Please join military veterans and their families for a special Veterans Day film screening of the play “Telling Gainesville.” Telling Gainesville is part of a nationwide initiative by the National Endowment for the Humanities that connects civilian audiences with veterans in a creative, supportive environment.

“Telling Gainesville” ran to standing-room- only audiences at the Actor’s Warehouse in the fall of 2016. It featured veterans from the Marine Corps, the US Navy, and the Army—along with a woman who was married to an Air Force pilot for twenty years. The play allowed veterans tell their stories in the first person, and to speak directly with audiences about the challenges of military service in war and in peace.

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program’s videographer, Deborah Hendrix, filmed one of the final performances of Telling Gainesville. The film captures the poignancy of veterans discussing combat experiences, loss of comrades, and post-war traumas. After the film screening, the play’s director, Jeffrey Pufahl, will hold a roundtable discussion with actor-veterans who will take questions from the audience. Jeffrey Pufahl is a Creative Campus Visiting Scholar in Residence at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and a faculty member in UF’s Center for Arts in Medicine.

This screening is part of ongoing efforts by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Florida Humanities Council to create and support works that bring together civilians and veterans in mutually supportive dialogues to promote understanding. The play was written by Max Reyneard and directed by Jeffrey Pufahl.

The program is part of the University of Florida’s, “Dialogues on the Experiences of War” and is sponsored by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) Veterans’ History Project and the Center for European Studies, along with the UF Center for Arts in Medicine.

This program has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as the Florida
Humanities Council.

EVENT: Telling Gainesville: Military Veterans Share Their Stories of Service and Struggle
LOCATION: The Hippodrome State Theatre, Downtown, Gainesville
DATE: Saturday, November 11th
TIME: Doors 6:30, Screening 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

Free Public Event

 

About the Dialogues on the Experience of War program:

The NEH offers the Dialogues on the Experience of War program as part of its current initiative, Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War. The program supports the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war, in the belief that these sources can help U.S. military veterans and others think more deeply about the issues raised by war and military service. If you are interested in future discussion sessions or film screenings, contact Lisa Booth at the UF Center for European Studies.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Lisa Booth
Center for European Studies
Email Lisa Booth for more information and free discussion materials.

Tamarra Jenkins
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
352-392- 7168

On June 8th, 1967, Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats launched a ferocious two-hour attack on and attempted to sink the USS Liberty as she sailed under a U.S. Flag in International waters. Of the 294 men aboard the vessel, 34 were killed and 174 were wounded by a well-coordinated, multi-wave assault that included the use of napalm. Rescue aircraft had been launched but were recalled in mid-flight by direct orders from President Lyndon B. Johnson, but why? The October 2003 Independent Commission of Inquiry found that “Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States.”

  • Why after 50 years are the USS Liberty survivors still seeking justice?
  • What: USS Liberty Remembrance Day Petition Drive (Volunteers Needed)
  • When: Thursday, June 8th, 2017 from 12 Noon to 4:00 PM
  • Where: Volusia County Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave, DeLand
  • Who: Proudly presented by the Dr. Bob Bowman Memorial Chapter of WeAreChange.org (We Are Change Central Florida)
  • Contact: Phil Restino of We Are Change Central Florida
  • Cell: (386) 235-3268; email: WeAreChangeCFL@gmail.com

2017 USS Liberty Remembrance Day Flyer-Mailer (PDF)
 

Know Their Story

BBC Documentary USS Liberty Dead in the Water

“They took out all of our transmitting antennas, and shortly thereafter deposited napalm there on the deck. It appeared to me that it was the intent of the attacker to take out all communications and keep all people off deck so they couldn’t re-establish any sort of antennas or communication system. If it was an accident, it was the best planned accident I ever heard of. The only reason we got the SOS out was because my crazy troops were climbing the antenna string and long wire while they were being shot at.” -Dave Lewis, USS Liberty Survivor Veteran

The BBC documentary USS Liberty Dead in the Water  follows the story of the attack moment by moment.

Watch it here now.

 

USS Liberty Veterans Association

“The War Crimes Report we filed lists allegations of acts committed during the attack on our ship, including:

  • The jamming of our radios on both US Navy tactical and international maritime distress frequencies;
  • The use of unmarked aircraft by the forces attacking the USS Liberty;
  • The deliberate machine gunning of life rafts we had dropped over the side in anticipation of abandoning ship; and
  • The recall of two flights of rescue aircraft that had een launched from Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers.  After those flights were recalled, Sixth Fleet personnel listened to our calls for help as the attack continued knowing they were forbidden to come to our assistance.” —USS Liberty Veterans Association Website

 

The Veterans’ Mission 

The crew of the USS Liberty is the most decorated crew since World War II. It is among the most decorated crews for a single engagement in the entire history of the United States Navy. Yet, the attack has never received a full investigation, as required by law.

Learn more about the survivors and sign their electronic petition on the Honor USS Liberty Vets Survivors Website here

 

Ray McGovern’s Article Not Remembering the USS Liberty:

“It is safe to assume that when President Donald Trump lands in Israel Monday, he will not have been briefed on the irrefutable evidence that, nearly 50 years ago – on June 8, 1967 – Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, killing 34 U.S. sailors and wounding more than 170 other crew. All of Trump’s predecessors – Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – have refused to address the ugly reality and/or covered up the attack on the Liberty.” -Ray McGovern, Not Remembering the USS Liberty

Veteran CIA officer Ray McGovern’s article Not Remembering the USS Liberty addresses the cover-up of the Israeli attack of the USS Liberty.

Read the article here.

With the help of coordinators Raja Rahim and Ryan Thompson, the Spring 2017 interns produced podcasts about Civic Engagement at the University of Florida.

University of Florida Digital Collections Archive

To date, 90+ oral history podcast pieces are available on the University of Florida’s Digital Collections website, including final projects for internship classes, as well as the original SPOHP podcast series Safe Spaces, The Gainesville 8 and Ottoman Greeks of the US. Browse the following highlights for more information, and visit the UFDC to download the many available series and student pieces.

To access information about individual episodes and pieces, scroll through the UFDC collection. Podcast pieces below are from the Spring 2017 internship class. All segment from this collection are 20 minutes or less to facilitate easy access to local history for students, teachers, and the general public.

 

Inclusion at the University of Florida (created by Ebony Love) 18:56

What kind of students, faculty, and staff members are here? If we are looking at 2016 alone, only 3,245 Black students enrolled at the University of Florida out of a headcount of 54,854 students. That means a little less than 6 percent of students at the University of Florida identify as Black, according to the Office of Institutional Planning and Research. When we expand this exploration to Black faculty members, of the 4,392 full time faculty members, only 191, or 4 percent identify as Black. Why is this a problem? According to the census, the demographics for the state of Florida show that 16.8 percent of the population is Black. In other words, the student and full time faculty demographics of UF are nowhere near being representative of the state of Florida in its numbers. The question now becomes how does the University of Florida uphold its mission of being a “diverse community” if it is not even representative of the state of Florida?

 

That Great Ol’ American Dream (created by Susan Atkinson) 19:59

Dr. Adejumo’s success stemmed from his proactive decisions in combination with the strong support of Black mentors and networks. But it is important to remember that one man’s experience does not represent the whole. Injustice towards minority groups is still prevalent in our society and at our university. We need to be aware of our history, the good and the bad. We must acknowledge past achievements and struggles and use them as footholds for progressing activism. Despite the current turmoil, Dr. Adejumo has a grand vision for the future of UF.

 

Race Relations at UF and Beyond (created by Brenda W. Stroud) 18:14

The University of Florida is listed among the top 20 colleges in the Nation. They are ranked #1 in Florida by USA Today. Still, trying to prove themselves demographically as a diverse and welcoming campus for both faculty and students, remains a challenge. I sat down with Tamarra Jenkins, Office Manager at the University’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, to discuss these ongoing struggles.

 

Dodged a Lot of Bullets (created by Sidney St. Cyr) 11:12

Camilo Reina-Munoz has had quite the journey that has led him to Gainesville, the center of the GatorNation. Reina Munoz’s journey started in Bogata, Colombia, due to guerilla warfare. He and his family went to Boston when he was nine months old and traveled along the East coast.

 

My Former Teaching Assistant Toye (created by Margaret Clarke) 9:33

As a student in one of Toyes classes I just assumed that he lived a life that was far more difficult then my own because he is from Nigeria and I am from America, because he walks down the street and people see a Black man while I walk down the street and no one thinks much. I assumed that he had to deal with prejudice and micro-aggresions that I could never understand and while that all this is true to Toyes experience, I underestimated his attitude and gratefulness to be here at the University of Florida.

 

A Humanity Thing (created by Peggy Dellinger) 36:52

Latino, gay, first-generation college graduate – how queerness and education influenced his decision to research and work with rural queer youth and why it’s important that academics volunteer or otherwise work with the populations they study outside academia.

 

“I’m Not A Juvenile Diliquent” (created by Hope Saunders) 13:00

Sidney has a great interest in sports and would like to go on to become a sports commentator if possible. However, he has been discouraged many times by others who claim he is not cut out to do that. Sidney compares himself to Mike Wazowski of Monsters Inc, a character who struggles to fit into career stereotypes.

 

 

“A powerful book; a tale of heroism, volunteerism, and sacrifice.”—Gary R. Mormino, author of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida

“Personal anecdotes humanize the narrative and add a poignant impact. The use of newspaper editorials also provides an understanding of how North Carolinians responded to the war.”—Melton A. McLaurin, author of The Marines of Montford Point: America’s First Black Marines

At the outset of World War II, North Carolina was one of the poorest states in the Union. More than half of the land was rural. Over one-third of the farms had no electricity; only one in eight had a telephone. Illiteracy and a lack of education resulted in the highest rate of draft rejections of any state. The citizens desperately wanted higher living standards, and the war would soon awaken the Rip Van Winkle state to its fullest potential. Home Front traces the evolution of the people, customs, traditions, and attitudes, arguing that World War II was the most significant event in the history of modern North Carolina.

Using oral history interviews, newspaper accounts, and other primary sources, historian Julian Pleasants explores the triumphs, hardships, and emotions of North Carolinians during this critical period. The Training and Selective Service Act of 1940 created over fifty new military bases in the state to train two million troops. Citizens witnessed German submarines sinking merchant vessels off the coast, struggled to understand and cope with rationing regulations, and used 10,000 German POWs as farm and factory laborers. The massive influx of newcomers reinvigorated markets—the timber, mineral, textile, tobacco, and shipbuilding industries boomed, and farmers and other manufacturing firms achieved economic success. Although racial and gender discrimination remained, World War II provided social and economic opportunities for black North Carolinians and for women to fill jobs once limited to men, helping to pave the way for the civil and women’s rights movements that followed.

The conclusion of World War II found North Carolina drastically different. Families had lost sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters. Despite all the sacrifices and dislocations, the once provincial state looked forward to a modern, diversified, and highly industrialized future.

Julian M. Pleasants is professor emeritus of history and former director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. He is the author of several books, including The Political Career of W. Kerr Scott: The Squire from Haw River.

The Fall 2017 Internship Application is now open!  SPOHP’s semester-long academic internship is available to graduate and undergraduate students for credit as an introduction to the field of oral history.

The Fall 2017 Social Justice Initiatives internship offers a space for students to pursue their own interests in social justice research through training and mentoring in oral history and digital humanities methodologies. Interns may develop skills in interviewing and fieldwork methods; Transcription and interview processing; Podcasting and audio editing; Social media and event promotion; Short documentaries and video editing; Public and community engagement. Final projects involve conducting one or more oral history interviews and creating digital presentation for the public.

For more information, contact the Internship Graduate Coordinator Raja Rahim. Applications are due by May 1st, 2017. Please email applications to Raja Rahim or deliver to SPOHP offices, Pugh Hall 241.

 

 

 

In this final installment of SPOHP volunteer John Paul Lorie’s three-part podcast on the Gainesville Eight, we hear the story of the federal government’s indictment of the Eight on charges of conspiracy to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention. We hear the lawyer for the defendants assess the prosecution’s case, and describe the legal strategy his firm adopted for defending these veterans in court. We also hear direct testimony from members of the Eight including Scott Camil, as well as other VVAW members who were subpoenaed to testify, in describing the FBI’s infiltration of VVAW and the flagrant violations of their constitutional rights that ensued. Given that we are currently witnessing–and some of us participating in–a new era of demonstration and direct action, this story is of particular relevance to questions of lawful protest and the constitutional rights of demonstrators.

 

 

 

The Villages were an untapped interviewing grounds for our Veteran’s History Project, but since its start, SPOHP volunteer team, the Villages Squad, has collected many invaluable interviews. For the past several months, the team has been tirelessly collecting the stories of World War II veterans living in the Central Florida region. Members Mike Parker, Bruce Hansen, and Ed Webb started when VHP coordinator Ann Smith received an email of inquiry from Mike Parker. Parker had been working with his wife to organize Honor Flights out of Orlando, Florida. Mike approached SPOHP to collect the stories of honor flight veterans.

Mike Parker soon was trained to do oral histories, and he started doing interviews from the list of Honor Flight veterans. Soon after, he brought other volunteers to the Veteran’s History Project. He conducted a two and a half hour oral history workshop at a local library and brought a lot of interest, but after a few months, only two volunteers remained: Bruce Hansen and Ed Webb. Bruce Hansen is a retired law enforcement agent. He is a quiet, soft spoken man who is comfortable with listening to the harrowing stories that sometimes come along with World War II interviews. Hansen conducts many of the interviews. He excels at contacting and interviewing veterans. Ed Webb works behind the scenes and attends interviews. He is very good at asking backup questions and organizing interviews. Hansen and Webb are a team. They work to prioritize and collect interviews. They even visited the largest post in the American Legion, and they worked with them to collect the experiences of veterans in their local branch.

We thank the Villages Squad for their time volunteering to collect interviews! Their interviews help tell nuanced stories that complicate our national memory of war.

 

 

In this second installment of SPOHP volunteer John Paul Lorie’s three-part podcast on the Gainesville Eight, we hear Scott Camil and other members of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) describing the founding of the organization and the recruitment of new members. One of the VVAW’s first major actions concluded with a march on the gates of the Capitol in which decorated veterans made short statements into a microphone and then threw their medals over the fence and toward the Capitol building. We also hear about the U.S. government’s harassment of Scott Camil in response to the effectiveness of his activism, preparing us for next week’s final installment which will describe the indictment of the Gainesville Eight on charges of conspiracy to disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention.