Now 86 but still active in politics, he shares highs and lows of two terms in office.
About 200 supporters packed the Old St. Andrews Church on Wednesday to hear former Mayor Jake Godbold and his former aide and strategist Mike Tolbert launch the book “Jake!”
Tolbert said he interviewed more than 50 sources involved in Godbold’s life and career and took two years to write the book that recounts the successes and challenges of the Democratic mayor who served from 1979-87.
Also at the event, Godbold and former aide Martha Barrett donated scrapbooks and artifacts from his time of service to The Jacksonville Historical Society, which operates the St. Andrews venue.
Now 86, Godbold remains a participant and commentator of Jacksonville politics and observer of national events.
“I pray every night that the energy I have left is used in a proper way,” he said.
Godbold spoke out against hate crimes and divisiveness.
“I’m tired of hatred. I’m tired of bigotry,” he said. “Damn, we need to do something about the hatred.”
He said people shouldn’t be pitted against each other.
Attendees included former mayors John Delaney and Alvin Brown; Neptune Beach Mayor Elaine Brown; developer Michael Balanky; entrepreneur and civic leader Willard Payne; philanthropist J.F. Bryan; and many former city and mayor’s office elected and appointed officials during Godbold’s tenure, as well as reporters and others who worked with him.
As mayor, Godbold initiated Downtown projects such as the Southbank Riverwalk and The Jacksonville Landing; created the Jacksonville Jazz Festival; and made strides toward attracting an NFL franchise.
After the presentation, Godbold and Tolbert signed copies of the book, whose subtitle is “The last southern populist mayor who transformed Jacksonville, Florida from a sleepy city with an inferiority complex into a dynamic metropolis with a can-do attitude.”
The 355-page book is sold at book retailers, including Jacksonville-based Chamblin’s. It also is available on Amazon.com.
Chamblin’s sold 125 paperback copies at the “Jake!” launch for $20 each. The hardcover price is $31.60.
The book was self-published with Outskirts Press Inc.