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:
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
Lu VickersAuthor, Historian
About the speaker
Lu Vickers has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for fiction for excerpts for a novel in progress. She has also been the recipient of two Florida Book awards and three Florida Individual Artist Fellowships for fiction. In addition to writing Remembering Paradise Park (with C. Graham), she has written the novel Breathing Underwater and three other Florida history books: Weeki Wachee, City of Mermaids, Cypress Gardens, America’s Tropical Wonderland, and Weeki Wachee, Thirty Years of Underwater Photography, with Bonnie Georgiadis.
Cypress Gardens: America’s Tropical Wonderland
Vintage photographs illustrate the story of Cypress Gardens, the world-famous tourist attraction that Dick Pope created out of swampland in Winter Haven that cemented Florida’s reputation as the land of sun and fun from the 1930s to 2009 when it was sold to Legoland. The flamboyant Pope, known as the “man who invented Florida,” combined a water ski show, tropical Gardens, and iconic Southern Belles to create an enduring symbol of Florida.
Remembering Paradise Park
In 1949, during the Jim Crow era, Silver Springs’ owners Carl Ray and Shorty Davidson did something unique: they created a place for African-Americans tourists. Located downriver, they dubbed their creation “Paradise Park for Colored People” and put Eddie Vereen in charge. From 1949 to 1969, the former Silver Springs boat captain ran one of the most popular places for African Americans to visit.
Weeki Wachee: City of Mermaids
The fascinating history of Weeki Wachee Springs told through vintage photographs of the mermaids from their earliest days performing silent ballets to the heyday when ABC built them a million-dollar theater. When Newt Perry sank a theater into the edge of the spring in 1947, he had no idea his mermaids would become world-famous Florida icons.
Program format(s) available: