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In this podcast, Wunhild Ryschkewitsch—born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1925—remembers the German presidential election of 1932 and the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party. At the time, Wunhild’s father served as a professor of automotive and aircraft engineering in Stuttgart and Vienna. After World War II, Wunhild and her family moved to the United States. She settled in Gainesville with her husband George in the late 1950s. Ann Smith, the coordinator of SPOHP’s Veterans History Project, interviewed her on March 24, 2011.
Produced by Christian Klepper and Deborah Hendrix.
In this episode, Ralph Jones recalls witnessing the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Jones, a Navy Yeoman, served in an air squadron in the Pacific Theater of Operations, and awoke on December 7 hearing explosions. After World War II ended, Jones attended the University of Florida and served as a flight instructor during the Korean War. Dr. Julian Pleasants interviewed Jones on March 24, 1999.
Colonel Robert Ely, a University of Florida graduate, served as a Lieutenant Colonel in World War II. In this episode, he discusses his time overseas with the Third Army and his service as a logistics officer involved with building a permanent testing site for atomic weapons in the Pacific. Paul Ortiz interviewed Colonel Ely on May 7, 2010.
While completing a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering and a law degree at the University of Florida, Jacob Varn began working with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
During his law school career, Varn worked with Dean Frank Maloney in writing the Model Water Code, which served as the basis for the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972, now Chapter 373 of the Florida Statutes. He later served as the District’s first general counsel and Assistant Executive Director.
In 1979, Governor Bob Graham appointed Varn Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, and in 1981, Governor Graham appointed him Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation.
Dr. Julian Pleasants, Director Emeritus of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, conducted this interview in 2005. In the following segment, Varn recalls his experience representing Pasco County in the water wars among Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties. He also discusses the creation and effectiveness of the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority. Edited by Nicole Cox.
In this interview, Sallie Harrison describes the beginnings of the women’s movement in Gainesville. Starting with her work in the presidential campaign of George McGovern, who was defeat by Richard Nixon in 1972, Harrison describes the connections between the women’s movement and the civil rights movement, her work to establish a rape crisis center and women’s health center in Gainesville and her daughter’s impact on her activism. Her powerful story captures the energy, optimism and courage of Gainesville’s first generation of radical women’s activists.
This podcast begins a series produced in conjunction with a panel on Women's History titled "Activists Among Us: the Gainesville Women's Movement Across Generations." This panel is scheduled for Thursday, April 8, 2010 from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Matheson Museum, and will feature local activists such as Sallie Harrison. The event is free and open to the public.
Sallie Harrison was interviewed on November 17,2009 by Jessica Lancia, a history graduate student at the University of Florida and Dr. Trysh Travis, Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Florida. This podcast was produced and edited by Yan Cao with introductory materials by Danielle Navarrete. This podcast was processed by Deborah Hendrix with music by ET Snyder, St. Paul, MN.
Dale Twachtmann played a foundational role in the organization of Florida’s water management districts. He initially served as Assistant Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and became Executive Director in 1962. Twachtmann later managed the city of Tampa’s Water, Sewer, Public Works, and Sanitation Departments from 1972 to 1983. In 1987, Governor Bob Martinez appointed Twachtmann Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. Dr. Julian Pleasants conducted this interview in 2006.
In Part 1 of this podcast, Twachtmann discusses the early days of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. He considers future issues and directions in water management in Part 2. Edited by Nicole Cox.
Ahmed Sherif served on the Islamic Center of Gainesville's Board of Directors from 2004 to 2006 and was previously the president of Islam on Campus, which was founded to promote accurate information about Islam at the University of Florida, in 1997. Sherif discusses his own experience of living as a Muslim and learning about Islam in the United States, Islam on Campus activities, and challenges going forward in overcoming stereotypes of Muslims and the Islamic faith. Sherif also talks about Gainesville's two mosques, The Islamic Center of Gainesville and the Hoda Center. Sherif was interviewed by Doug Malenfant in 2009. Edited by Doug Malenfant and Danielle Navarrete. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records.
Dr. Howard T. Odum founded the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetlands and the Center for Environmental Policy at UF and was widely regarded as a pioneer in ecosystems research and especially for his integration of the fields of ecology and economics. In an obituary written by his successor Mark Brown in 2002, Dr. Odum’s research models in these areas were described as "all boil[ing] down to the idea that natural and human systems must be considered together for the benefit of both." Due to length, this episode has been split into two parts. Topics include emergy evaluations, water management, and environmental policy in Florida. Local journalist and author Cynthia Barnett interviewed Dr. Odum in 2001. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records.
During the week of Aug. 18-23, 2009, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program will return to the Mississippi Delta to continue research on the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi with veteran Civil Rights activists and leading scholars of the Mississippi Freedom Movement.
The SPOHP research team will focus on uncovering the movement’s origins and researching its impact, as well as documenting contemporary legacies in a region that gave birth to one of the most vibrant social movements in American history.
To highlight the event, this episode of the Proctor Podcast is a compilation of selected segments from the 2008 Indianola, Mississippi trip and includes interviews with longtime Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activists and Civil Rights Movement educators Margaret Block and Hollis Watkins, who speak about the history of SNCC, the vital role music played in the movement, and the ongoing fight for racial equality.
Margaret Block and Hollis Watkins were interviewed by Paul Ortiz in 2008. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records.
This podcast details the darkest side of war as recalled by a POW held by the Japanese for three and a half years. Conrad Alberty survived the Battle of Bataan, the Bataan Death March, the internment camps of O’Donnell and Cabanatuan, the Japanese Hell Ships, and the slave labor camps in Japan. He endured torture, starvation, malaria, and other near-death experiences—and he lived to tell his story. The harrowing accounts of prisoners of war are not found in history textbooks or in books on World War II—or any other war. This survivor’s gripping words are also featured in the SPOHP-produced documentary about four POWs titled I Just Wanted to Live! Ken Samuelson conducted Conrad Alberty’s oral history in 1998. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete and Diane Fischler. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records.
Former Secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs John DeGrove is widely regarded as the father of growth management law in Florida. He was founder and longtime director of the Florida Atlantic University-Florida International University Joint Center for Environmental and Urban Problems and is remembered for his ideas of “smart growth." Dr. DeGrove was interviewed by Cynthia Barnett in 2001. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Steve Davis and Dan Simone.
In this podcast Nathaniel Reed speaks about the controversy surrounding the Miami Jetport. The effort to halt construction of the Miami Jetport is considered by many to be a major catalyst in formation of the environmental movement. Nathaniel Reed is a prominent defender of the Florida environment and served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks in the Nixon and Ford administrations. Officials referenced in the interview include Gov. Claude Kirk, former interior secretary Walter Hickel, and former transportation secretary John Volpe. Photo courtesy of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Julian Pleasants interviewed Mr. Reed on November 2, 2000 and December 18, 2000. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Steve Davis and Dan Simone.
Clair Chaffin speaks about his experience as a Marine corpsman in the Pacific Theater of War in World War II in this 2008 interview with Gerrit Blauvelt at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. Clair Chaffin was killed in an armed robbery on June 8, 2009, at the age of 83, and we offer our condolences to his friends and family. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete and Diane Fischler. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records. See our tribute to Clair Chaffin.
The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is proud to announce four new podcasts for Memorial Day. In their own unique ways, these interviewees reflect upon the meaning of war and remembrance of the past. Although these lives began in different places and have taken different paths, they were all deeply affected by the experience of living during wartime. We chose to focus exclusively on WW II for three reasons.
First, as evidenced by our films, public events, and constant interviewing, we have a strong and ongoing commitment to the preservation of memories of this war. Our growing collection contains mostly interviews with veterans, but in recent months we have broadened our focus to include war brides, service women, nurses, and ordinary civilians.
Second, scholars are currently debating the social impact of WW II. War casts a long shadow on the societies that lived through it, and this statement certainly applies to the aftermath of the first truly global war. Historians have yet to decide upon the extent and nature of these changes, but these kinds of oral histories will certainly contribute to this important debate.
Third, these interviews are compelling. The scope and intensity of WW II rendered powerful memories, many of which will surprise, enlighten, and move listeners. While listening to these interviews, one might ask how it is possible to describe that which is beyond description? Further, how are the lives of survivors shaped by the experience of war?
It is our hope that these interviewees represent the spirit of Memorial Day, as both a day of reckoning with the past and a day of hope for the future.
View this May 22 InsideUF article on more of our commemorative activities.
Pauline Pepper discusses her experiences as a nurse on a hospital ship. Topics include her basic training, care of children and wounded soldiers, returning home, and postwar life.
This interview is the third part of a three part series produced especially for Memorial Day. Ann Smith interviewed Mrs. Pepper on July 28, 2008. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Steve Davis.
Michael Jamin discusses his childhood in German-occupied Holland. Topics include wartime rationing, restrictions imposed on Dutch citizens, the deportation of Jews, and the Allied invasion. Steve Davis interviewed Mr. Jamin on May 5, 2009. This interview is the second part of a three part series produced especially for Memorial Day. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Steve Davis.
Bernard Mellman speaks about his experiences during WWII. Mr. Mellman was a member of the 42nd Infantry Division, also known as the Rainbow Division. Topics include his childhood in Columbus Ohio, training for combat, the liberation of Dachau concentration camp, and his postwar life. Steve Davis interviewed Mr. Mellman on February 19, 2009. This interview is the first part of a three part series produced especially for Memorial Day. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Steve Davis.
In this 2004 interview with former SPOHP director, Dr. Julian Pleasants, Stanley Hole, former chairman of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, discusses the evolution of water management in South Florida from flood control onward. Hole also talks about the short history of the 6th district. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete and Dan Simone. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, Courtesy of Public Room Records.
In this 2008 interview with UF doctoral student Dan Simone, former Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Victoria Tschinkel evaluates the performance of Florida's water management districts over the last few decades. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete and Dan Simone. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, Courtesy of Public Room Records.
This episode features a 1981 interview by Joel Buchanan on Wilhelmina W. Johnson, who was a civil rights activist and a leading educator in Gainesville, Florida. Mrs. Johnson died in 1999. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, Courtesy of Public Room Records, and by the UF University Gospel Choir.
Noted Gainesville community activist Rosa B. Williams speaks with Joel Buchanan about civil rights and voter participation in this 1984 interview. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records.
In this 1986 interview by Joel Buchanan, Reverend T. A. Wright, former president of the local chapter of the NAACP, discusses his civil rights activities in Gainesville, Florida. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records.
The 1986 interview between Steve Thiesse and Joel Buchanan featured in this podcast was selected from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program archives and talks about integrating Gainesville High School in 1963. Produced by Deborah Hendrix. Edited by Danielle Navarrete. Copyrighted music by Therapy Shock, courtesy of Public Room Records.
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