Presented By David Schmidt

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was on one of FDR’s most wide-ranging, yet controversial programs.  Many saw it as a “make work’ program which did not accomplish its goals – the acronym was derided as “We Piddle Around.”  The evidence indicates that the program was far more successful and, even today, Floridians enjoy the buildings and constructions created by the WPA.  This program views the WPA and focuses on the still existing projects.

David Schmidt is currently the curator of the Florida Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Highland Hammock State Park in Sebring. Before that, he taught for 37 years focusing on United States history, Geography, and special education. He holds two masters degrees from Ball State University in Special Education and United States History and did additional study at Michigan State University, Indiana University, Bowling Green State University, and two summers of research at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, NY.

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David Schmidt


Presented By David Schmidt

In his book, Rightful Heritage, Douglas Brinkley concludes that ”few [New Deal] programs would shine brighter” than the Civilian Conservation Corps. During the presence of the CCC in Florida, from 1933 until 1942, there were over 70 camps around the state with a total of just under 50,000 young men working on projects as diverse and wide ranging as building camp stoves and fireplaces, to constructing the infrastructure of the first parks that would become the basis for the Florida State Park System. This informative program presents an overview of the CCC and the projects, from the Keys to Panhandle, that were accomplished during this historic period.

David Schmidt is currently the curator of the Florida Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at Highland Hammock State Park in Sebring.  Before that, he taught for 37 years focusing on United States history, Geography, and special education. He holds two masters degrees from Ball State University in Special Education and United States History and did additional study at Michigan State University, Indiana University, Bowling Green State University, and two summers of research at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, NY.

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David Schmidt


Presented By Gary Mormino

On the eve of Pearl Harbor, Florida was the smallest state in the South. Today, Florida is a Sunbelt megastate. World War II is the lynchpin. The war galvanized Floridians, resulting in the inux of two million servicemen. WWII also ignited a modern civil rights movement, new roles for women, and the dawn of the Florida Dream. Explore Florida’s role in the war with Dr. Gary Mormino.

Gary Mormino is the Frank E. Duckwall Florida Professor of History Emeritus at USF St. Petersburg. He is a frequent contributor to the Tampa Bay Times and has written several books, including “Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida” and was awarded the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing by the Florida Humanities Council. If you aren’t a historian but need someone to put an event into an interesting Florida perspective, ask Gary. Everyone does, including reporters from the New York Times, the New Yorker and National Public Radio.

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Dr. Gary Mormino


Presented By Dr. Kitty Oliver

A professionally-performed cabaret performance of inspirational jazz vocals* and literary stories tracing the common journey of native-born Americans and immigrants as we adapt to life in a diverse society and social change on a global scale. Dr. Oliver shares personal experiences moving from segregation to integration to multicultural diversity in the international arena drawing on poignant, humorous, revealing reflections as an author, race relations oral historian, national media personality and recording artist who talks about race in a hopeful, healing way. This innovative “Race and Change” program has family-friendly appeal to audiences across races, ethnicities, cultures and generations using music and storytelling to relate history to the present and bringing together people across cultures for an inspirational, entertaining event.

*Note: Additional charge for musical accompanist to be coordinated with speaker.

Dr. Kitty Oliver is an author, oral historian, media producer and professional singer with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing and a Ph.D. focusing on race and ethnic communication. The native Floridian and former university professor is founder of the “Race and Change” historical archive of cross-cultural race and ethnic relations oral histories, the only one of its size and scope in the country, Her sought-after insights and research have been featured in books, public television and webcast radio productions, on CNN, and, most recently, in a standout interview in the Ron Howard Beatles documentary Eight Days a Night-The Touring Years now playing in theaters internationally to rave reviews. This in-demand artist also has a CD of original inspirational jazz music and weaves music, media and storytelling into her innovative, creative, uplifting programs on race and ethnic relations designed to bridge audiences across cultures and generations.

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Dr. Kitty Oliver


Presented By Dr. Kitty Oliver

This is a how-to workshop on the oral history process and the use of oral history to foster community engagement and team-building among diverse groups in periods of transition and growth. Participants explore techniques for telling personal stories and sharing them in group settings and public projects to bridge racial and ethnic differences between groups – including native-born and immigrant cultures, longtime residents and new arrivals, and elders and youth – as well as tensions within specific racial and ethnic communities. This program can also bring together diverse entities within the business, community, governmental and/or educational arenas that are looking for a different approach to addressing race and ethnic relations in an inclusive way.

Dr. Kitty Oliver is an author, oral historian, media producer and professional singer with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing and a Ph.D. focusing on race and ethnic communication. The native Floridian and former university professor is founder of the “Race and Change” historical archive of cross-cultural race and ethnic relations oral histories, the only one of its size and scope in the country, Her sought-after insights and research have been featured in books, public television and webcast radio productions, on CNN, and, most recently, in a standout interview in the Ron Howard Beatles documentary Eight Days a Night-The Touring Years now playing in theaters internationally to rave reviews. This in-demand artist also has a CD of original inspirational jazz music and weaves music, media and storytelling into her innovative, creative, uplifting programs on race and ethnic relations designed to bridge audiences across cultures and generations.

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Dr. Kitty Oliver


Presented By Dr. Kitty Oliver

This multimedia program blends lively cross-cultural stories, research and discussion on coming of age with integration in ethnically diverse Florida in a 21st Century dialogue on race in a non-confrontational way. Drawing on an archive of over 125 oral histories of Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians and Caribbeans from a variety of heritages as well as candid intergenerational video and audio interviews on race relations experiences, Dr. Oliver explores how far we’ve come and how progress can be made in a hopeful way that inspires our youth. As a creative kick-off for or wrap-up to a community event or series, this program is informative, entertaining and thought-provoking.

Dr. Kitty Oliver is an author, oral historian, media producer and professional singer with a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing and a Ph.D. focusing on race and ethnic communication. The native Floridian and former university professor is founder of the “Race and Change” historical archive of cross-cultural race and ethnic relations oral histories, the only one of its size and scope in the country, Her sought-after insights and research have been featured in books, public television and webcast radio productions, on CNN, and, most recently, in a standout interview in the Ron Howard Beatles documentary Eight Days a Night-The Touring Years now playing in theaters internationally to rave reviews. This in-demand artist also has a CD of original inspirational jazz music and weaves music, media and storytelling into her innovative, creative, uplifting programs on race and ethnic relations designed to bridge audiences across cultures and generations.

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Dr. Kitty Oliver


Presented By Peggy MacDonald

Florida’s “Three Marjorie(y)s” used the power of the pen and grassroots activism to celebrate Old Florida and protect Florida’s wildlife and wild places. Through engaging historic postcards and photos and a lively presentation and discussion, author Peggy Macdonald blends Florida, women’s and environmental history to provide audiences with an inspirational message about the power a small group of committed citizens can have to defend Florida’s environment. Carr was raised by naturalist parents in rural southwest Florida when the state had fewer than a million residents. In the 1960s, when I-75 was constructed through her backyard, Carr launched a conservation career that preserved many of north central Florida’s ecological treasures.

Peggy Macdonald is a native Floridian and the executive director of the Matheson History Museum in Gainesville. Dr. Macdonald has taught history at Stetson University, Florida Polytechnic University, Indian River State College and the University of Florida. Her recent book, Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment, won Honorable Mention in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award contest in Women’s Studies. She writes articles on local history for Gainesville Magazine, Our Town Magazine, Senior Times Magazine and Examiner.com. Macdonald is an alumna of the University of Florida (PhD in history, 2010) and Hollins University, a women’s college in Roanoke, Virginia.

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Peggy MacDonald


Presented By Tom Berson

Florida v. Georgia isn’t just a football rivalry, it’s also the title of a Supreme Court case that could affect the health of the Apalachicola River and Bay and the fate of the Florida oyster industry that depends on them. For more than two decades, increasing demands on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint water basin by Georgia residents, farmers, and other stakeholders have had substantial impacts on the river system in Florida, most dramatically in 2012 when the Bay was declared a fishery disaster by federal officials. In this presentation, Tom Berson examines the history and future of this critical battle and its role in determining the future of our water.

Tom Berson received his doctorate from the University of Florida, where he wrote his dissertation on the history of Silver Springs and the north Florida interior. A former health and science journalist, he also has an M.A. from Florida State University in American and Florida Studies. He has taught Florida and Environmental history classes at Stetson University and currently teaches American History at Santa Fe College.

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Tom Berson


Presented By Betty Jean Steinshouer

Much has been written about what went on at Cross Creek between the author of The Yearling and her relationships with people of color, including her employees such as Martha Mickens and Idella Parker, and her friends Zora Neale Hurston and Pearl Primus. In this PowerPoint presentation, Betty Jean Steinshouer will draw on fifteen years of primary research to set the record straight on Marjorie and Race.

Betty Jean Steinshouer has been doing public programs and teacher seminars for the Florida Humanities Council since 1989 and has toured 43 other states for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Big Read program of the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a Fellow in the Florida Studies program at the University of South Florida.

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Betty Jean Steinshouer


Presented By Betty Jean Steinshouer

Part One is Harriet Beecher Stowe, sharing a wealth of information about the Civil War and its impact on her adopted home in North Florida. Part Two is Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her experiences in World War II, as an enemy plane spotter and a wife waiting for her husband to return from the battlefield.

Betty Jean Steinshouer has been doing public programs and teacher seminars for the Florida Humanities Council since 1989 and has toured 43 other states for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Big Read program of the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a Fellow in the Florida Studies program at the University of South Florida.

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Betty Jean Steinshouer