James G. Cusick is curator of the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida Library and author of The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American Invasion of Spanish East Florida. His interests in Florida history focus primarily on its colonial and 19th century past. Since 2004 he has also worked closely with the Florida Humanities Council to bring knowledge of Florida’s colonial history to primary, middle school, and high school teachers around the state.
Sherry Johnson is assistant professor of history and Cuban studies at Florida International University. She is the author of articles on Cuban and Florida history in such journals as Florida Historical Quarterly, Hispanic American Historical Review, Cuban Studies, and Colonial Latin American Historical Review.
Stetson Kennedy was born in Jacksonville on October 5, 1916. From 1937 to 1942, Kennedy traveled the cities, towns, and rural backwoods of Florida documenting the cultural heritage of the state’s diverse populations for the WPA’s Florida Writers’ Project. Kennedy later infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, exposing their secrets. He was an activist for positive social change, working to make life better for all Floridians until his death on August 27, 2011. This book is the first comprehensive look at the life and work of author, activist, folklorist, investigative journalis
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.
A visit to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in the rural community of Cross Creek is like a trip back in time to the 1930s. The home there is furnished just as Rawlings had it when she was writing her Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Yearling,” her autobiography “Cross Creek,” and other works depicting the lives of Florida Crackers.
Rawlings’s typewriter and notes sit on a table on the front porch, along with her ashtray and a pack of Lucky Strikes cigarettes, as if the writer has just gotten up to get a glass of iced tea from the kitchen.
Patrick D. Smith’s 1984 novel “A Land Remembered” is one of the most popular books about Florida ever written.
The beloved Merritt Island author was born October 8, 1927, and died January 26, 2014. He would have been 88 this week.
Most popular novels have a year or so of commercial success, perhaps getting another boost when a paperback version comes out. Smith’s “A Land Remembered” has been a bestseller in Florida since it was first published.
With the publication of her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe became the most famous writer in America. That book helped to fuel the raging debate over slavery in the United States.
When Stowe met President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, he reportedly said, “So you are the little lady who started this Great War.”
Often overlooked is the fact that Harriet Beecher Stowe is also one of the first and greatest proponents of Florida as a popular tourist destination.
Ernest Hemingway, born in 1899, published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, in 1926. He was living in Paris with the first of his four wives, Hadley Richardson. Hemingway divorced Richardson the following year.
Writer John Dos Passos suggested to Hemingway that he might enjoy Key West, Florida, and in March 1928, Hemingway visited the island for the first time.
Before the Hippie Movement of the 1960s promoted expanded consciousness, sexual freedom, and a widespread questioning of authority in American popular culture, the Beat Generation of the 1950s led a counterculture movement of their own.
The term “Beat Generation” brings to mind the City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Café in San Francisco, or poetry readings at smoky jazz clubs in New York, but it was in Florida that the leading writer of the movement, the man who coined that phrase, did some of his most important work.
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