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.

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 » Women's History
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

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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 Magdalena Lamarre Magdalena Lamarre Scholar

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Contact Number:
786-223-4828

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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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 Ashley Lear Ashley Lear Scholar

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Contact Number:
404-323-6639

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Ashley Lear, Ph.D., is a Professor of Humanities at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, where she teaches classes on narrative theory and technique in a range of courses, from American Modernism to Science Fiction to Video Games. She is the author of The Remarkable Kinship of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Ellen Glasgow (2018) from UP of Florida. She is a former President and current Trustee of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society.

Programs Available

Women of To-Morrow: The Social Activism of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Ellen Glasgow

In this presentation on the literary friendship of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Ellen Glasgow, Ashley Lear draws upon research from her book on the two authors to describe the ways in which both women addressed systemic social issues through their literature and their literary reputations. The presentation examines their roles in women’s suffrage and other first wave feminist endeavors, their shifting views and activism on race relations in America, their depictions of socio-economic class issues, and their dedication to environmentalism and animal rights. While Rawlings and Glasgow were, first and foremost, esteemed novelists, they also used their platforms as successful writers to speak publicly on social issues affecting their communities.

Photo of Peggy Macdonald Peggy Macdonald Historian, Author

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Contact Number:
352-219-0872

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Dr. Peggy Macdonald is a public historian and adjunct professor at Stetson University and Indian River State College. A native Floridian, Dr. Macdonald gives presentations on a variety of topics in Florida history. She has written about local and Florida history for FORUM Magazine, Gainesville Magazine, Our Town Magazine and Senior Times. Dr. Macdonald’s first book, Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment, was published by the University Press of Florida in 2014. She is currently working on a book about Florida’s female pioneers. Dr. Macdonald is an alumna of the University of Florida, where she received a Ph.D. in American history. She served as Executive Director of the Matheson History Museum in Gainesville from 2015 – 2019.

Programs Available

Florida’s Female Pioneers

Examining some of the women who have shaped Florida, including Dr. Esther Hill Hawks, a physician who ran the first racially integrated free school in Florida; Harriet Beecher Stowe, famous for writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin who kick-started Florida’s tourism industry with her 1873 book, Palmetto Leaves; and Betty Mae Tiger Jumper, the first and only female Florida Seminole Tribal Chair and the first elected female tribal chair of any federally recognized American Indian tribe in the nation.

Florida Women’s Fight for Suffrage

Traces Florida’s suffrage movement from its origins to early successes when Fay Gibson Moulton Bridges became the first Florida woman to vote after the 19th Amendment passed. Former Florida First Lady May Mann Jennings galvanized the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs to fight for equal suffrage and cofounded the Florida chapter of the League of Women Voters. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune helped black men and women exercise their right to vote by offering classes to help students pass the literacy test and fundraising for a poll tax fund.

Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment

Raised by naturalist parents in rural Southwest Florida, Marjorie Carr used the power of the pen and grassroots activism to celebrate Old Florida and protect Florida’s wildlife and wild places, preserving many of north central Florida’s ecological treasures.

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

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Contact Number:
954-382-0793

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person

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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

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Contact Number:
919-939-1172

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • Virtual

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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.

Photo of Michael Scheibach Michael Scheibach Scholar, Author

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Contact Number:
305-450-1927

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Independent scholar Michael Scheibach, Ph.D., specializes in the history of the early Cold War (1945-1965). He is the author of three books on the impact of the atomic bomb on American society in the 1950s, including Alert America! — The Atomic Bomb and “The Show That May Save Your Life.” He received his doctorate in American studies from the University of Kansas and taught for several years as an adjunct professor. He currently teaches in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Miami.

Programs Available

Living with the Atomic Bomb: 1945-1965

The threat of an atomic bomb attack was felt throughout the nation in the 1950s and 1960s, including in the state of Florida, especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. From duck and cover drills for children and youth, to family and community fallout shelters, to city and statewide civil defense drills, Americans were constantly reminded about the potential of an attack by the Soviet Union. Yet as adults prepared for this possibility, their children played with atomic toys and read comics about “The Bomb.”

Protecting the Home Front: Women in Civil Defense in the Early Cold War

So-called traditional roles for women in the 1950s as housewives and mothers have been well documented. Yet millions of women took advantage of the opportunity to expand their roles by either being employed by or volunteering for civil defense agencies and organizations. The Federal Civil Defense Administration set its goal as having women constitute up to 70 percent of the national civil program, and women responded. Women held management and operational positions, and served as block wardens, auxiliary police officers, nurses, and many other positions. These women have been largely overlooked by historians, which makes it important to examine their essential participation in the nation’s defense during this critical time in our history.

Presidents in Crisis: Their Response, Their Resolve, Their Leadership

America has faced many crises, from its very beginning as a new nation, to the Civil War and Great Depression, to World War II and the Cold War. The presidents during these crisis events met the challenge in different ways, but each one exhibited the qualities, the vision, and the leadership needed to persevere. This presentation examines the most notable presidents, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and more.

Photo of Betty Jean Steinshouer Betty Jean Steinshouer Author, Historian, Actress

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Contact Number:
727-735-4608

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Betty Jean Steinshouer first came to Florida with “Willa Cather Speaks” in 1989. Floridians convinced her to add Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings to her repertoire, and she moved to the state in order to do her research. She has since toured 43 states presenting Humanities programs on women authors (including five with Florida connections), homelessness in literature, Ernest Hemingway, America at War, Jim Crow Florida, and marriage equality.

In 2004, she was named a Fellow in Florida Studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Her book about Willa Cather, Long Road from Red Cloud, was awarded the 2020 International Book Award for biography.

Programs Available

Scribbling Women in Florida

A dozen women authors have put Florida on the map, between Reconstruction-era Harriet Beecher Stowe and Constance Fenimore Woolson, the Gilded Age’s Sarah Orne Jewett, the homesteading Laura Ingalls Wilder and her libertarian daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, environmentalists Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Rachel Carson, friends Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and poets Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elizabeth Bishop, and Anne Morrrow Lindbergh.

They all gravitated to the Land of Flowers, and here are the lessons they learned.

Boston Marriages gone South

Here are the lives of four lesbian couples who traveled to Florida together in the 19th and 20th centuries, long before marriage equality: Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields; Katharine Loring and Alice James; Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Carolyn Percy Cole; Elizabeth Bishop and Louise Crane.

Photo of Kimberly Voss Kimberly Voss Scholar

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Contact Number:
618-541-4746

Notes

Program format(s) available:

  • In-person
  • Virtual

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About the speaker

Kimberly Voss, PhD-Maryland, is a full professor of journalism at the University of Central Florida. She has published four books about women and mass media – many of the journalists from Florida. She researches journalism in the 1950s and 1960s, newspaper food history and fashion journalism, as well as political clubwomen and the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida.

Programs Available

Florida Women Journalists & Politics

The stories of significant women’s page journalists who contributed to their Florida communities, from promoting women’s clubs to helping communities grow to sharing recipes. These women were smart, feisty and ahead of their time, integrating their sections and encouraging social change through so-called soft news. Featured journalists: Marie Anderson, Dorothy Jurney and Marjorie Paxson – three of only four women’s page editors to be featured in the Washington Press Club Foundation’s oral history project.

Florida Food in the Golden Era of Women’s Page Journalism

“Florida Food, Drink & Women’s Journalism,” Florida’s women’s pages – the only place for women in journalism in the 1950s and 1960s – were considered the best in the country. The women in these sections explained Florida food and drink as the state grew. Using backgrounds in home economics, they explained changing tastes in local and national dishes, dessert trends and restaurant reviews. Featured journalists: Jeanne Voltz, Jane Nickerson and Ruth Gray – pioneering food journalists.

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