This episode of the Safe Spaces series looks back at the creation of the India Cultural and Education Center (ICEC) in Gainesville, Florida. Efforts to create the center began in 1990, following the suicides of three students of Indian origin within a short period. These tragedies inspired Dr. Dinesh Shah’s vision of a student center near the UF campus where students could meet with other students, UF faculty and staff, and community members to develop a strong support system. The center also served as a community space for cultural programs and events. Dr. Shah found strong support from the Indian community in Gainesville both on and off campus and their fundraising campaign took them all over the state of Florida. Although the Indian community in Gainesville was small in comparison to major cities in the United States, faculty and community members were able to raise the million dollars required to create their “Miracle on 13th Street,” likely the only Indian cultural center in the United States that was created with university students in mind. This podcast was made possible by the Dr. Dinesh Shah, Dr. Ramakant Srivastava, Mrs. Chethana Mehta, and Mr. Ravi Bhosale, who so generously agreed to share their memories of the ICEC. Many thanks as well to the many other founders, board members, volunteers, students, and donors who helped make the ICEC possible.

The Safe Spaces series explores how marginalized groups make a home for themselves within their communities in the face of adversity. Safe Spaces tackles issues of race, prejudice, identity, equal representation and education. The aim of this series is to document what leads to the creation of safe spaces, how these spaces are preserved and their impact on their respective communities. Episodes are released approximately once a month.


Dr. Robert Zieger (1938-2013), Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Florida, was one of the preeminent labor historians of the United States. Bob was a spirited and highly esteemed historian and two-time recipient of the Philip Taft Labor History Book Award who introduced countless scholars, students, union members, and community organizers to the field of labor history. Gay Zieger (1938-2013) taught English and Literature at Santa Fe College from 1987 to 2009 after serving on the faculty of Wayne State University in Detroit. She was an accomplished photographer, painter, and author. Gay and Bob were married in 1962 and have one son, Robert.

Bob and Gay Zieger were two of SPOHP’s most active supporters, and attended nearly every public program. After fifty years of marriage, Bob and Gay Zieger passed away within months of each other in 2013. Their family created the Robert and Gay Zieger Social Justice and Oral History Scholarship Fund to carry on their legacy. The funds support SPOHP’s social justice fieldwork, research, teaching, and publication missions. Below is a summary of the Robert and Gay Zieger Social Justice and Oral History Scholarship Fund’s impact to date, which has preserved memories of communities across the country while providing enriching fieldwork experience for students.

Zieger Fund Social Justice Initiatives at SPOHP:

The 2014 Mississippi Freedom Project Fieldwork Trip

In June 2014, sixteen SPOHP students and staff traveled to Natchez, Cleveland, Ruleville, and Indianola, Mississippi for six days to gather interviews for the Mississippi Freedom Project, with support of the Zieger Fund. The group was present for the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer and recorded oral history interviews with returning Freedom Summer veterans. “I Never Will Forget”: Memories of Mississippi Freedom Summer (2014), an edited volume of MFP interviews from Sunflower County, was released at the Freedom Summer reunion organized by the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization.

The 2014 Oral History Association Conference

In October 2014, the Zieger Fund underwrote eight SPOHP students and staff who presented at the annual OHA meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

Génesis Lara spoke on a panel entitled, “Un-silencing Hispaniola’s Histories: Precedents and Possibilities,” and on a second panel, “From Oral History to Community Action: Latino Youth Building Community and Transforming Social Discourses and Institutions.” Diana Dombrowski and Dr. Erin Conlin spoke on the panel, “Recording Voices and Empowering Communities: Oral History, Community, Engagement, and Social Justice,” discussing oral history research related to social justice organizing. Jessica Taylor, Matthew Simmons, and Chelsea Carnes presented a panel entitled, “Suffering in Silence: Counteracting Myths of Passivity through Narratives of Resistance.” Sarah Blanc presented on the panel, “The Civil Rights Act and Freedom Summer at 50: New Evidence, New Interpretations.”

Digital Humanities Coordinator Deborah Hendrix provided videography services throughout the conference to make conference presentations available to the public on SPOHP’s YouTube channel.

The 2014 Virginia Tidewater Main Street Project

In October 2014, UF history students traveled to eastern Virginia to document folklore, traditional crafts, and rural development with residents of Mathews and Middlesex Counties, led by graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor, with support of the Zieger Fund. The inaugural trip featured two oral history open houses in Virginia, a methods workshop, and an interdisciplinary panel open to the public. Oral history research conducted during the week built on a foundation of 45 interviews conducted on the Middle Peninsula by SPOHP graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor over the past two years.

The field research team was comprised of past and present interns, staff members, graduate students and four undergraduate University Scholars. In 2015, SPOHP staff and students transcribed all 30 interviews, shared them with host communities, and archived the entire project online, now available through the University of Florida Digital Collections archive at:

The 2015 Appalachian Social Change Fieldwork Project

In February 2015, the Zieger Fund sponsored ten SPOHP students and staff who traveled to Appalachian North Carolina to document changes in small mountain communities due to expanding tourism development, led by graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor. The group held an open house to gather interviews and presented an oral history methodology workshop for undergraduate students at Lees-McRae College and Mars Hill University.

The 2015 Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Fieldwork Trip

In March 2015, the Zieger Fund sponsored a group of eleven SPOHP students and staff who traveled to Tucson, Arizona, to conduct interviews about the previously-banned Mexican American Studies Program in the Tucson Unified School District. The group partnered with Prescott College to record the voices of students, community leaders, parents, and educators who have been deeply affected by the Arizona legislature’s statewide ban on ethnic studies programs in public schools.

The 2015 Mississippi Freedom Project Fieldwork Trip

In June 2015, sixteen SPOHP students and staff traveled to Montgomery, Alabama and Natchez and Indianola, Mississippi for six days to gather interviews for the Mississippi Freedom Project, with support from the Zieger Fund. In Montgomery, the group interviewed staff members at the Equal Justice Initiative and the Southern Poverty Law Center. In Natchez, the group presented a public panel entitled “Unfinished Business: Race, Democracy, and the Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights.”

The 2015 Teaching for Change Teacher’s Institute

In July 2015, the Zieger Fund sponsored MFP staff Sarah Blanc and Diana Dombrowski in travel to Jackson, Mississippi, where they facilitated an oral history methodology workshop for Teaching for Change’s teacher fellowship program on Mississippi history, focusing on the civil rights movement and labor. The institute is designed to build a sustainable statewide learning community of classroom language arts, social studies, and history teachers in grades 6-12 for teaching hands-on, inquiry-based U.S. history through the lens of race and class in Mississippi history.

The 2015 Oral History Association Annual Meeting

In October 2015, the Zieger Fund underwrote seven SPOHP students and staff presenting at the annual OHA meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Dr. Paul Ortiz, Ann Smith, Don Obrist, and Deborah Hendrix presented a roundtable entitled, “Veterans of WWII Tell Their Stories.” Sarah Blanc, Patrick Daglaris, Diana Dombrowski, and Jessica Taylor presented a roundtable entitled, “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South.” Poarch Creek Project coordinator Diana Dombrowski presented on the “Teaching and Connecting Through Native American History” panel. Graduate coordinators of SPOHP’s Alachua County African American History Project, Dr. Ryan Morini, Randi Gill-Sadler, Justin Dunnavant, and Anthony Donaldson, presented on the roundtable, “#NoLaughingMatter: Disrupting Racial Oppression in the New South,” and project coordinators across SPOHP presented at the “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” including Diana Dombrowski with the Poarch Creek Project, Jessica Taylor with the Appalachian Social Change Project, Sarah Blanc with Mississippi Freedom Project, and Patrick Daglaris, with the Virginia Tidewater Main Street Project.

SPOHP also accepted the 2015 Elizabeth Mason Project Award (Small Project Category) for a year-long digitization collaboration between the Mississippi Freedom Project and the George A. Smathers Libraries.

SPOHP and the UF School of Theatre and Dance additionally presented an encore performance of “Gator Tales,” a dramatic oral history performance devised and directed by Kevin Marshall, which drew from SPOHP’s Alachua County African American History Project to tell the stories of the first students to integrate the University of Florida.

The 2015 Virginia Tidewater Main Street Project

Students and staff from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program returned to the Middle Peninsula of Virginia in October 2015, continuing the Fieldwork in Folklore research trip into its second year and building interviews for the Tidewater Main Street Project, with support from the Zieger Fund. The trip focused on the environmental and economic sustainability of local fishing and tourism industries, in connection with Mathews County historians and professionals.

Students and staff workshopped with community members to teach on the fundamentals of oral history, and students and staff also presented together to discuss SPOHP’s work across the Southeast in an encore presentation of “Standing With Our Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” originally presented the preceding week at the Oral History Association’s annual meeting in Tampa by senior research associates Diana Dombrowski and Sarah Blanc, staff Patrick Daglaris, and trip coordinator Jessica Taylor.

The Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore trip seeks to demonstrate the usefulness of history to UF students, and the utility of the major in their own lives. Research puts history students in conversation with professionals working in the fields of digital humanities, law, nonprofit work, archaeology, folklore, and American Studies from institutions including the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the College of William and Mary, and the Johns Hopkins University.

Further Impact of Robert and Gay Zieger’s Legacy

The Southern Labor Studies Association’s Robert H. Zieger Prize

The Southern Labor Studies Association (SLSA) announces the Robert H. Zieger Prize for the best essay in Southern Labor Studies. This prize has been established with the cooperation of the Zieger family and members of the SLSA.

The SLSA encourages the study and teaching of southern working-class history, and builds connections between labor activists and academics to encourage a greater understanding of the diverse experiences and cultures of workers in the South, broadly defined. This prize will be awarded every two years to the best article in southern labor studies submitted by a graduate student or early career scholar, journalist, or activist (“early career” being defined as no more than five years beyond the author’s highest degree).

Congratulations to the 2015 winner, Lane Windham, for her essay, “The Cannon Mills Case: Out of the Southern Frying Pan, Into the Global Fire.”

The Bob and Gay Zieger Labor Library at the Civic Media Center

In September 2014, the Civic Media Center and Library dedicated the Bob and Gay Zieger Labor Library. 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 named their labor collection in their memory.

For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.

4f1903da20561.preview-300Ms. Margaret Block, lifelong civil rights activist, teacher, and friend, passed away in June 2015. Her efforts to organize, agitate, and educate for social justice inspired men and women across the country to work together for freedom in America, including students of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program’s Mississippi Freedom Project, whom she led for many years.

Margaret worked as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee with her brother, Sam Block, in the 1960s, as well as the Black Panthers in California, where she taught school for more than three decades. When she recently returned to the Delta to care for her mother, Ms. Block met SPOHP Director Dr. Paul Ortiz and became involved with the Mississippi Freedom Project, leading groups of students each year to historical sites across the Delta and teaching civil rights history using lectures, poetry, and song. Guided by her directional insight, students visited the home of Amzie Moore, the Taborian Hospital, the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial, and other sites crucial to grassroots organizing for civil rights in the Delta.

Margaret Block was a great woman, an inspiration to our students, a freedom fighter who commanded respect all throughout the Mississippi Delta (and beyond!) as she taught countless people the traditions of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee! Margaret Block, presente!

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida will do all we possibly can to live the ethics Margaret taught us and to keep her memory alive. In honor of her revolutionary legacy and dedication to civil rights, SPOHP invites you to share lessons and memories from Margaret using the form below. Comments will be updated daily.

I’m outspoken, and if I see something wrong, I’m going to say something about it, because that’s my nature. You can’t sit up and see something wrong and not do anything about it, but I don’t consider myself a leader. I’m just a citizen that’s doing what you’re supposed to do, is being a citizen.


-Margaret Block, MFP-006B

Sharing Memories of Margaret Block

A Poem Commemorating the Voting Rights Act of 1865-1965, by Margaret Block

Vote or die will always be my battle cry.
I cry for the slaves who are long ago gone
It wasn’t for the vote but t’was freedom they longed
And they cried and sang this sad song.

Woke up this morning with my
Mind stayed on freedom
Woke up this morning with my
Mind stayed on freedom
Hallelue, Hallelue, Hallelujah
Vote or die.

Vote or die was Mary Ann Cary’s battle cry
She was an attorney in D.C.
The year was 1880
She fought for the woman’s right to vote
She asked Hiram Revels if you can vote, then why can’t I?
Vote or die was always Mary Ann’s battle cry.
Vote or die.

Vote or die was Aaron Henry’s battle cry
He got in the battle early on.
He was a pharmacist and Clarksdale, Mississippi was his home,
They put him in jail and beat him up
And made him ride on the back of a garbage truck.
They tried to take away his dignity and
He told them that when he got the vote,
We will all be free.
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Malcolm X’s battle cry
He asked LBJ in no uncertain way which will it be
The ballot or the bullet.
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Hartmon Turnbow’s battle cry
He lived in Mississippi town in Holmes county
They put bullet holes through his front door
And they set his house on fire because
He said that he was going to vote in the fall
Because freedom was his desire.
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Diann Nash’s battle cry
She fought for rights in Nashville, Tennessee.
She went to jail all over the land
She took a lot of young people by the hand
And said if you vote, it’ll set us free.
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Rev. J. D. Story’s battle cry.
In 1962 he took a very brave stand
And he let the world know that he wasn’t a coward
But a god-fearing man
He said that “the doors of the church is (sic) open”
And he showed no fear because
The vote to him was crucial and dear.
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Larry Rubin’s battle cry.
He came to Mississippi because he had a dream
But they locked him up in Holly Springs.
When he went to court he took a stand
And told the Judge, if you can vote, then why not every man.
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Sam Block’s battle cry
When he went to Greenwood they beat him up and threw him in jail.
They told his attorney there would be no bail
He stayed in jail and stood his ground
And he turned Greenwood upside down.
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Jimmy Travis’ battle cry.
While in Greenwood he got shot in the head
The Klan thought that he was dead.
They were surprised he survived and when he awoke
He said in a voice very loud
My head is bloodied but unbowed
Vote or die!

Vote or die was Arnell Ponder’s battle cry
They almost killed her in the Winona jail
She told Euvester to hold her head high
Because when they got out
She would vote or die.

Vote or die was Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer’s battle cry
They did her a favor when she got kicked off the land
She went to Ruleville and took her stand.
She told the world with force and pride
That she was sick and tired of being sick and tired
They beat her up in the Winona jail
When she got out she was strong but kind
And she would always sing this little light of mine.

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Vote or die!



“Vote or Die” copyright © Margaret Block, all rights reserved. Images from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and Independent Florida Alligator, taken by Alex Catalano, January 20, 2012.

The University Scholars Program at the University of Florida introduces undergraduate students at the University of Florida to the exciting world of academic research.  In the program, students work one-on-one with UF faculty on selected research projects, taking away an understanding of and appreciation for the scholarly method.

To contact scholars about their work and inquire about future USP opportunities at SPOHP, please contact us.

2018-2019 Scholar

Julian Cutler Valdivia

Research Project Description:

Long ago Southwest Florida had been known for having vast untouched lands, rugged Florida crackers, and Spanish merchants who traded gold doubloons for herds of cattle. If you were to visit that desolate land today you’d find the growing Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Area, elderly retirees, and European tourists eager to exchange their euros for an affordable vacation! A number of individuals lived between these two periods of history when Southwest Florida transitioned into what it is today between the 1950s and 2000s. My research involves interviewing these people to piece together an oral history of Southwest Florida, an area rarely mentioned in the wider history of the state.

Major/Minor: History Major/Florida Teaching Minor

Academic Awards:

Dean’s List (2017)

University Scholars Program (2018)

2017-2018 Scholar

Nicole Yapp

“Labor Exploitation, Racism and Oppression: Convict Labor in Florida From 1960 to 2010”
My research focuses on the evolution of convict labor in Florida from 1960 to 2010. In addition to examining incarceration trend, various state prisons and the forms of convict labor used in Florida, I will be exploring the role that racism and labor discipline plays in the racial disparity in incarceration rates. Florida currently has the third highest incarceration rate in the nation and I hope to be able to shed more light on the reason why that is the case.

Majors: History, International Studies, African American Studies

“I am excited to be work with SPOHP because I am a history major who is passionate about civil rights and social justice. A lot of the work SPOHP does is geared toward promoting social justice and preserving civil rights and human rights history. While working with SPOHP’s Mississippi Freedom Project, I learned about the importance of oral history research and I want to help SPOHP continue to do great work.”

Academic Awards: President’s Honor Roll, Dean’s List, University Scholars Program (2017)

2015-2016 Scholar

For the 2015-2016 academic year, Dr. Ortiz advised senior Annemarie Nichols, also a 4+1 MA/BA . Annemarie presented at the student presented at the 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 24, 2016 in the J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. In April, she will discuss her completed thesis at a departmental reception, open to family members and the public.

Annemarie Nichols

“Race Relations in Jackson County, Florida”
My project is a study of African American history and race relations in Jackson County, Florida from 1865-1945. I plan to develop a chronological structure that ties Reconstruction violence and politics to the eventual disenfranchisement and establishment of Jim Crow rule. I will contextualize my research of the rural Northwest Florida county with regional, state, and local politics and events that take place in order to begin the implications of race relations in the lives of African Americans in rural northwest Florida.

4+1 BA/MA: Oral History
BA Major: English, Minor: History

“I work with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, and I have helped conduct oral histories in Florida, Mississippi, Virginia, and North Carolina. I have a passion for researching and writing about history, and I want to use my time as a USP scholar to further develop my skills in archival and oral history.”

Academic Awards: University Scholars Program 2015-2016

  • Organizations: Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
  • Volunteer: Mentor for Students Advocating Gainesville Education at Lake Forest Elementary

2014-2015 Scholars

For the 2014-2015 academic year, Dr. Ortiz advised four SPOHP students: seniors Derick Gomez, Ellie Portillo, and Raina Shipman, and junior Jennifer Thelusma. Each student presented at the 16th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 18, 2015 in the J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. On April 11, they discussed their completed thesis at the departmental reception for honors students, open to family members and the public.

Raina, Ellie, and Jennifer are all alumni of SPOHP’s internship program, and attended the inaugural Fieldwork in Folklore research trip to the Virginia tidewater region in October 2014, led by graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor. Jennifer later worked as a staff member with the Hugh Rozelle Collection at SPOHP. Derick studied abroad in Chile in 2014, where he conducted many interviews, participated in student activism, and did local research on his topic. He is also an alumni of SPOHP’s internship program.

Raina Shipman

“Lessons of Tulia: Intersection of Race, the War on Drugs, and Mass Incarceration in the 21st Century”
My research project will explore mass incarceration in the United State’s justice system by examining a case of inequality and failure of the United States’ justice system that occurred in Tulia, Texas in 1999 to analyze factors like racism and federal funding that is based on the amount of arrests made which directly affects the injustice of the United States justice system. While examining this historic event, I will analyze the factors that contribute to the rising incarcerated population in America as well as the importance of grassroots organizing in order to fix issues like the case of the “Tulia 46.” I will be examining other faith-based organizations that have emerged in the movement against mass incarceration and America’s burgeoning prison-industrial complex. I will read extensively in the secondary literature on crime, race, and incarceration, starting with Levin Law School Professor Katheryn Russell-Brown’s “The Color of Crime” (1998) and “Underground Codes: Race, Crime, and Related Fires.

Majors: Political Science, History

“I have always had an interest in history as well as legal aspects of it. While interning at the Samuel Proctor Oral History program, I became aware of how laws have shaped history whether they be just or unjust. I came across Alan Bean’s book “Taking out the Trash in Tulia, Texas,” and was astonished at how much injustice could be done if there is no one to shed light on the justice system. I began to wonder if injustice actions like the one in the “Tulia 46″ case happened in other places which would account for the astonishing amounts of African Americans that make up prisons.”

Research Interests: African American history, mass incarceration, law

Academic Awards: Bob Graham Civic Scholar (2014), University Scholars Program (2014), Dean’s List (2013), Phi Alpha Delta in-house Mock Trial Champion

  • Organizations: Phi Alpha Delta, Public Leadership Society, Multicultural Political Science Association
  • Volunteer: ChampionShips, Inc., Boy’s and Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House


Derick Gomez

“University for All: The Rise and Repression of the Chilean University Reform Movement, 1967-1973”
Chile currently has one of the most developed and robust economies in Latin America. This is generally credited to neo-liberal reforms enacted during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which lasted from 1973 to 1989. However, these economic policies created a massive gulf between wealthy Chileans and the rest of the nation. This is perhaps most evident in the country’s educational system. Pinochet’s government passed laws, without democratic approval, that considerably changed the structure of education in Chile. The Chilean Student Protests of 2011 sought to pressure political leaders to reform the nation’s educational system and to challenge one of the most substantial and lasting changes to Chilean society produced during Pinochet’s dictatorship. I want to research and understand this movement.

Major: History, Minor: English

“High school history is taught in a static way that is much more focused on having students memorize a couple of key names and dates rather than learning how to think critically. Studying history in the university setting has allowed me to recognize how much understanding it helps me come to grips with current, real-world situations and events. Participating in a research project is giving me the opportunity to immerse myself deeply in something that I am passionate about.”

Research Interests: Student activism, Latin America, politics

Academic Awards: University Scholar Program, Dean’s List

  • Organizations: Reitz Union Board, Fine Print, Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures
  • Volunteer: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Libros de Familia, Southern Legal Counsel


Ellie Portillo

“From Earth to Market: Interlinking Voices of the Locavore Movement in North Central Florida”
I will be conducting a study on the proponents of local farming and distribution during the year 2014/2015. More specifically, I will be addressing how the Locavore Movement has grown in the recent years in the North Central Florida area. The Locavore movement promotes the effort to create locally based, self sufficient food economics. Further, it promotes a food economy that supports sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption that will enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a specific place. I will be researching why the Locavore movement has originated and developed. I also will explore the many intersections it has with trends in agriculture. These will include sustainability, community gardens and food sovereignty.

Major: Political Science

“I was an intern for the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida during my junior year. During my internship, I learned first hand that oral histories were a powerful way to capture an aspect of the history and human experience that should not be overlooked. I felt that through this I was exposed to certain research methods that I could use to discover more about the origins and impacts of the Local Food Movement. ”

Research Interests: Locavore movement, oral histories, North Central Florida

Academic Awards: 2013/ Florida International Center Scholarship Recipient, 2011-13/1st Presbyterian Choral Scholar, 2012-14/ National Society of Collegiate Scholars

  • Organizations: 2014/Reitz Leisure Program at UF
  • Volunteer: Summer 2014 Asociación Sor Maria Romero Volunteer in Granada, Nicaragua, 2005-2010 Junior Volunteer for the UF Natural History Museum, 2012 Volunteer for the Democratic Party


Jennifer Thelusma

“Florida Voting Rights: Voter Suppression Done Differently”
While many regard the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as the strong arm of the Fifteenth Amendment because the statute effectively eliminated poll taxes, literacy test, voter purges, and other tactics used in the south to prevent minorities from voting, there has yet to be an overcoming. Suffrage continues to be challenged by lawmakers, particularly in the state of Florida, through efforts that disproportionately affect African American and language minority voters. In my work, I examine how minorities in Florida have shaped voting laws and how attacks on suffrage affect minority turnout and the question of citizenship. In exploring these concepts, primarily through oral histories, court cases, and congressional testimony, I hope to illuminate the detrimental consequences of suffrage restrictions. These obstacles to voting rights reduce civic engagement in a republic that cannot operate without citizen participation.

Majors: Political Science, History

“Following my involvement in the 2012 Presidential Campaign, I saw the importance of restrictions on voting in Florida firsthand. This encouraged me to become involved in understanding why those changes were being made and how I can stem the flow of the gradual but direct assault on our voting rights as a constituency.”

Research Interests: Voting rights, civil rights

Academic Awards: University Scholars Program (2014), Keri Heiken Scholarship (2012), Hallandale-Aventura Rotary Club Scholar (2012-current), CLAS Dean’s List Spring 2014

  • Organizations: University of Florida College Democrats, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
  • Volunteer: Westwood Middle School ESL/ESOL Program, Charlie Crist Gubernatorial Campaign, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

2013-2014 Scholars

For the 2013-2014 academic year, Dr. Ortiz advised two SPOHP students: seniors Génesis Lara and Joanna Joseph. Each student presented at the 15th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 27, 2014 in the J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. In April, they discussed their completed thesis at a departmental reception, open to family members and the public.

Génesis and Joanna are alumni of SPOHP’s Mississippi Freedom Project research trip. Génesis was the founding coordinator of the Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project, and recently led the Tucson Ethnic Studies research trip in Spring 2015. She was the Executive Director for the 2013 Hispanic Heritage Month, the largest student-run celebration of Hispanic-Latino Culture in the nation, and was inducted into the Hispanic-Latino Hall of Fame at the University of Florida in Spring 2014. She currently studies at UC Davis in their History Ph.D. program. Joanna currently teaches in Broward County Public Schools.

Génesis Lara

“The Forgotten Revolution: Memory, Politics and the Anti-Colonial Struggle in the Dominican Republic, 1961-1966”
Co-Mentors: Dr. Lillian Guerra, Dr. Paul Ortiz
My research project focuses on the revolutionary period in the Dominican Republic (1961-1966). My thesis will shed light on the importance of this revolution to Latin America and global Cold War politics. As the United States feared that the Dominican Republic would become “the next Cuba”, the country struggled to shape its future after the 31 year dictatorship of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. My research will explore the international support this revolution had and the different political actors who sacrificed their lives to create a constitutional democratic government in the Dominican Republic. Much of my research focuses on Dominican political theorist Juan Bosch and his influence in the revolution of Dominican Republic. This thesis is a tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives seeking freedom in the Dominican Republic.

Major: History, Minor: Latin American Studies

“As a history major there are few things that are more gratifying that conducting your own research. As a historian of Latina/o & Caribbean history, I gain a sense of identity and purpose that I would not have otherwise gathered. This came from learning the stories of my people. It is such an empowering experience. However there were still so many unanswered questions and conducting research is the only way to shed light on these questions. I conduct research to answer questions to help give back to my community. In my community this is the kind of knowledge that transforms and empowers. Lastly, but certainly not least I love history and everything it entails.”

Research Interests: Caribbean history, Latino/a history, African diaspora studies

Academic Awards: UF University Scholars Program, Ann Reagan Undergraduate Research Award

  • Organizations: Hispanic Heritage Month, Dominican Student Organization


Joanna Joseph

“The Legacy of Judaism in Haiti”
My project will describe the waves of Judaic diaspora in Haiti from colonial times to present.

Major: History

“I became interested in research during my history practicum course. Since then, I’ve gotten the opportunity to participate in research and truly enjoyed doing it.”

Research Interests: American South, Caribbean history, Judaism

  • Organizations: Nu Alpha Lambda CSO, Inc., Phi Alpha Theta
  • Volunteer: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

2011-2012 Scholar

For the 2011-2012 academic year, Dr. Ortiz advised senior Sarah Blanc. Sarah presented at the student presented at the 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on March 28, 2012 in the J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. In April, she discussed her completed thesis at a departmental reception, open to family members and the public.

Sarah coordinated the Mississippi Freedom Project and was a senior research staff member at SPOHP. She organized the annual MFP research trip for three years, and served as the staff coordinator for the project’s award-winning 2013 – 2014 mini-grant with George A. Smathers Libraries. For the 2014 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, Sarah edited the oral history volume, “I Never Will Forget” (PDF) for distribution at schools and reunion celebrations in Mississippi. She also managed fundraising and grant initiatives, focusing on public programs, social media and academic outreach at SPOHP. Sarah currently works at Santa Fe College as the Coordinator of the Civic Engagement and Service Office.

Sarah Blanc

“Showcase of the Disinherited: Planning the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968”

My research compares how different civil rights groups addressed rural poverty in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement, and the consequences of these responses to community development. My paper will survey legislation since the New Deal and how it impacted poverty in the United States, culminating in the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) of 1968. Originally proposed by Marian Wright Edelman and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., no single anti-poverty effort before or since has reached the level of ambition found in the PPC. Through oral history interviews, I will highlight the individuals that found a voice in the PPC, who stand as proof of this comprehensive anti-poverty effort that fell apart in the midst of political chaos in 1968. I will also address the outside pressures that caused the PPC to collapse, as well as what other civil rights groups did to insulate themselves from such pressures. This final phase of Martin Luther King’s legacy crossed racial and geographic boundaries, and equipped people with the resources to become the leaders and advocates of their own communities for years to come. Indeed, the continuing social activism of individuals recently interviewed by the UF Oral History Program demonstrates that an intricate web of community organizers trained in the 1960s still exists in the Mississippi Delta and other parts of the country. It is important to revisit and understand the Poor Peoples’ Campaign to recognize the efforts of its countless foot soldiers, to separate its shortcomings from its triumphs, and to use these lessons to reexamine the issue of contemporary rural poverty and work toward a permanent solution.

Major: History

“My thesis was inspired by a 4-year collection of interviews from the Mississippi Delta conducted by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program where I work. It is important to conduct interviews face-to-face, and I applied to the Scholars program to receive the support I needed to make the return trip to Mississippi. My primary goal in writing my thesis is to show others how legislation throughout our recent history still impacts economic circumstances for people today.”

Research Interests: Rural poverty, labor Issues, race, U.S. civil rights movement

Academic and Other Awards: University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012), Florida Bright Futures (2008-2012), J.M. Rubin Foundation (2008-2012), Daniel Koleos Undergraduate Research Award (2011)

  • Organizations: Red Cross Gators, Phi Alpha Theta, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
  • Volunteer: Fire Safety Foundation

For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.

Connecting with local community partners in the American South is crucial to the Native American History Project’s mission. Since 2008, SPOHP has partnered with a variety of local church and political organizations to advance oral history collection of African American history with funding by the UF Office of the Provost, building from Joel Buchanan’s pioneering work in the Fifth Avenue Blacks Collection.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Atmore, Alabama

Doris Duke Foundation

doris dukeWith financial assistance from the Doris Duke Foundation, in 1967 UF Oral History director Samuel Proctor urged locally connected historians, anthropologists, and tribal members–trusted members of the community–to conduct interviews in place of a University of Florida researcher. As might be expected, the style, content and questions varied widely, and informants ranged from a witness to the Indian Wars of the 1890s to a Mississippian teenage minister preaching in the 1970s.

Over 900 reels and cassette tapes were shipped to Gainesville, one by one, to be transcribed and edited by UF students and staff. Today, the research staff at SPOHP and UF Libraries work to digitize recordings, develop searchable transcripts, and most importantly, secure deeds of gift from interviewees to ensure responsible use. With over nine hundred interviews, SPOHP’s Native American History Project is its nonpareil.

For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.

Field researchers with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program communicate in a variety of arenas, including writing theses and dissertations, presenting at national conferences, and working with community organizations on emerging research.

October 2018 Oral History Association Conference in Montreal, Canada

OHA: In October 2018, several current and past SPOHPers traveled to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to present at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Oral History Association. The presentations highlighted several SPOHP collections, including the Women’s March on Washington Archive, Florida Queer History Project, and a Black and Latinx History of the Gator Nation. Current SPOHP faculty and staff, as well as SPOHP alumni presenters included: Robert Baez, Juliette Barbera, Patrick Daglaris, Juanita Duque, Holland Hall, Johanna Mellis, Aliya Miranda, Ryan Morini, Paul Ortiz, Raja Rahim, and Elisabeth Rios-Brooks.

8th National Civil Rights Conference, Meridian and Philadelphia, MS, June 2018

SPOHP Undergraduate Research Coordinator Oliver Tesluma, as well as SPOHP alums Asst. Professor Jessica Taylor of Virginia Tech and George Washington University doctoral student Candice Ellis, presented papers at the 8th National Civil Rights Conference, which took place June 17-20, 2018 in Meridian and Philadelphia, MS. This year’s conference theme was “Lets Rise, Advocate, Educate and Cooperate.”

Oral History Association 49th Annual Conference, Tampa, Florida, October 2015

Students and staff from Samuel Proctor Oral History Program presented at the upcoming Oral History Association conference in Tampa, Florida, where Dr. Ortíz served as the OHA President.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, the afternoon roundtable “Veterans of WWII Tell Their Stories,” featured SPOHP’s Veterans History Project, an ongoing collection in partnership with the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, with project coordinators Ann Smith, Don Obrist, and Deborah Hendrix. Also that afternoon, Jana Ronan, the Chair of George A. Smathers’ Library West and Principal Investigator of a 2013-2014 mini-grant between the Library and SPOHP for the Mississippi Freedom Project, presented results of the collection during the panel, “Documenting the Black Freedom Struggle, Then and Now.”

During the evening on Thursday, the UF College of the Arts’ School of Theatre and Dance and SPOHP hosted an encore performance of “Gator Tales” at the TECO Hall at the Tampa Bay History Center. “Gator Tales,” a dramatic oral history performance devised and directed by Kevin Marshall, drew from SPOHP’s Alachua County African American History Project to tell the stories of the first students to integrate the university. The performance was made possible by the Florida Humanities Council, and was free and open to the public.

On Friday, Oct. 16, SPOHP alumni Dr. Erin Conlin presented on the OHA Education Committee’s morning panel, “Beyond the Interview,” which discussed methods of challenging secondary, community
college and university students to move beyond the interview. Dr. Conlin is an assistant professor of history at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Poarch Creek Project coordinator Diana Dombrowski presented on the “Teaching and Connecting Through Native American History” panel.

Awards presented by the OHA recognize outstanding achievement in oral history collection and education, and SPOHP’s Mississippi Freedom Project, a growing archive of interviews with civil rights movement veterans and notable residents of the Mississippi Delta, was be honored this year with the Elizabeth B. Mason Small Project Award during the meeting showcase on Saturday, Oct. 17. Coordinator Sarah Blanc and project staff Diana Dombrowski accepted the award.

Also on Saturday, Elaine Sponholtz, a graduate student associated with SPOHP, presented her oral history research with environmental activist Margaret Ross Tolbert, in contribution to the “Media of Resistance: Narrating Social Change in Photography, Paintings, and Music” panel. SPOHP alumnae Candice Ellis (George Washington University) and Sarah McNamara (UNC-Chapel Hill) presented on their doctoral research on the roundtable, “Re-thinking Florida’s Political Past: Oral History, Social Change, and Social Justice.”

SPOHP also sponsored the Saturday plenary session, “Documenting Ferguson: Oral History, Virtual Technologies and the Making of a Movement,” with Makiba Foster of the Documenting Ferguson project at Washington University, and Professor Donna Murch of Rutgers University, author of Living for the City, and SPOHP alumni and Dream Defender Nailah Summers. The session will explore issues of historical recovery posed by the mass protests against state-sanctioned violence after the shooting of Michael Brown last August.

On Sunday, Oct. 18, graduate coordinators of SPOHP’s Alachua County African American History Project, Dr. Ryan Morini, Randi Gill-Sadler, Justin Dunnavant, and Anthony Donaldson, presented on the roundtable, “#NoLaughingMatter: Disrupting Racial Oppression in the New South.” The project has amassed a collection of over 400 interviews with Blacks in Florida and the greater South, and the panel discussed Jim Crow oppression, segregation, and the struggle for social change.

Also on Sunday, project coordinators across SPOHP presented at the “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” including Diana Dombrowski with the Poarch Creek Project, Jessica Taylor with the Appalachian Social Change Project, Sarah Blanc with Mississippi Freedom Project, and Patrick Daglaris, with the Virginia Tidewater Main Street Project. The panel highlighted recent fieldwork initiatives and discussed resulting student work, examining academic legacies of earlier oral history work and solidifying contemporary networks for advancing scholarship.

Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Labor History Teacher Fellowship Institute, Jackson, Mississippi, July 2015

Teaching for Change is organizing teacher fellowship program on Mississippi history with a focus on the civil rights movement and labor for July 2015. Mississippi Freedom Project (MFP) Coordinator Sarah Blanc and staff Diana Dombrowski will present on the collection’s resources and topics, and “I Never Will Forget,” (PDF) the edited of volume of oral history interviews released by SPOHP last year.

The institute is designed to build a sustainable statewide learning community of classroom language arts, social studies, and history teachers in grades 6–12 for teaching hands-on, inquiry-based U.S. history through the lens of race and class in Mississippi history. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is providing funding with guidance from partners including historians, activists, museum staff, and educators.

Latin American Jewish Studies Association 17th Biennial Conference, Miami, Florida, June 2015

The Latin American Jewish Studies Association (LAJSA) XVII International Research Conference, to be held at Florida International University (Biscayne Bay Campus) in Miami, June 21-23, 2015, will bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines and geographical regions whose work focuses on the lives, experiences, cultural production, and representations of Jews in/from Latin America.

LDAP Coordinator Génesis Lara will present with Dr. Rebecca Jefferson of the University of Florida Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica and Paul Losch of the Latin American and Carribean Collection about oral histories from the Jewish community in El Salvador.


2015 Hispanic-Latino Institute, John I. Leonard High School, Palm Beach County, Florida, June 2015

As secondary education in Latino Studies for Palm Beach County Schools, the 2015 Hispanic-Latino Institute will be held at John I. Leonard High School this summer. Discussions will focus on topics including Latino portrayals in the media, legal and educational issues concerning Latino students and parents, bilingual development and parental engagement for Latino students, and more. LDAP Coordinator Génesis Lara will discuss the Latin American Diaspora in the U.S.

Alcohol and Drugs History Society, Bowling Green, Ohio, June 2015

The biennial Alcohol and Drug History Society conference, convening this year at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, showcases research from university faculty, independent scholars, and graduate students.

This year, UF PhD student and SPOHP Graduate Coordinator Kyle Bridge will present his latest project, “(Insert Addiction Here): Twelve-Step Recovery and the Advent of the Addictive Personality.” Kyle’s paper finds that the idea of the “addictive personality,” defined as a supposed condition which afflicts people with a predisposition to addictive behavior from taking drugs to exercise, emerged in addict folklore by the late 1980s due to the rise of innate personality as a causal explanation for human behavior, the proliferation of twelve-step addiction recovery groups, and the gradual creation of an inter-addiction recovery culture featuring a dynamic movement of people and ideas. The project uses several oral histories of addicts, some of which are archived in the SPOHP Alcohol and Drug History Collection.

Oral History Association 48th Annual Conference, Madison, Wisconsin, October 2014

In October 2014, SPOHP students and staff from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program presented at the annual OHA meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, where Dr. Ortíz served as the OHA Vice President.

Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project (LDAP) Coordinator Génesis Lara presented using her thesis work for SPOHP’s panel, “Un-silencing Hispaniola’s Histories: Precedents and Possibilities.” She also presented on a second panel, “From Oral History to Community Action: Latino Youth Building Community and Transforming Social Discourses and Institutions,” on SPOHP’s Nuestras Historias collection, which features interviews with students, alumni and faculty from the University of Florida’s Hispanic-Latino community, and highlights the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.

Diana Dombrowski presented with SPOHP alumni Dr. Erin Conlin and Sarah McNamara on the panel, “Recording Voices and Empowering Communities: Oral History, Community, Engagement, and Social Justice,” discussing oral history research related to social justice organizing. Dombrowski examined three original SPOHP projects supported by students and volunteers to show how oral history projects can shape undergraduates and the communities they interview.

Graduate Coordinator Jessica Taylor and SPOHP alumni Chelsea Carnes presented, “Suffering in Silence: Counteracting Myths of Passivity through Narratives of Resistance,” using interviews with black men and women to discuss the limitations of violence enacted symbolically in white spaces with Graduate Coordinator Matthew Simmons, who utilized oral histories gathered from the farmworker community in Apopka, Florida. Mississippi Freedom Project (MFP) Coordinator Sarah Blanc presented on the panel, “The Civil Rights Act and Freedom Summer at 50: New Evidence, New Interpretations,” highlighting the SPOHP collection and research trip, with scholars from the historical offices of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies’ 63rd Annual Conference, Gainesville, Florida, March 2014

Dr. Paul Ortíz spoke on “Oral Histories and Historical Memories of the Panama Canal Zone,” referencing SPOHP’s Panama Canal Zone oral history collection, at the UF Center for Latin American Studies’ 63rd Annual Conference. The PCM collection features 50+ oral histories with former Zonians. SPOHP developed the collection working in cooperation with the Panama Canal Museum, George A. Smathers Libraries, and UF’s Center for Latin American Studies.

The UF Center for Latin American Studies marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. Highlighting UF’s contributions and connections to Panama, the conference featured more than 30 expert presentations on Panama from diverse perspectives, including paleontology, geology, forest conservation, finance, tourism, politics, Afro-Panamanian heritage, indigenous peoples, and popular culture.

The Institute on Black Life, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, February 2014

In February 2014, Mississippi Freedom Project (MFP) Coordinator Sarah Blanc presented with UF African American Studies Librarian Jana Ronan at the Institute on Black Life’s annual conference in Tampa, Florida, with the poster session, “The Freedom Summer Oral History Digitization Project: Making Hidden Lobby Collections Visible.”

The poster session detailed a collaborative digitization project at the University of Florida that coincided with an important historical anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the national civil rights movement campaign called Freedom Summer. Freedom Summer was a highly publicized campaign which brought approximately 1,000 young college students and other activists from other parts of the USA to the state of Mississippi, to register blacks to vote despite a history of violence and intimidation by authorities. SPOHP holds over 100 recorded interviews with civil rights movement veterans in their archives about this turbulent period of unrest.

The collection includes interviews with such well-known figures as Lawrence Guyot, Director of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964, and Liz Fusco, who served as the Mississippi Statewide Coordinator of Freedom Schools. Other oral histories contain reflections on the interviewees’ work with organizers such as Fannie Lou Hamer, and Stokely Carmichael, as well as organizations such as CORE, SNCC and the SCLC. The project also includes interviews with activist Rosa Parks, concerning the Montgomery Bus boycott of 1955 and other events leading up to 1964.

American Historical Association 128th Annual Conference, Washington, DC, January 2014

Dr. Paul Ortíz presented on the panel, “Public Universities and the Need to Rethink Public History,” with co-panelists from other public universities. He discussed public history initiatives at SPOHP and UF, emphasizing successful strategies to get funding and expand public history programs, including sending students into local communities, emphasizing hard skills, and actively advocating for resources.

The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States. It was established to promote historical studies, the teaching of history, and preservation of and access to historical materials in 1884.

Oral History Association 47th Annual Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 2014

SPOHP students and staff presented on the panel, “Lessons from the Delta: Oral History, Heritage, and Civil Rights” at the 2013 OHA conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The panel was chaired by Dr. Paul Ortíz.

SPOHP Graduate Coordinator Jessica Taylor spoke on “(In)tangible Heritage and the civil rights movement in Mississippi,” and African American History Project (AAHP) Coordinator Justin Dunnavant spoke on “Veterans of SNCC: The Painful Memories of the War for Equality.” Joanna Joseph, a University Scholar, spoke “Experiencing Oral History: Student Reflections from the Delta.” SPOHP received the Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi “Voice of the People” Award at the conference, and MFP research partner Falana McDaniels was awarded the Martha Ross Teaching Award.

Association for the Study of African American Life and History 98th Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, FL

Graduate coordinators from the African American History Project presented at the 98th annual conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Jacksonville, Florida. The panel, entitled “Teach Them How to Sing: Harry T. Moore and Patricia Due, Florida’s Activist Educators” featured presentations from attorney John Due and AAHP graduate coordinators Ryan Morini and Justin Dunnavant. Dr. Paul Ortíz moderated the panel.

Morini presented on oral history methodology, describing the history of AAHP and sharing clips of interviews with former Lincoln High School students and educators to highlight black high school alumni associations and the politics of memory and nostalgia. Dunnavant presented on the significance of educator activists in Florida’s civil rights era, using the life of Harry and Harriette Moore to explore the role activist educators played in desegregating and gathering resources for black schools. Morini earned his Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2014, and Dunnavant is a Ford Foundation Predoctoral fellow and Ph.D candidate studying archaeology. Concluding the panel, attorney and civil rights movement veteran John Due reflected upon the activist legacy of his wife, Patricia Stephens Due, in connection with contemporary organizing strategies.

For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.

The Mississippi Freedom Project media collections include historian and activist panels, a documentary film on the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike, student-produced research discussions, and community organizing workshops from legendary veterans like Lawrence Guyot, Jr., director of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

SPOHP in the Delta: Year 6

  • This student panel of University of Florida researchers gave a presentation at the Civic Media Center in Gainesville, Florida, on December 4, 2013. For six consecutive years, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program has taken a group of students to the Delta region of Mississippi to collect oral histories of Civil Rights veterans, and to study Civil Rights history rich to the region. These returning students highlighted aspects of what each discovered: students Chelsea Carnes, Derick Gomez, and Brittney Hibbert, and graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor. 1:33:25 minutes.

Keep Your Trash (1971)

  • Originally screened in 1971, “Keep Your Trash” is the first documentary film recounting the events of the historic 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers strike and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A young graduate student at the time, Churchill Roberts began working with a group called Memphis Search for Meaning Committee to collect footage and interviews about the strike shortly after Dr. King’s death, and completed the film during his time as a doctoral student at the University of Iowa. In subsequent years, Churchill Roberts became an award-winning film maker and a prominent professor in the College of Journalism at the University of Florida. His films include, Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore” (2001), and “Negroes With Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power” (2006). Professor Roberts agreed to give a copy of Keep Your Trash to the Proctor Program to re-release for public educational use. Thanks to the George A. Smathers Libraries for assistance in the film’s re-release. 26:08 minutes

SPOHP in the Delta: Year 5

  • The Civic Media Center hosted four researchers from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida who presented their impressions of the 2012 trip to the Mississippi Delta on January 15, 2013. Student Joanna Joseph, grad coordinators Jessica Taylor and Justin Dunnavant, and senior research staff member Diana Dombrowski spoke of the impact of what they experienced on the week-long trip. Dr. Paul Ortiz, director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and trip organizer, introduced the speakers and also informed the audience of the deep history of the Delta in Civil Rights history. A five-minute clip by organizer Lawrence Guyot described the empowerment of being engaged in the community. 1:26:53 minutes.

Civil Rights History: A Workshop Discussion with Akinyele Umoja

  • Students from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program are participants in a discussion of Civil Rights history by professor Akinyele Umoja and veteran civil rights activist Margaret Block. The workshop was given in Cleveland, Mississippi on September 20, 2013. 1:45:52 minutes.

An Organizing Workshop with Lawrence Guyot

  • An Organizing Workshop, facilitated by Lawrence Guyot. September 21, 2011, in Cleveland, Mississippi. The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the University of Florida leads an annual research team to the Mississippi Delta to both study civil rights history as well as collect oral histories related to the movement. This workshop was one of the highlights of the 2011 trip, and was instructed by none other than Mr. Lawrence Guyot, activist, organizer, and SNCC veteran. 1:18:16 minutes.

Chaos or Community: Where Do We Go From Here? 2011 Delta State Panel

  • This is the 3rd Annual Civil Rights History Panel hosted by Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Panelists are Rose Turner, Union Organizer, Charles Westmoreland, History Professor at Delta State University, and Lawrence Guyot, Veteran Civil Rights Activist. Moderators Paul Ortiz, History Professor, University of Florida, and Arlene Sanders, Professor at Delta State University. Featuring Poetry by Margaret Block. Sponsors Agora Club, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, Kappa Pi Chapter, Diversity Advisory Committee, and the Sam Block Civil Rights Foundation. September 21, 2011. 1:58:44 minutes.

go back for more Mississippi Freedom Project resources.

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida offers semester-long academic internships, available to graduate and undergraduate students for 3 credit hours, which serve as an introduction to the field of oral history.

Intern duties include learning oral history methodology and field research techniques, including conducting, transcribing, and audit-editing interviews.

In addition to this core structure, internships are tailored to the strengths of our students: are you interested in event planning? Public relations? Audio and film editing? We have the resources and opportunities to help you.

Course Goals

Each semester, SPOHP seeks motivated students to help to reach program goals. The internship is designed to provide students with an introduction to the field of oral history, as well as hands-on experience in the areas of research, interviewing, processing, technology, and educational outreach. Each semester, interns accomplish several main goals:

  • Build foundational knowledge of oral history methodology and research use
  • Work on oral history interview processing
  • Conduct an original oral history interview
  • Develop a podcast for the UFDC and iTunes broadcast
  • Contribute to the class group video project

Upcoming Internship Courses:

Register today for our fall Oral History Internship!
HIS 4944 (Section 14153)
Fall 2020 Oral History Internship
Mondays, 11:45 – 1:40 (periods 5-6)
SPOHP is offering a 3-credit fall internship through the History Department that will focus on the history of the Catholic community in Gainesville and across North-Central Florida. Over the course of the semester, students will give voice to stories of activism and struggle, and help document the many ways that Catholics in Florida have sought to build more equitable communities. The internship provides a comprehensive introduction to the field of oral history through hands on experience in the following areas:
  • Interviewing and fieldwork methods
  • Transcription and interview processing
  • Digital Humanities production
  • Public history and social media promotion
  • Community engagement and experiential learning
For more information, contact Program Director Paul Ortiz at

Past Internship Courses:

Fall 2019 Veterans History Internship


For the Fall Semester of 2019 SPOHP is offering an internship through UF’s History Department (HIS 4944) that will focus on U.S. military veterans and Homefront experiences in different eras, from World War II to currently enlisted personnel. Students enrolled in this internship will apply Ethnic Studies and oral history approaches to veterans history and conduct primary research in the form of publicly-archived interviews. The internship will be led by VHP coordinator Ann Smith and SPOHP Associate Director Ryan Morini.

Fall 2019 African American Studies Internship


For the Fall 2019 Semester, SPOHP will have an additional internship focused on social movements, AFA 4940, sec. 01B4,  which does not require an application, but which students can also contact Dr. Ryan Morini at Pugh Hall 241 if you have any questions, or contact him by email at <>.

Summer C 2019 Truth and Reconciliation Internship

Link to printable PDF of course flyer:

For the Summer C Semester of 2019, SPOHP is offering a fieldwork-centered internship that centers on the truth and reconciliation efforts currently underway in Alachua County. Students will conduct interviews that go into SPOHP’s public archives, and will have opportunities to travel for interviews and community engagement both within and beyond Alachua County. This internship is offered through African American Studies, and meets Tuesdays during periods 2-3 (9:30am – 12:15pm). Please see the flyer for additional details.

Spring 2019

SPOHP’s Spring Semester 2019 internship will focus on Memory and the Black Freedom Struggle in Florida, and will dovetail with our March 21-23 national symposium, From Segregation to Black Lives Matter. Students will work closely with our African American oral history interviews and other archival materials, and help us to conduct and transcribe new interviews to add to those archives and further explore some of the powerful stories they hold.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Ryan Morini, or stop by his office in 247 Pugh Hall. Applications are due December 7, 2018.

Fall 2018

SPOHP’s Fall 2018 internship focuses on the narratives of women, queer folks, and people of color in the DIY Punk scene both in the U.S. and throughout the wider world. It also focuses on why and how people create these spaces for themselves. We will publicly archive oral history interviews to allow people of color, women, and queer punks to describe their experiences in their own words and voices. What kinds of spaces for resistance and social justice can people create when they overtly reject social norms?

  • SPOHP Intern Opportunities:
  • Interviewing and fieldwork methods and theory
  • Transcription and interview processing
  • Podcasting and audio editing
  • Social media and public event promotion
  • Short documentaries and video editing
  • Public and community engagement and theory

For more information, contact Ryan Morini. Please email applications to SPOHP Internship or deliver to SPOHP offices, Pugh Hall 241.

Internship News, Projects, and Collection Development

  • Dr. Ortiz is teaching an intro to oral history course…
    SPOHP Director Dr. Paul Ortiz is teaching a course this spring on oral history! This interdisciplinary seminar is an intensive introduction to the theory and practice of oral history. Students will have access to the resources of the award-winning Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. We will learn the craft of oral history interviewing and digital production. We will study the ...
  • Our Summer B Intro to Oral History Course Will Focus on FL Farmworker History
    Summer B 2018, July 2 – August 10 AMH 3593: Introduction to Oral History Course Overview This course will introduce students to the theories and methods of oral history. Oral history is an important methodological approach to documenting the past which allows historians to engage directly with narrators who share their life experiences touching on any number of ...
  • From Colored to Black: The Stories of North Central Florida
    We will be sharing nine dramatic vignettes created by our students and performed by members of the local theatre community with our performance, “From Colored to Black: The Stories of North Central Florida,” at the Harn Museum of Art‘s Museum Nights this Thursday night! The performance, a partnership with Actors’ Warehouse, Inc., will take place 6:00-7:00PM in ...
  • Tale of Two Houses: A Dialogue on Black and Latinx History at UF
    Event: Tale of Two Houses: A Dialogue on Black and Latinx History at UF Date: Friday, March 30, 2018 Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM Location: Pugh Hall – Ocora Join us for a discussion on the histories of the Institute of Black Culture (IBC) and the Institute of Hispanic/Latino Cultures (La Casita), including their founding and their entwined legacies. ...
  • Trinidad Study Abroad Registration Deadline Extended – March 30
    There is a registration deadline extension for our summer study abroad course in the historic and scenic Trinidad & Tobago. If interested please apply at: International Center (University of Florida International Center UFIC) by Friday, March 30th. Check out the program and course offerings, and join us in Trinidad & Tobago! Read more "Trinidad Study Abroad Registration Deadline ...
  • “Voices of Dreamers” Students fundraising for SOHA Conference in LA
    Since launching the “Voices of Dreamers” project to conduct interviews with undocumented students, our students are now fundraising to share their research at the Southwestern Oral History Conference at Cal State Fullerton this April. Read more "“Voices of Dreamers” Students fundraising for SOHA Conference in LA"
  • “Voices From The March” Students Fundraise to Perform at SOHA Conference After headlining the 2018 UF Social Justice Summit this past January Voices from the March will be traveling to California this April to perform at the Southwest Oral History Association Annual Conference, hosted at California State University, Fullerton! Please help us raise money to assist in covering the travel and lodging costs for our cast. We have been working so ...
  • Applications Open for our Fall 2018 Internship!
    There have always been women, people of color, and queer folks in punk rock, both in the U.S. and throughout the wider world. Punks from countries as varied as Peru, Spain, Indonesia, Russia, and beyond have braved incarceration, religious re-education camps, and even forced disappearances in honoring the lifestyle and artistic expression that they have ...
  • Safe Spaces: Episode 3 – “Miracle On 13th Street”
    In this latest episode of our podcast series Safe Spaces, Anupa Kotipoyna looks back at the creation of the India Cultural and Education Center (ICEC) in Gainesville, Florida. Read more "Safe Spaces: Episode 3 – “Miracle On 13th Street”"
  • Art of Aging
    In the summer of 2017 SPOHP partnered with UF College of Medicine, to develop an oral history segment for the Geriatrics Medicine Clerkship, a required rotation for all 4th year medical students that Dr. Otto directs. SPOHP’s Ryan Thompson took on leadership for its half of the partnership. This marked the beginning of another significant ...

For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.