Presented By Betty Jean Steinshouer

Experience Florida through the milieu of three women authors, in character and costume: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Each wrote a book that put Florida on the map – in 1873, 1938, and 1947, respectively.

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe in Florida: 1866-1884 Little-known facts about Mrs. Stowe’s work for the Freedmans Bureau and her family’s activities during the Civil War, including the Battle of Olustee. Illuminates discussion of the Reconstruction Era and its aftermath in Florida and the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Reclaiming Florid From her first glimpse of Florida light in 1891, when she was a toddler, to her death in 1998 at age 108, the woman known as the “matriarch of the Everglades” wrote volumes in addition to the River of Grass book. She wrote about hurricanes, trees, flowers, and “the long frontier” of Florida history.
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and 75 Years of THE YEARLING Can it really be that long since Jody Baxter came into the America imagination? The book that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939 will be the focus of a Florida history lesson – set in 1871, it tells of Cracker life immediately after the Civil War.

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 Ersula Knox-Odom

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was the founder of Bethune-Cookman University. She served as a New Deal government official — in one of the 20 highest-level offices held by women in the administration, and the highest held by an African American woman; was founder of FDR’s “black cabinet”; served as president of the National Association of Colored Women; founded and served as president of the National Council of Negro Women.

As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education decision, Dr. Bethune comes to life from May 17 1954 and shares fascinating stories of her extraordinary contribution to democracy. She will then answer questions. After Dr. Bethune “leaves”, Odom will answer questions regarding her research.

Ersula Knox-Odom is an author, legacy writer/reporter with approximately 100 articles to her credit, workshop leader, Florida Humanities Council Viva La Florida performer as Mary McLeod Bethune, motivational speaker and prize winning life lyricist. Ersula has the uncommon ability to successfully address multi-generational and multi-cultural audiences by sharing life experiences from rural life, college life, corporate management, motherhood, entrepreneurship, sales, self-publishing and genealogy. Her signature seminar being “Unlocking Your Wisdom”. She is a member of African American Historical & Genealogical Society and Zeta Phi Beta. She is a graduate of Eckerd College and lives in the Tampa Bay Area.

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Ersula Knox-Odom