In praise of newspapers and other rare gifts

One day soon, I’m going to drive over to Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Gainesville, the city where I live, and find the grave of Matthew Lewey. Somehow, if belatedly, I’d like to connect with him. Lewey was founder and editor of one of Florida’s first Black newspapers, the Gainesville Sentinel, launched in 1887 as Reconstruction ended. He renamed it the Florida Sentinel in 1894, moving the growing enterprise to Pensacola,

As Newspapers Reinvent….

Are nonprofits key to keeping Florida informed? By Ron Cunningham Two reports of Florida marine entrepreneurism, separated by a century and a half: “The wrecking vessels are usually small schooners. They anchor within sight of each other along the Reef, and readily exchange signals when a wreck is seen. So promptly do these vessels come to the rescue they are likened to the condor that swoops down upon its prey.”

Lessons of the seashells

Weaving history, science, and culture, Cynthia Barnett’s new book unlocks what we’ve missed about these ocean gems By Ron Cunningham | Photos by Betsy Hanson Featured image above: Environmental author Cynthia Barnett in the light-filled office where she wrote The Sound of the Sea, her arm resting on the four books she has authored. The first three dealt with fresh water issues; this one  “really completes the hydrologic cycle for

Florida Newspaper History Timeline 1783–2021

Our state’s evolving life has been mirrored in the pages of our newspapers, even as the landscape of Florida journalism grew, flourished, contracted, changed, and continues to transform. This excerpt is from a chronology that is part of the University of South Florida library’s digital collection. You can also download it here. By David Shedden 1783 - 19001783 The Treaty of Paris between Great Britain and the United States ends

Anything is possible

A conversation with Florida Humanities’ new Executive Director Nashid Madyun By Jacki Levine and Keith Simmons Featured image above:  “The ability to know your neighbor helps you truly know yourself and, ultimately, contribute to a fair and vibrant society,” says Nashid Madyun, photographed on the grounds of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Long before Dr. Nashid Madyun became Florida Humanities’ new executive director in May, he had witnessed

An evening with Danielle Allen

Harvard University professor. Political theorist. Classicist. Author. Director of a center for ethics. Scholar on democracy, ancient Athenian and modern. By Jacki Levine Featured image above: Photographed here for a 2016 profile for Harvard Magazine, Danielle Allen is currently on leave from Harvard as she pursues the Democratic nomination for governor of Massachusetts. Her book, Democracy in the Time of Coronavirus, is due out in December. Danielle Allen’s head-turning list

Forgotten newspaper casts light on painful stories from Miami’s past

Ten years ago, Julio Capo was researching his book on Miami’s LGBTQ history before 1940 when he discovered a long-forgotten alternative weekly newspaper, Miami Life. By Janet Scherberger Featured image above: Miami Life used attention-grabbing headlines to challenge some of the most powerful state, local and national institutions of the time. “In the state archives I kept coming across references to this newspaper,” said Capo, who formerly worked in TV

How a powerful partnership between newspapers and educators ignites learning

Since the 1930s, when New York City school teachers requested delivery of The New York Times to their classrooms, newspapers have served as a tool for instruction in everything from reading, history, and government, to math and economics. By Janet Scherberger Today, there are more than 950 Newspaper in Education programs in cities throughout the United States, serving nearly 40 percent of the nation’s public school students. The program promotes

A history museum with an intriguing past

Linda Kranert, museum coordinator for the Apalachicola Arsenal Museum, first saw the building back in 1993, when she was touring the grounds of Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee after being hired as a medical unit supervisor there. By Janet Scherberger Featured image above: The history museum includes a log from the mid 1800s when the buildings were used as a penitentiary. The hospital itself was once part of a 10-building

Under the gaze of the sun

How Florida’s newspapers grew, prospered, and struggled in a state rich in stories By Gary R. Mormino and David Shedden Featured image above: Mabel Norris Reese, owner and editor of the Mount Dora Topic newspaper, was a civil rights activist as well as a journalist. Her editorial questioning the local sheriff’s shooting of two of the “Groveland Boys,” four young Black men wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in
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