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Humanities series debuts Jan. 13

SAINT AUGUSTINE –  Don’t miss Florida Humanities Speaker Series, featuring fascinating programs about Florida’s history, culture, and people. Presented by the Florida Humanities Council in partnership with the Lightner Museum, this series will showcase five engaging talks, starting in January and ending in May 2019.

The series will touch on a wide range of topics beginning with a historic look at Florida’s participation in the Civil War.  February’s lecture looks at how World War II dynamically enhanced Florida’s national presence. In March, listeners gain a better understanding of books that truly define Florida.  April’s talk reviews 50 of Florida’s significant Lighthouses and in May, the series concludes with a discussion on the history of transportation in Florida. Here are the details:

  • Jan. 13, 2p.m.: Eliot Kleinberg: “Florida in the Civil War? Believe it!” Join The Palm Beach Post reporter Eliot Kleinberg as he discusses how Florida might be the most “northern” southern state now. Florida was the third to secede in the Civil War, and played a much more strategic role than most history books let on. Kleinberg has written over ten books focusing on Florida. His tenth book, Peace River, is a historical novel based at the end of the Civil War.  Eliot Kleinberg’s presentation will bring a lively discussion about why the war is the reason Florida has 21 million people today.  This presentation will be held in the City of St. Augustine’s Alcazar Room, in the Lightner Courtyard.
  • Feb. 21, 5:30 p.m.: Dr. Gary Mormino: “Florida and World War II.” Lightner Museum is pleased to host Dr. Gary Mormino, Professor of History Emeritus at USF St. Petersburg as he explores how WWII transposed Florida from the smallest state in the South to the Sunbelt megastate it is today.  The war galvanized Floridians, resulting in the influx of two million servicemen. WWII also ignited a modern civil rights movement, new roles for women, and the dawn of the Florida Dream. This lecture will also focus on St. Augustine and the Coast Guard’s role in WWII. Dr. Mormino has written several books including Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida, as well appearing in several national publications.
  • March 13, 5:30 p.m.: Mr. Jeff Klinkenberg: “Books That Every Floridian Should Have on the Shelf.” Book lovers unite as we welcome former Tampa Bay Times reporter, Jeff Klinkenberg to get his take on what every bookcase must have.  While many authors have called Florida home, some truly define our state’s literary heritage. Jeff Klinkenberg will discuss some of his favorite “Florida books” working his way up from William Bartram in 1791 to Jack E. Davis in 2017 with a few favorite authors – Zora Neale Hurston and Patrick Smith – in between.  Whether you’re a 5th generation Floridian or a transplant from another location, there’s something for everyone.
  • April 3, 5:30 p.m.:   Brendan Burke: “Lighthouses of the Sunshine State.” The Lightner Museum is pleased to host Mr. Burke, from the St. Augustine Lighthouse, as he shares his knowledge of the over 50  lighthouses that have stood as silent sentinel along Florida’s 1,300 miles of coast. The Sunshine State’s lighthouses have been a source of curiosity, folklore, and refuge. From shifting sandbars to reef-strewn shallows, lighthouses have endured hurricanes, earthquakes, even military attack.  Taking many shapes and forms, Florida’s lighthouses are descendants of one of the earliest known aid-to-navigation systems in north America. From St. Augustine’s 16th century signal towers to an inland lighthouse in Lake George, Florida has a rich tradition of light stations. This presentation follows the history of Florida’s lighthouses and includes select stories from our legacy of lighting the coast.
  • May 15, 5:30 p.m.:  Dr. Steve Noll: “Florida Transportation History: Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (& Steamboats too!)”. To finish our esteemed speaker’s series, the Lightner Museum is pleased to welcome Dr. Noll from the University of Florida. This presentation gives audience members an opportunity to more fully understand how transportation played a pivotal part in the development of Florida.  Examining the changing transportation networks in the state, this presentation shows how Florida moved from a backwoods frontier to one of the most important states in the union. Tying transportation history to social history, this presentation moves from Bellamy Road Road of the 1820s to the modern transportation issues facing the Florida in the 21st century.

Unless noted, the series will be hosted in the Lightner Museum and the Alcazar Hotel Historic Pool at 75 King Street, St. Augustine.  Guests may enter through the Granada Street entrance to the Cafe Alcazar. While reservations are required, admission to each lecture is free, with donations accepted for beverages. Reservations can be made online at or by calling 904-824-2874.

The Florida Humanities Council partners with community organizations around the state. Support for the Speaker Series is provided by the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.  Lightner Museum programs are also supported by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and St. Augustine Historic Inns.

The Lightner Museum is handicap accessible. Parking is free after 5 p.m. and is available behind the museum.  For more information, contact the Lightner Museum at 904-824-2874.


About PluggedInto (1620 Articles)
PluggedInto is an ePublication covering news, history, local events and more in the Putnam/Flagler/St. Johns tricounty area.

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