Florida Humanities Speakers Directory

2021 Florida Humanities Speakers Directory

Engaging Speakers, Compelling Topics, and Thought-provoking Discussions

Welcome to the Florida Humanities’ Speakers Directory, a curated collection of the Sunshine State’s best and brightest experts, scholars, journalists, folklorists and more, poised to bring engaging presentations and conversations right to your local community.

Florida Humanities is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Partnering with nonprofit organizations across the state, Florida Humanities funds a wide variety of grants and public programming that explores Florida’s rich history and culture.

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We are always looking for talented presenters to showcase our state’s unique culture and heritage. View our Join the Directory page for more information and to access the application.

How to use this directory:

Using this directory, organizations can connect with these experts to bring a wide variety of compelling humanities programming to their community.  Speakers can engage the public is several ways:

Florida Talks

Speakers may be asked to give a program for one of our Florida Talks partners. Florida Talks offers nonprofit organizations an easy, inexpensive way to host informative and thought-provoking presentations across the state.

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Community Project Grants

Speakers may be contacted to participate as a scholar, presenter, or panelist for a Florida Humanities-funded Community Project Grant. These grants support a variety of humanities programming based on the specific needs of a community.

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Museum on Main Street

Speakers may be asked to give a program that complements the theme of one of our Museum on Main Street exhibits. These exhibits travel to small and underserved communities and explore a variety of humanities topics.

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Please Note: Speakers on this directory have agreed to a capped speaking fee of no more than $300 for a Florida Humanities-funded event. This fee does not include travel, so be sure to discuss those details as you plan your event.

2021 Speakers Directory

Back to all programs » African American History
Photo of Dr. Vincent Adejumo Vincent Adejumo Scholar

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
813-787-2530

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Dr. Vincent Adejumo is currently a Senior Lecturer in the African American Studies program at UF teaching Intro to African American Studies, The Wire, Mentoring At-Risk Youth, Black Wall Street, and Black Masculinity.

Programs Available

Black Masculinity in Florida

An exploration of the history of race in the United States, how race impacts specific events such as the infamous Trayvon Martin shooting and its implications on other issues, including standardized testing, school suspension, and the criminal justice system.

The Destruction of Rosewood

A critical analysis of Rosewood, a predominantly black community destroyed in 1923 during a racially motivated attack, and other majority-black cities in Florida within the context of group economics and how that tradition among African Americans was destroyed.

Photo of Dr. Sharon Austin Sharon Austin Scholar

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Contact Number:
352-273-3060

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Sharon Austin is an American political scientist, currently a professor of political science at the University of Florida, where she was also a longtime Director of the African-American Studies Program. Austin is a prominent scholar of American politics with specialties in African-American studies, political participation, and both urban and rural local politics.

Programs Available

African American Politics

An examination of the social and political relationships among African Americans and people of black Caribbean descent. Other topics include Haitian political behavior, general African American political behavior, and the history and politics of black women. Presentation tailored to audience interest.

Photo of Dr. Uzi Baram Uzi Baram Scholar

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Contact Number:
941-342-4342

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Uzi Baram is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the New College Public Archaeology Lab at New College of Florida. Professor Baram’s academic efforts focus on the politics of the past in the Eastern Mediterranean and public archaeology in Sarasota/Manatee. He has published and contributed to four edited volumes, dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters and delivered many conference papers and on topics ranging from the archaeology of the Ottoman Empire to marketing heritage and given public lectures based on archaeological insights into heritage. Since 2004, he has been involved with recovering and disseminating the history and heritage of Angola on the Manatee River, an early 19th-century maroon community; the focus on the courage of the freedom-seeking people who found refuge on Gulf Coast Florida and liberty in the Bahamas animate his presentations.

Programs Available

Archaeology of Freedom: The Heritage Found at Angola on the Manatee River

What is the meaning of freedom? The Underground Railroad is famous for the routes facilitating freedom from enslavement in the United States to freedom in Canada. But the quest for freedom did not only go north; many self-emancipated and headed south, to Spanish La Florida. Previously known havens of freedom in Florida include Fort Mose by St. Augustine and Prospect Bluff on the Apalachicola River; another haven is found under today’s Bradenton. Excavations are revealing everyday life for the freedom-seeking people at Angola on the Manatee River. The slide-illustrated presentation lays out the history and heritage for Angola and its implications for our understanding of what it means to be free.

Photo of Dr. Martha Bireda Martha Bireda Scholar, Reenactor

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Contact Number:
941-639-2914

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Martha R. Bireda, Ph.D., is Director of the Blanchard House Museum of African History and Culture, located in Punta Gorda, Florida. For over 30 years, Dr. Bireda has consulted, lectured, and written about social issues related to race, gender, class, power, and culture. Dr. Bireda’s articles will explore and examine critical issues past and present that impact our global society. She believes that awareness and recognition of the universality of social issues can contribute to the resolution of problems that affect all societies, and confirm our human connectivity. Dr. Bireda is the author of the forthcoming book, A Time For Change: How White Supremacy Culture Hurts All Americans.

Programs Available

The Jim Crow Era

This program provides an overview of the Jim Crow era and its continued influence in the collective American mind. Jim Crow laws and customs will be examined; stereotypical images of blacks presented. The Jim Crow laws that existed in Florida will be discussed.

Pandemics and Protests: America in 1919 and 2020

In this program, the ways in which the social climate of America in 2020 mirrors that of 1919 will be explored. The similarities and differences, as well as the factors influencing the social conflicts in each year, will be examined.

Powerful Doctoring Women

Grannies and midwives were powerful “doctoring women” who provided the foundation of healthcare for enslaved African Americans in Florida. Listen, learn, taste, smell, and touch as one such woman named Pearl shares the plants and herbs that kept enslaved Africans healthy on the Bellamy plantation.

The Little Town That Unity Built

Punta Gorda, a small town on Florida’s Southwest coast, has the distinction of having the state’s second oldest population. The town has another lesser known but significant distinction as well. Punta Gorda has been characterized as having a “unique sociology” due to its early biracial settlement and development. In this lecture, we will examine the five factors which contributed to this biracial unity and to a “shared prosperity” experienced by all residents despite the presence of Jim Crow. As a result, the beginning of Punta Gorda serves as a model for demonstrating the power of biracial unity.

Photo of J. Michael Butler J. Michael Butler Historian, Author

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Contact Number:
904-819-6275

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Dr. J. Michael Butler is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of History at Flagler College, where he has taught since August 2008. He received both his Masters and Doctorate in History from the University of Mississippi, where he specialized in 20th century Southern history with an emphasis on the civil rights movement. Dr. Butler co-authored Victory After the Fall: The Memories of Civil Rights Activist H. K. Matthews, and has published numerous essays in various academic journals. His latest manuscript is titled Beyond Integration: The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-2000.

Programs Available

Police Brutality and Confederate Imagery: The Black Freedom Struggle in One Florida County

A close examination of events in Escambia County in the 1970s demonstrates how—and why—the struggle against segregation in Florida continued well after the Civil Rights movement ended in the 1960s.

State, Local, and National Campaigns: The Civil Rights Movement in Florida

The idea that Florida did not experience the tumult of other Deep South states during the Civil Rights Movement is a popular misconception. Florida exceptionalism in relationship to the black freedom struggle is placed in its proper
regional and national perspective.

The Magnificent Drama: Martin Luther King in St. Augustine

The civil rights movement in St. Augustine drew national attention when Martin Luther King, Jr. visited twice in 1964, sparking marches, arrests, and clashes between protesters and police on the tourist-lined beaches of St. Augustine. Local and national objectives complemented and contradicted each other in ways that affect race relations today.

Photo of John Capouya John Capouya Author, Pop-culture Scholar

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Contact Number:
917-734-1883

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • Virtual

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About the speaker

John Capouya is an author and professor of journalism and non-fiction writing at the University of Tampa. During his career in journalism he worked at Newsweek, The New York Times, SmartMoney, and New York Newsday. His nonfiction books include the biography Gorgeous George and, most recently, Florida Soul.

Programs Available

Florida Soul

The people and the music that define Florida Soul, from Ray Charles, to Sam and Dave, James Brown to Bobby Purify and many more. This rich but under-appreciated musical heritage comes to life in music, words, and vintage photos.

Respect: Soul Music and the Civil Rights Movement

Words, images and stirring music tell the story of the soul music that became the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement: Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Sam and Dave, James Brown, and Florida‘s own Timmy Thomas (“Why Can’t We Live Together’’).

Photo of Dr. Anthony Dixon Anthony Dixon Historian, Archivist

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
850-443-9151

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Dr. Anthony Dixon is the Founder and President of Archival and Historical Research associates, LLC., Field Director for the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, and Adjunct Professor of History at Florida A&M University.

Programs Available

The African Diaspora Experience in Florida

An examination of Florida’s relationship with African descendants, from 1513 to the present, which has had a direct impact on the state’s growth. Topics include Florida maroons/black Seminoles, slavery, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement.

Photo of Edward Gonzalez-Tennant Edward Gonzalez-Tennant Scholar

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Contact Number:
407-823-6503

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Edward Gonzalez-Tennant earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2011. Currently an anthropological archaeologist researching a range of topics in the historical and prehistoric periods of Florida and elsewhere. His research is transdisciplinary and draws on archaeology, ethnography, and history. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida.

Programs Available

Unearthing Rosewood: An Archaeology of Violence and Hope

Rosewood was a prosperous African American community hard-won from the swampy hammocks of north Florida. Although the town was destroyed in 1923, the community continued, scattered across the state of Florida and beyond. Now, nearly 100 years after this tragic event the story of Rosewood remains shrouded from public view. Those who have heard of Rosewood are rarely aware of the community’s deeper history, or its relation to other places across the state. Dr. González-Tennant will discuss the role of archaeology and geospatial sciences in unearthing Rosewood’s complex history. In addition to describing how digital technologies aid traditional archaeological methods, he’ll discuss the importance of outreach and its ability to support a public conversation on racial reconciliation.

Photo of Tameka Hobbs Tameka Hobbs Historian, Author

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
305-912-5332

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Tameka Bradley Hobbs is an Associate Provost and Associate Professor of History for Florida Memorial University, the only Historically Black University in South Florida. She is the author of _Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida_ (2015; University Press of Florida). Dr. Hobbs was the founding president of the South Florida Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. (ASALH). She also serves as facilitator and curriculum designer for the South Florida People of Color, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating racism through education and advocacy.

Programs Available

Strange Fruit in Florida

Florida’s painful history of racial violence, highlighted by civil rights activist Harry T. Moore’s fight against lynching and the Ku Klux Klan that led to his death in a bombing of his home. “Strange Fruit” refers to a song made famous by Billie Holiday about the lynching of African Americans in the South.

Photo of Authur (aka Pede) Hollist Authur (aka Pede) Hollist Fullbright Scholar

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Contact Number:
727-597-7026

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Pede Hollist (Arthur Onipede Hollist), a native of Sierra Leone, is an associate professor of English at The University of Tampa, Florida. His interests cover the literature of the African imagination—literary expressions in the African continent as well as in the African diaspora. So the Path Does not Die (Langaa Press, 2012, Cameroon) is his first novel. His short stories, “Going to America,” “BackHomeAbroad,” and “Resettlement” have appeared in Ìrìnkèrindò: A Journal of African Migration, on the Sierra Leone Writers Series Web site, and in Matatu 41-12 respectively.

Programs Available

Chimamanda Adichie: Feminist, Activist, and Storyteller Changing Minds One Tale at a Time

American schools teach her novels. Sixteen-year-old students in Sweden received copies of her nonfiction “We Should All Be Feminists,” part of which Beyoncé used in her 2013 song “Flawless.” Like the singer-dancer, Adichie’s feminism also multitasks, appealing to many across race, gender, nationality, and generation. Using video and novel excerpts, this talk illustrates that through storytelling techniques, Adichie’s feminism has reached a broader audience than other narratives about women.

Photo of Cheryl Howard Cheryl Howard Scholar

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Contact Number:
301-514-8861

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Dr. Cheryl Howard is the Chief Operating Officer at the African American Heritage Society, Inc. (“AAHS” and/or “the Society”), which is an Arts and Cultural, Diversity Consulting and Cultural Tourism organization in Pensacola, Florida. Cheryl is also a co-founder of the Society which was organized and incorporated September 12, 1990, twenty-nine years ago.

Programs Available

The Green Book

Discover what “The Green Book” is and was for African American’s all over the US during the period spanning 1930-60’s, and the laws that existed which made owning “the book” potentially life-saving.

The Great Migration

From 1915-70 approximately six million Black Southerners left the South and moved to cities in the North and West. Did you know that a disproportionate percentage of African Americans in New York are originally from Florida? There are specific reasons for why those travelers settled in many of the same cities. Discover why.

Pensacola Panhandle Greats

Learn about the various African Americans from the Panhandle who changed the trajectory of US History. Discover Ella Jordan, the first president of Pensacola’s Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, and close personal confidant to First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Or learn about Chappie James, America’s first African American Four-Star General. Learn about some of the Panhandle’s unsung heroes.

Photo of Ersula Knox-Odom Ersula Knox-Odom Actress, Storyteller, Motivational Speaker

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Contact Number:
813-368-1628

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Ersula K. Odom is CEO of Sula Too LLC, a legacy writer, the author and co-author of several books including African Americans of Tampa and her poetic memoir – At Sula’s Feet. She is a motivational speaker, creates legacy walls, and portrays Mary McLeod Bethune as a one-person show. As founder of Sula Too, LLC she has published books for clients from Georgia to California. She was raised in Georgia, graduated from Eckerd College and is deeply rooted in Tampa with business, family, and friends.

Recent commendations: Signed copy of Congressional Record of Dr. Bethune’s decision to place her statue in Statuary Hall in DC presented to her by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. Performance written about in the Wall Street Journal. She received separate commendations from Tampa City Council Commendation for her roles as co-founder of Fortune Friends and as member of the Citizens Advisory Committee on the Economic Impact of Cultural Arts.

As a motivational speaker, Ms. Odom has the uncommon ability to relate to multi-generational and multi-cultural audiences by sharing experiences from such areas as rural living, college life, Fortune 500 corporate management, spirituality, being a mother, entrepreneurship, sales, and genealogy to publishing books.

Programs Available

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Comes to Life

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; and founded and served as president of the National Council of Negro Women. After telling the story of Dr. Bethune, Ersula will come out of character and answer questions regarding her research and personal journey.

Photo of Magdalena Lamarre Magdalena Lamarre Scholar

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Contact Number:
786-223-4828

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Magdalena Lamarre was a Full Professor of History and Sociology at Miami Dade College until her retirement in 2016.

She earned a BA in History and Secondary Education from Hunter College, MA in History from Stony Brook University, and did post-graduate work in Sociology and Education at Florida International University.

During her tenure at MDC, she co-produced three Oral History documentaries: Surviving and Thriving (2012) Holocaust Survivors experiences during and after the Holocaust; Crossing Bridges Towards Equality (2015) Civil Rights era integration of a high school in Alabama; Forging New Lives After Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rican Student Voices (2019) Experiences of Puerto Rican students who attended Miami Dade College after the hurricane; a project supported by a Florid Humanities Council Community Project grant.

She was awarded the prestigious Miami Dade College Alumni Association Endowed Teaching Chair in 2011, and the NISOD Excellence Award in 1994 and 2012.

Programs Available

Female Superheroes: What are Their Real Powers?

An examination of the perceptions of women in popular culture through the lens of comic books.

Afro-Caribbean Migration to Florida

This program will examine the migration and settlement patterns of the various Afro-Caribbean peoples who made Florida their home and their contributions to its history and culture.

Black Superheroes: Evolution of Black Panther

This program addresses how Black characters have been portrayed in comic books and how that depiction has evolved. It examines past and present comic book characters and the changing image of Black people in American society through this medium.

Photo of Kitty Oliver Kitty Oliver Author, Oral Historian, Singer

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
954-382-0793

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person

Download Speaker Listing

About the 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. 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.

Programs Available

Race and Change: Women’s Stories

How women deal with race, ethnicity, and gender in their everyday lives, told through video, radio programs, literary readings, and oral histories.

Race and Change Across Cultures and Generations: Florida Stories

How far we’ve come and how progress can be made that inspires our youth, drawing on an archive of over 125 oral histories of blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians and Caribbeans from a variety of heritages.

An Evening of Jazz and Multi-colored Memories

A cabaret performance of inspirational jazz vocals and stories tracing the common journey of nativeborn Americans and immigrants adapting to life in a diverse society and social change. Note: Additional charge for musical accompanist.

Photo of Ashley Preston Ashley Preston Scholar

Contact the Speaker

Contact Number:
919-939-1172

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • Virtual

Download Speaker Listing

About the speaker

Dr. Ashley Preston teaches in the African American Studies Program at the University of Florida. She is also the author of three books and her research interests include: African American women’s involvement during World War II, the activism of Mary McLeod Bethune and the Black club women’s movement.

Programs Available

Mary McLeod Bethune in the Sunshine State

At the turn of the 20th century, Mary McLeod Bethune arrived in Daytona Beach with $1.50, looking to start a school. She overcame institutionalized racism, Ku Klux Klan threats and the ills of segregation to establish what is now Bethune-Cookman University, changing the course of Florida history with relentless faith and dedication to equality.

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