Welcome to our BLOG
Please join our conversations about Florida. We’ll explore the stories, people, places, issues, and events that make up our cultural heritage. Read on, and add your thoughts!
How Florida became the state to watch
Over the past half century, Florida has changed from solidly Democratic to a two-party state that media, candidates, and analysts watch closely to see which way the nation’s political winds will blow. How did this happen? Why, going into the 2016 election year, does Florida qualify as a premier swing…
After War: Surviving at Home
Scott Owens served nearly nine years as an infantryman with the Army’s famed 101st Airborne Division, including two tours in Iraq. Injured during a fire fight, he lives with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD. The Winter Haven resident has worked as an advocate for veterans’ issues and is a…
How did Florida’s Highwaymen artists succeed despite segregation?
As Florida’s population boomed in the 1950s, 26 African Americans—all self-taught landscape painters—succeeded despite Jim Crow racial and cultural barriers. They painted and sold idyllic depictions of natural Florida door-to-door and from the trunks of their cars along the East Coast. Today, known as The Highwaymen, they are honored for…
The REAL first Thanksgiving feast? Hint: not turkey
Does history depend on who writes it? We honor the Pilgrims on Thanksgiving. But Florida historians say that America’s REAL first feast took place more than a half century before—and was a whole different story (with different food). What do you think about this little-known piece of history? Watch this…
Don’t share this with your friends up North…unless you want company
Don’t share this with your friends up North…unless you want company This 1970s commercial—named one of the top 100 TV spots of all time—tantalized people in snow country. Florida historian Gary Mormino tells us how Florida sold the sun starting in the Gilded Age. Has this marketing of paradise changed?…
America’s first cowboys did not ride the Wild West
America’s first cowboys did not ride the Wild West We love the western cowboys of Hollywood fame. But the real first cowboys were called cowmen, and they trailblazed the piney woods, swamplands, and plains of Florida. Here’s the fascinating story. How does it live on today? The legacy of America’s…