March 14, Dr. Ortiz to Speak at Clay History Month Event with Keystone Heights Heritage Commission

Published: February 24th, 2015

Category: Past Local Events

Internationally Acclaimed Oral History Expert Coming to Keystone Heights

Keystone Heights, FL – The Keystone Heights Heritage Commission (KHHC) is kicking-off its new oral history program to preserve living memories of the community.   In coordination with Clay History Month, KHHC is pleased to announce that Dr. Paul Ortiz, Director of the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, will speak to the public at the Lake Geneva beach pavilion on Saturday, March 14th at 2pm.

Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Ortiz, also an associate professor of History at the University of Florida, is the current president of the Oral History Association.  He received his Ph.D. in History from Duke University in 2000.

He writes frequently for the popular press and has been interviewed by ABC News, the Washington Post and the BBC to name a few.  His latest work is entitled:  “Our Separate Struggles are Really One:  African American and Latino History,” to be published by Beacon Press as part of its ReVisioning American History Series.

Dr. Ortiz currently directs the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program in Gainesville.  The program is named for its founder, a prominent scholar of Florida history and a pioneer in the field of oral history in the United States.   The program collects oral histories throughout the entire country with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life.

So far the Samuel Proctor Oral History program has gathered more than 6500 interviews, one of the largest oral history archives in the United States, with active research projects in Latin America, Haiti, Europe and other locations.

Major projects have focused on Florida county-specific history, military and women’s history, business and economic development, water and environmental policy, WWII, SEC Sports and University of Florida history.

On March 14th, Dr. Ortiz will speak to residents of Keystone Heights about the importance of oral histories for the sake of current and future generations.  Keystone Heights is a relatively new town, developed in the mid-1920s to attract winter residents to North Central Florida’s Lake District.  The planned community was platted and created by civil engineers from Pennsylvania and still boasts dozens of its original homes. Many of its older residents can recall its earliest settlers.

The site for the lecture is the Keystone Heights beach pavilion, one of the town’s first structures built in 1924.  The Keystone Heights Heritage Commission plans to restore the pavilion in time for the city’s 100th anniversary in 2025.



Feb. 24, 2015
Contact: LaDonna Hart


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