Carrying a cumbersome audio recorder that he called “the thing,” Stetson Kennedy traveled through rural backwoods, swamps, and small towns from north Florida to Key West, collecting oral histories, folktales, and work songs. He spoke with the diverse people of Florida including Cracker cowmen, Seminole Indians, Greek sponge divers, African American turpentine still workers, and Latin cigar rollers.
On July 9, 1951, writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston wrote in a letter to Florida historian Jean Parker Waterbury: “Somehow, this one spot on earth feels like home to me. I have always intended to come back here. That is why I am doing so much to make a go of it.”
There were more cases of lynching per capita in Florida, between 1900 and 1930, than in any other state.
Alabama and Mississippi had more total cases of lynching during this period, but Florida was the statistical leader based on population.
A 1993 study indicates that between 1882 and 1930, one out of every 1,250 African Americans in Florida was lynched. A black person was almost twice as likely to be lynched in Florida as Georgia, and seven times more likely in Florida than in North Carolina.
Last week, a conference called “Tracing the Caribbean Footprints of Zora Neale Hurston: A 125th Birthday Commemorative Cruise” was held aboard the cruise ship Freedom of the Seas, with private tours in Haiti and Jamaica.
The conference cruise was sponsored by the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community. That organization is dedicated to the preservation of the oldest incorporated African American municipality in the United States and the memory of its most famous resident, writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston.
Mother Laura Adorkor Kofi was assassinated on March 28, 1928, while giving a speech at Thompson’s Hall in Miami. Many in the audience believed that Kofi was a divine prophet sent by God to liberate African Americans and black people around the world.
A new exhibit at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science in Cocoa is recognizing the accomplishments of two internationally known Floridians with strong local ties.
On display are panels featuring rare photographs, letters, and information about educator, activist, and civil rights martyr Harry T. Moore; and writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. A video component produced by the Florida Historical Society includes commentary from scholars and oral history interviews with friends and relatives.
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