has since become involved with local charities, including Hubbard House.