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.
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
The third and final presentation in the “Second Saturdays with Stetson Series” is Saturday, March 11, at 2:00 pm, at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, 2201 Michigan Avenue, Cocoa. The free talk, presented in conjunction with the temporary exhibition “Stetson Kennedy’s Multicultural Florida” will feature Kennedy’s widow, author and educator Sandra Parks.
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.
Folklorist, author, and activist Stetson Kennedy was born on October 5, 1916. Had he not died in 2011, Kennedy would have been 100 years old this week.
From 1937 to 1942, Kennedy traveled throughout Florida recording the oral histories, folktales, and work songs of the state’s diverse population. He spoke with Cracker cowmen, Seminole Indians, Greek sponge divers, Latin cigar rollers, African American turpentine still workers, and many others.
Peggy Bulger wanted to follow in Stetson Kennedy’s footsteps. In fact, Bulger wrote her doctoral dissertation about him.
As head of the Florida Writer’s Project for the Works Project Administration in the 1930s and ‘40s, Kennedy traveled throughout the state documenting the traditions, folktales, and folk songs of Florida’s diverse population. He recorded the oral histories of Greek sponge divers in Tarpon Springs, Latino cigar rollers in Ybor City and Key West, Seminole Indians at Big Cypress, and many others.
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