Florida Frontiers Articles

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Florida Frontiers: The Weekly Newspaper Articles of the Florida Historical Society is a weekly newspaper article covering history-based events, exhibitions, activities, places and people in Florida. The newspaper articles premiered in January 2014. We explore the relevance of Florida history to contemporary society and promote awareness of heritage and culture tourism options in the state.

Imagine you are on a boat traveling south along Florida’s east coast. A brief but violent storm hits and your boat sinks. You manage to swim to shore. Exhausted from fighting with the sea and believing you are now safe, you fall asleep on the beach.

When you wake up, you realize your ordeal has just begun.

The hot Florida sun has already burned your skin. You are covered with bites from sand fleas and mosquitoes. You stumble inland to find undeveloped scrubland as far as the eye can see, and no source of fresh water in sight.

It’s the late 1800s, and the entire population of Florida is less than 270,000 people.

Luckily for you, one of those people is the keeper of a remote House of Refuge, and he is patrolling the shoreline nearby. He will find you soon, and... click title or here for the full article

Cultural figures from Florida history including Stetson Kennedy, Zora Neale Hurston, and Harry T. Moore will come to life in a performance by the Young Minds Building Success Readers Theater from Jacksonville.

The original production “Stetson Kennedy Legacy: Man in the Mirror” will be performed at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa, Saturday at 2:00 pm. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Young Minds Building Success Readers Theater is part of a larger effort to provide educational outreach.

“Young Minds Building Success was formed in an endeavor to encourage the individual potential for children and young adults, assist in the needs of families and communities, promote a realistic link between educational ser... click title or here for the full article

The 28th annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities was held January 21-29.

The event was presented by the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, and included a series of presentations called “Communities Conference: Civic Conversations Concerning 21st Century American Life in Communities of Color” in venues at Rollins College and Eatonville.

Elizabeth Van Dyke performed in “Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography” at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, and the ZORA! Golf Tournament was held at Metro West Golf Course. There was a tour of yards and gardens in Historic Eatonville.

The three day Outdoor Festival portion of the event featured vendors selling original arts and crafts, food vendors with fried fish a... click title or here for the full article

Since they were first published in 1591, the engravings of Theodore de Bry have been the most enduring images of Florida natives at the time of European contact.

“The de Bry engravings that were always thought to be based on Jacques le Moyne’s paintings have become the epitome of the best source for what Florida Indians looked like,” says Jerald T. Milanich, one of the most respected historical archaeologists in the state.

For more than four centuries, historians, archaeologists, artists, and the general public have relied upon de Bry’s images to provide information about the clothing, weapons, hair styles, headdresses, jewelry, tattoos, housing, baskets, canoes, cooking methods, and traditions of Florida’s Timucua Indians.

While some of what de Bry depicts in his e... click title or here for the full article

Two people with extensive careers documenting the history and culture of Florida will be in Brevard County this week discussing their new books.

On Friday, January 13, at 7:00 pm, author and archaeologist Jerald T. Milanich will discuss his new book “Handfuls of History: Stories about Florida’s Past” at the Library of Florida History, 435 Brevard Ave., Cocoa Village.

On Saturday, January 14, at 2:00 pm, author and folklorist Peggy A. Bulger will discuss her new book “Stetson Kennedy: Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy” at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Ave., Cocoa.

Dr. Jerald T. Milanich is Curator Emeritus of Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida, a... click title or here for the full article

Since 1906, people have gathered at Spring Bayou in Tarpon Springs each January 6th to watch young men compete to find a submerged wooden cross. Today, thousands attend the ceremony. The unique Epiphany celebration is one example of the Greek culture that is still prevalent in Tarpon Springs.

In the city of Tarpon Springs you can listen to Greek music played on a bouzouki, try the pastry baklava, have a meal of lamb stew or a Greek seafood dish, sip the licorice flavored alcoholic beverage ouzo, and enjoy many other aspects of traditional Greek culture.

You can see the Neo-Byzantine style architecture of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, and watch the sponge divers unload their catch on the city dock downtown.

Tarpon Springs has the largest percentage of Greek Ame... click title or here for the full article

On Christmas night 1951, a bomb exploded under the Mims home of educator and civil rights activist Harry T. Moore. The blast was so loud it could be heard several miles away in Titusville.
Moore died while being transported to Sanford, the closest place where a black man could be hospitalized. His wife Harriette died nine days later from injuries sustained in the blast.
The couple celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary on the day of the explosion, and Harriette lived just long enough to see her husband buried.
The Moore’s daughter, Juanita Evangeline Moore, was working in Washington, D.C. in 1951, and was scheduled to come home for the holidays on December 27th, aboard a train called the Silver Meteor. She did not hear the news about her family home being... click title or here for the full article

The statewide headquarters of the Florida Historical Society is in Cocoa, but the organization hosts their Annual Meeting and Symposium in a different Florida city each year. In recent years the event has been held in Orlando, St. Augustine, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Pensacola.

In 2013, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the naming of our state, the Florida Historical Society hosted their annual meeting aboard a cruise ship that sailed out of Port Canaveral. The return voyage from the Bahamas followed Ponce de León’s path of discovery, sailing up the east coast of Florida.

“That cruise was the most popular conference we’ve ever had,” says Tracy Moore, president of the Florida Historical Society. “We’ve been around since 1856, so that’s really saying so... click title or here for the full article

Florida is a popular destination for people around the world. It is also the place that brought terms such as “hanging chad,” “Stand Your Ground” and “Don’t Tase me, bro!” to our collective consciousness.

Craig Pittman is a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, and the author of three books on Florida’s natural environment. Pittman’s latest book, “Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country” is humorous, but contains a lot of good information about Florida history and culture.

“I’m a big believer in using the ‘spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down’ method of shoveling a lot of Florida history and culture down people’s throats,” says Pittman. “I tell a lot of the weird, wacky stuff that happens in Florida, but I use it as sort of a set... click title or here for the full article

The Monday, December 8, 1941, Orlando Morning Sentinel “Extra” edition had a one word headline in bright red block letters nearly four inches tall: WAR.

Front page articles detailed the attack on Pearl Harbor, described the imminent declaration of war on Japan, and outlined what retaliation for the attack might look like.

The paper’s front page editorial stated, “This may be a long war. It may last for years. It may, probably will, involve us in actual fighting with Germany and Italy.”

The editorial went on to say, “That means sacrifice. That means that every soldier, every seaman must do his duty and be ready to answer any call. That means the citizen must give up his ideas of profit and easy living. That means the man…in every walk of life must surrender his own p... click title or here for the full article