9/23 STAAR Forum, “What You Can’t Get Back: The Human Cost of Mass Incarceration”

Students Taking Action Against Racism (STAAR) will host the discussion with AAHP Coordinators Randi Gill-Sadler and Justin Hosbey, Civic Media Center Coordinator Nailah Summers, and Michael Dennis, VP of Progressive Black Men, Inc.

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

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

Staged Reading: “Threads of Silver and Gold – Women of the Panama Canal” on Feb. 20

Playwright and director Deborah B. Dickey has created a play in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal. Threads of Silver and Gold: Women of the Panama Canal looks at the role of women who arrived from the West Indies, England and the United States during the construction period of the canal.

The performance will take place Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Hippodrome Cinema in Gainesville. The event is free and open to the public.

The “silver and gold” of the title refers to the separate payrolls used to classify workers (skilled and unskilled) that evolved into an overall culture of discrimination between races that persisted through much of the 20th century in Panama. Full of heroism and striving, the play celebrates the pioneering women who left behind family to face enormous challenges as they witnessed the realization of the 400-year-old dream to join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The play will be followed by a discussion with the audience and a panel of University of Florida faculty, actors and the playwright on issues of race, class and gender from various perspectives, historical and contemporary.

Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities in the Public Sphere with support from the Rothman endowment, the play is presented by the George A. Smathers Libraries at UF with additional support from the university’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations.

Dickey created her characters using letters, oral histories and other resources from the Panama Canal Museum Collection at UF and other related collections. She received her MFA in acting and directing from UF’s School of Theatre and Dance and is a director and producer for A Classic Theatre Inc. in St. Augustine.


Lee Herring, Communications Assistant
Panama Canal Museum Collection


Threads of Silver and Gold: Women of the Panama Canal

A new play by Deborah B. Dickey
February 20, 7:00 p.m.
Hippodrome Cinema
25 S.E. 2nd Place, Gainesville


Photo, showing boarding house proprietress and children in a restaurant, from Panama Canal Museum Collection/University of Florida.

Black History Month Events at the Museum of Florida History to feature John Due & Zohara Simmons

TALLAHASSEE— The Museum of Florida History is hosting public programs throughout February to celebrate Black History Month. The programs complement the current exhibit in the Museum, Civil Rights in the Sunshine State. This special exhibit is a collaborative effort of the Museum and civil rights leaders and institutions from around the state. Many of the individuals who helped with the exhibit will be participating in the February programs.

“This February, the Department of State and the Museum of Florida History are proud to feature some of the significant civil rights leaders of the 20th century,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner.“I encourage all Floridians and visitors to take advantage of these free programs.”

Civil Rights in the Sunshine State is on display through April 5, 2015 at the Museum of Florida History.

The following events take place at the Museum of Florida History in downtown Tallahassee throughout the month of February.

  • Wednesdays, at 10:30 a.m. African American History Tours of the Museum: The Museum of Florida History will present free guided tours of Florida’s African American history. Tours are also available upon request throughout the month.
  • Every Friday, at 10:00 a.m. Highwaymen Painting Tours: The Museum of Florida History has one of the largest collections of Highwaymen paintings on public display. Get a free guided tour every Friday. For more information on the Highwaymen painters visit, their website
  • February 13, at 5:30 p.m. Paving the Way–Florida Civil Rights Pioneers: Dr. Paul Ortiz of the University of Florida moderates a panel discussion of civil rights leaders. The panel includes John Due, who was active in the statewide civil rights movement and was a member of the legal team for activist Dr. Robert Hayling; the Reverend Henry Marion Steele, who was active in the Tallahassee movement and is the son of civil rights leader C. K. Steele; and Althemese Barnes, the executive director of the John G. Riley House Museum and founder of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network.
  • February 24, History at High Noon, Civil Rights: Dr. Anthony Dixon, a national expert in the African diaspora, will discuss the history of the diaspora in Florida and sign copies of his new book. To learn more about History at High Noon, visit Florida history Museum website
  • February 27, at 5:30 p.m. Women in the Civil Rights Movement: In preparation for Women’s History Month in March Dr. Paul Ortiz will moderate a discussion with three women about their experiences working with the civil rights movement. Dr. Gwendolyn Zohara Simmons of the University of Florida was active in the Freedom Summer in Mississippi and was a member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Ms. Priscilla Stephens Kruize was a leader in the Tallahassee movement and a founding member of Tallahassee CORE. Ms. Sandra Parks was active in the statewide movement in Florida.

Parking and admission for all programs is free. Breakfast and lunch are available for purchase from The Egg Express Café weekdays until 3:00 p.m. in the Museum lobby.

For more information, call 850-245-6400 or go to our website. Contact Katie Kole, 850-245-6471.


About the Museum of Florida History
The Museum of Florida History is part of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs and is located in the R. A. Gray Building at 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday and holidays, noon to 4:30 p.m. Free parking is available in the garage next to the R. A. Gray Building.

Image from the Museum of Florida History Facebook.

UF Celebrates the Life of Nelson Mandela, December 5

The University of Florida will celebrate the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on Friday, December 5, starting at 12 noon in the Ocora Room, Pugh Hall. The event which will be held on the 1st anniversary of Mandela’s death will include faculty and student reflections on his global and local impact. It will conclude with songs and a tree planting in his honor in front of Grinter Hall. Faculty, students and the general public are invited to attend and participate in the celebration.

The event is sponsored by the Center for African Studies in conjunction with the Bob Graham Center for Public Policy, the Samuel Proctor History Program, the African American Studies Program, the Levin College of Law Center for Race and Race Relations and the African Student Union.

For more details, see the attached flyer.

Annual Rosa Parks Quiet Courage Awards Ceremony to Honor Gainesville Citizens, December 7

The Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, with Rev. Milford Griner, will remember  Rosa Parks and honor local leaders with the Quiet Courage Awards on Sunday, December 7 at 3:30 p.m. Past honorees have included Andrew Mickle, Rev. Dr. T.A. Wright, Sr., and Sherry Dupree, among many others.

RSVP on  Facebook

Photo by Brad McClenny, The Gainesville Sun, December 1, 2013.

November 6-7, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin to speak on drone warfare in Gainesville

10467040_719145041476553_4320364999952836155_oCODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin will speak at UF Ustler Hall and Wild Iris Bookstore with new book on drone warfare.

  • Thursday, November 6, 6:30 pm “Empowering Women in the Peace Movement” speaking at University of Florida campus Ustler Hall. Sponsored by UF Women Studies Department, NOW, Vets for Peace, (and others).
  • Friday, November 7, 11 am – 2 pm “Justice In Palestine” discussion at the Mennonite Meeting House, 1236 NW 18th Av, Gainesville, with Students for Justice in Palestine.
  • Friday, November 7, 3 pm- 5pm PROTESTING DRONE WARFARE at Main St. and University Av., downtown Gainesville. Join CodePINK, Vets for Peace, Occupy Gainesville, Students for Justice in Palestine and others for peaceful protest against drone warfare!
  • Friday evening, November 7, 6 pm – 9 pm, “Drone Warfare, Killing by Remote Control” new book by Medea Benjamin discusses her latest book at Wild Iris Bookstore, 22 SE Fifth Avenue.

GAINESVILLE, FL – Increasing alarm is widespread among activists and intellectuals nationwide about the use of killer drones in modern warfare. Medea Benjamin will address this in a presentation of her new book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, a comprehensive look at how drones are being used to assassinate people around the world, the legal and moral implications, and how to build a movement to rein in the drones. It also looks at how drones are coming to local police departments, and what that means for our privacy rights.

“In this remarkably cogent and carefully researched book, Medea Benjamin makes it clear that drones are not just another high-tech military trinket,” Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, wrote about the book. “Drone Warfare sketches out the nightmare possibilities posed by this insane proliferation.”

Drone Warfare explores the growing menace of robotic warfare, with an extensive analysis of who is producing the drones, where they are being used, who “pilots” these unmanned planes, who are the victims and what are the legal and moral implications. In vivid, readable style, the book also looks at what activists, lawyers and scientists are doing to ground the drones, and ways to move forward.

“In reality”, writes Benjamin, “the assassinations we are carrying out via drones will come back to haunt us when others start doing the same thing—to us.”

Benjamin’s talks will take place at Ustler Hall, at 6:30 pm November 6. It is [open to the public and press is welcome.

Benjamin will discuss the Palestinian issue along with students for Justice in Palestine from 11am-2pm, November 7 at the Mennonite Meeting House.

Benjamin will discuss her book, Drone Warfare at Wild Iris Bookstore from 6-9 pm Friday evening, November 7. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information about the book tour, organized by the peace group CODEPINK, please contact Alli at 860-575-5692 or look up schedule. Local contact Jacque Betz, 352-514-2557. Photo from Medea Benjamin’s official Facebook page.


Nov. 17, Film Premiere: “You Belong to Me”

nov 2014 you belong to meRuby McCollum, age 42, shoots State Senator-elect, Dr. Clifford LeRoy Adams, firing her .32-caliber revolver four times into his body, before going home and warming a bottle of milk for her baby daughter. What began as a bizarre murder case quickly turned into a bright light on the rotting underbelly of the Old South.

A new documentary has been made focusing on the McCollum case and the larger impacts on the community of Live Oak and the South in general, titled You Belong to Me. On Monday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. the Bob Graham Center will cohost a screening of You Belong to Me in Pugh Hall, followed by a panel discussion afterwards. The event and parking are free and open to the public. The panel discussion will feature Churchill Roberts, College of Journalism and Communications, as moderator.

Other panelists will include:

  • Hilary Saltzman, Producer of You Belong to Me
  • Ken Nunn, Levin College of Law
  • Paul Ortiz, Director, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

For more information, contact the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. The event is sponsored by the Bob Graham Center, the College of Journalism and Communications, the Center for the Study of Race Relations, and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. Photo from the “You Belong to Me” official website.

“Preparing for the Civil Rights Movement in Florida” at Tallahassee Museum of Florida History

On Thursday, October 16th at 6 p.m, Dr. Paul Ortiz will give a lecture titled, “Preparing for the Civil Rights Movement in Florida” and sign copies of the new edition of “Remembering Jim Crow.” This event is preparatory to the Tallahassee Museum of Florida History’s unveiling of its forthcoming exhibit on the civil rights movement in Florida. The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) has been consulting with the staff at the museum on this historic exhibit which will run from November 7, 2014 – April 5, 2015.

Mrs. Laura Dixie, one of the last surviving organizers of the Tallahassee Bus Boycott of 1956, will also be honored at the event. SPOHP has conducted several oral history interviews with Mrs. Dixie. Her family hosts SPOHP’s Mississippi Freedom Project team every summer in Tallahassee for a barbecue and fish fry on the road to the Mississippi Delta.

Teachers: plan your students’ field trip to the Florida Museum now! http://museumoffloridahistory.com/exhibits/coming.cfm

For more information about the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, visit the African American History Project site  and Mississippi Freedom Project site.

Dedication of CMC Labor Library to Bob and Gay Zieger

On Thursday, September 25th at 7:00 p.m., the Civic Media Center will dedicate its Labor Library in memory of Bob and Gay Zieger.

The Ziegers influenced countless students and community members through their work at both Santa Fe College and the University of Florida. Because of their support for the Civic Media Center and the Labor Movement—and progressive causes in general—the CMC is dedicating the Labor Library in their memory.

The CMC invites the public to come and share stories, enjoy a beverage, and celebrate the Ziegers’ lives, “Never for money; always for love.”

For more information, visit civicmediacenter.org or call 352-373-0010. RSVP on Facebook.