History Speaks: S P OHP News
Century Tower at UF (photo by Danielle Navarrete)
Visit us online to learn more about
our program and to listen to our
Dear SPOHP Supporter,
This past year has been a time of increasing
activity and visibility for SPOHP. Our staff members
have conducted a wide range of significant oral
history interviews. We have gathered histories
from veterans of the Civil Rights Movement in the
Mississippi Delta, retiring UF service workers, and
key policymakers in Florida's Water Management
districts. We are creating a series of podcasts that
will bring the remarkable diversity and richness
of our histories to newer audiences outside the
University of Florida's venue.
In honor of Veterans Day, SPOHP presented a
program titled "Testimony of War," which featured
the premiere of the program's groundbreaking
documentary titled I Just Wanted to Live! This
film presented the experiences of four American
survivors of the Bataan Death March. It was based
on four oral histories in our outstanding World
War II Collection. We took these gripping interviews
off the archival shelves and reformatted them into
visual history. The movie was followed by a panel
discussion of four area veterans detailing their
experiences in both theaters of war.
Our next public program on March 17 will be
devoted to rethinking history: "Florida Black History:
Where We Stand in the Age of Barack Obama."
In these difficult times, SPOHP thrives due to
the program's special relationships with the UF
Department of History, the Bob Graham Center for
Public Service, and the generous support of public
agencies and private donors. (>
Paul Ortiz, Director
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Staff members of
SPOHP gather outside
Pugh Hall, where the
program is located.
From left to right:
AshaBeth Dave, Paul
Ortiz, Dan Simone, Ann
Smith, Diane Fischler,
Sarah Eiland, Marna
(photo by Deborah Hendrix)
2 of 10 www.history.ufl.edu/oral
Roberta Peacock, Admin. Assistant, was congratulated by SPOHP Director
Paul Ortiz on March 5 after receiving the "Excellence in Action: Division III
Superior Accomplishment Award 2009." (Photo by Lorraine Burton)
; P OHP News
SPOHP for Its Ongoing Focus
on Florida Black History
by Diane Fischler
"Rosewood" is a name that for many in
our state conjures up vivid memories of a dark
episode in Florida's history. The "Rosewood
Massacre" occurred in early January 1923 in
this small black community, nine miles east of
Cedar Key. Enraged over an alleged attack on
a white woman, armed whites-including KKK
members-randomly attacked residents of
Rosewood. The mob scoured the community of
350 in search of one black man, but during the
rampage at least eight blacks were killed.
Fear ran rampant during several nights of
terror as the whites looted and burned homes.
The black residents fled through the swamps,
jumped onboard the Seaboard Air Line Railway,
or hid in the homes of sympathetic whites.
Word of the killings and homes set on fire
spread across the state and soon around the
country. In typical fashion of the times, northern
newspapers focused on the violence and terror,
and southern papers thought justice had been
served in the murderous spree.
This tragic episode has not been forgotten.
The now-empty site of Rosewood, just off State
Road 24 near Sumner, was declared a Florida
The burning aftermath of Rosewood.
(Florida Memory Project, Archives No. RC12408)
(Photo courtesy of Janie Bradley Blake)
Heritage Landmark in 2004. A book entitled Like
Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of
a Town Called Rosewood by Michael D'Orso,
the movie Rosewood (1997), and the Florida
Legislature's Rosewood Compensation Bill have
helped keep the memory of this massacre alive.
Earlier this year, a traveling exhibit added a
new dimension to the memory. "The Beginning
That Never Ends: The Rosewood Traveling
Exhibition" was assembled by the Rosewood
Heritage Foundation for the 75th anniversary of
the massacre. The exhibit ran from Jan. 10 to
Feb. 22 at the Thomas Center in Gainesville-
only 45 miles from the actual site of the 1923
tragedy. The displays included photographs,
quilts, and unusual artifacts regarding the
Rosewood community and the massacre.
At a reception for the Rosewood Heritage
Foundation on Feb. 19, a board member and
one of the exhibit's curators, Sherry Sherrod
DuPree, presented to Dr. Paul Ortiz a framed
photograph of Janie Bradley Blake, Director
of the Foundation. In the photo, Janie Blake
is pointing to a marker honoring the four
white families in Levy County who provided
sanctuary to some Rosewood residents during
the massacre. The presentation was made in
recognition of SPOHP's contribution to Florida
black history. (C
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SPOHP on the Flight Line at the Wings of Dreams Air Show
B-17 "Flying Fortress" bomber(photos by Ira Fischler) By Diane Fischler
The cerulean skies were filled with aerobatic
demonstrations, and the tarmac was packed
SI "with vintage aircraft from World War II. Along
do the flight line were several thousand warbird
lovers, including many veterans and re-enactors.
The Wings of Dreams was presenting the Collins
-Foundation "Wings of Freedom Tour" and "Voices
from World War II." The first stop on their 2009
National Tour was the Keystone Heights Airport,
Inside a World War II Army tent, SPOHP
staff members showcased the program's
World War II Oral History Collection. The colorful
red-white-and-blue SPOHP table included the
program's WW II posters and brochures, sign-up
sheets, DVDs of the program's WW II documentary
I Just Wanted to Live!, and a notebook filled with
praises for the movie and the Oral History Program
itself. A number of World War II, Korea, and
Vietnam veterans signed up for more information
on having their oral histories recorded. Many
veterans and their families voiced the same
comment: "Keep up the good work!"
SPOHP would like to maintain a presence at
air shows in North Central Florida due to the large
attendance by veterans. The country is losing
more than 1,000 WW II vets a day-and with their
passing, losing the chance to capture accounts
of their unique narratives and perspectives. By
2020, most will be gone. SPOHP hopes to continue
recording their oral histories for their families,
Col. Phil Newman, a B-17 pilot, shows SPOHP educators, students, and the general public. To
historian Diane Fischler an Axis Powers map of a fund this collection, donations to the Samuel
conquered U.S. ruled by Japan, Italy, and Germany. Proctor Oral History Program are appreciated. CD
4 of 10 www.history.ufl.edu/oral
www.history.ufl.edu/oral 5 of 10
Clif Cormier, Clair Chaffin,
and Bob Gasche at Iwo
Son February 19. These
Iwo survivors are holding
their respective Third,
Fourth, and Fifth Marine
A@ (Photo by Ira Fischler)
Iwo Jima Veterans Honor SPOHP
By Diane Fischler
February 19, 1945, is a date remembered by thousands of Marines who landed on the remote volcanic
sands of Iwo Jima. More than half a century later, Marine veterans who lived through the horrors of that
month-long battle still have graphic memories of the intense fighting on the island.
On February 19, the "Iwo Trio," one of Gainesville's many veterans' organizations, commemorated the
64th anniversary of the landing. The event was held at a restaurant where Iwo veterans gather every month
to reminisce about their experiences on Iwo Jima and in other battles during the Pacific campaign.
This year the Iwo Trio, consisting of Clif Cormier, Clair C. Chaffin, and Bob Gasche, decided to hold their
February lunch gathering on the actual anniversary. The commemoration turned into a public event to
remember the casualties of war, to explain the reasons for the invasion, and to understand why Iwo Jima
should not be forgotten.
Three colorful posters, prepared by the Oral History Program, provided some context for the
presentations by showing why taking this island-a mere eight-square-mile speck in the Pacific-was so vital
to winning the war. One showed the overall Pacific Theater of Operations, making clear the great extent of
Japanese territorial incursions and tracking the Allied advances from Midway to Okinawa. A larger poster of
6 of 10 www.history.ufl.edu/oral
" P OHP News
the island showed where the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Marine divisions landed. The advancing troops did
not realize that 22,000 Japanese troops were holed up in 17 miles of underground fortifications and were
ready to die to the last man, according to their Bushido Code.
The most famous photo to come out of World War II is reflected in the third poster: the second flag
raising on Mount Suribachi on February 23. Clif Cormier spoke about one of the reasons this poster was
so meaningful to the Marines: The fame that the flag raising brought to the Marines and their role in that
battle saved the Marine Corps from being eliminated as an independent branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal, watching the flag raising from an offshore ship, said, "The raising
of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."
Of the 22,000 Japanese troops defending Iwo Jima, only 216 surrendered or were captured. The
remainder of enemy troops died in combat or committed suicide. Of the 110,000 Marines trying to take
the island, 6,800 were killed and 20,000 were wounded or missing. One of the most famous quotations
of World War II came from Admiral Chester A. Nimitz on March 16, 1945, when Iwo Jima was declared
"secure": "Among the Americans serving on Iwo island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
During the commemoration, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program was presented with a certificate
thanking the program for its continued support of the Iwo Trio organization. SPOHP has these veterans'
oral histories on file, and two of the members participated in the "Testimony of War" panel discussion
last November, offering riveting descriptions of their Iwo Jima experiences. It is an honor for SPOHP to be
affiliated with these veterans. ;>
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History in the Making: SPOHP's News & Events
Jan. 2009: Congratulations to Roberta Peacock on her promotion to SPOHP
Jan. 31: Diane Fischler, Historian, received a Certificate of Appreciation at the
4th Annual Veterans Awards Banquet "in recognition of outstanding service and
support to the Alachua County Veterans Community."
February: SPOHP's proposal for a panel discussion at the annual meeting of
the Oral History Association Conference in mid-October in Louisville, Kentucky,
was accepted. The topic of the panel will be: "How to Produce a Low Budget
Documentary Based on Oral Histories: Giving Life to Death in Time of War." The
overall theme of this year's conference is "doing something with the materials
oral historians collect." SPOHP did just that. See event under Oct. 14-18.
Feb. 5: Paul Ortiz, Director, gave a campus-wide lecture on Black History for
Florida Southern College's Center for Florida History.
Feb. 19: Paul Ortiz, Director, gave a talk titled "The Road to Rosewood" at the
Rosewood Heritage Foundation reception in Gainesville. SPOHP received a
framed photo of the Rosewood Memorial from the Foundation in recognition of
SPOHP's contribution to African American history.
Feb. 20-22: SPOHP had a table setup at the Keystone Heights Wings of Dreams
air show-which included the traveling Wings of Freedom Tour. Staff members
distributed SPOHP and World War II Collection brochures, signed up several
veterans to do oral histories, and-over the din of flying warbirds-answered
questions about what SPOHP has to offer. See story in this issue.
Feb. 23: SPOHP received a Certificate of Appreciation from the "Iwo Trio"
veterans' group for supporting their organization. See story in this issue.
Feb. 25: Jack Davis, Proctor Lecture Series Speaker, gave a talk in Pugh Hall titled
"An Everglades Providence."
Feb. 25: Paul Ortiz, Director, gave a campus-wide lecture titled "Black History in
the Age of Barack Obama" at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
Feb. 25-28: Dan Simone, Oral History Coordinator, attended the American Society
of Environmental Historians in Tallahassee.
Feb. 27-March 1: Sarah Eiland, Outreach Coordinator, attended a table display
consisting of SPOHP's Indian and World War II projects at the Thundering Spirit
Family Pow Wow, Honoring All Warriors in Mount Dora.
March 5: Roberta Peacock, Administrative Assistant, received the Division III
Superior Accomplishment Award. Congratulations!
March 6: Paul Ortiz, Director, gave a talk titled "Continuing Samuel Proctor's
Legacy of Doing Oral History" to the Institute of Lifelong Learning at Oak
Hammock at the University of Florida.
March 17: SPOHP public event: "Florida Black History: Where We Stand in the
Age of Barack Obama." See full-page announcement in this issue.
March 20-23: Roberta Peacock, Administrative Assistant, will attend meetings at
the Seminole Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. The museum is located on the Seminole
Tribe's Big Cypress Reservation in the Florida Everglades.
March 25: Paul Ortiz, Director, will lecture about SPOHP and oral history
to Connie Lester's "Introduction to Public History" graduate seminar at the
University of Central Florida in Orlando.
March 26-27: Sarah Eiland, Outreach Coordinator, will attend the Florida
Storytelling Camp in Lake Weir.
March 28: Paul Ortiz, Director, will chair a panel titled "Who Were the Black
Progressives?" at the annual conference of the Organization of American
Historians in Seattle.
April 2-4: Paul Ortiz, Director, will participate on panel titled "Civil Rights are
Labor Rights" at the Long Civil Rights Movement Conference, Southern Oral
History Project, at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
April 6-8: Roberta Peacock, Administrative Assistant, will meet with the curator
of history at the Andersonville National Historic Site and National POW Museum
in Andersonville, Georgia.
April 9: Paul Ortiz, Director, will give a talk titled "African American and Latino
Histories" to the UF Latin American Studies Program.
April 12: Paul Ortiz, Director, will give a lecture titled "Racism in America: Facing
History and Ourselves" at the 8th Annual Ericksen Memorial Lecture at the
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Gainesville.
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P OHP News
History in the Making: SPOHP's News & Events
April 16-18: Paul Ortiz, Director, will present a paper titled "African American
Politics and Memory" at the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender
at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
May 15-16: SPOHP will assist members of the community in conducting their
own oral histories at Relay for Life in Hawthorne.
May 29: Paul Ortiz, Director, will chair and participate on a panel titled
"Mentors at the Crossroads: Studs Turkel, Herbert Gutman, Staunton Lynd,
and Archie Green," at the Labor and Working Class Association and the Fund for
Labor and Working Class History Association and the Fund for Labor, Culture and
History in Chicago.
Sept. 18: SPOHP hopes to become part of National POW-MIA Day events held
at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center by discussing the SPOHP-produced
documentary titled I Just Wanted to Live! about POWs held by the Japanese.
Oct. 14-18: SPOHP will participate in the annual meeting of the Oral History
Association Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. The panel will consist of SPOHP
Director Emeritus Julian Pleasants (moderator) and staff members Diane Fischler,
Deborah Hendrix, Roberta Peacock, and Dan Simone.
The following DVDs are archived at SPOHP
and can be purchased for $20 each. Contact
Roberta Peacock at (352) 392-7168. Programs
were presented in 2008 and early 2009. All
programs were recorded and finalized by SPOHP
videographer Deborah Hendrix.
Building on Sam Proctor's Legacy: Race, Politics, and Freedom in Florida
(speaker: Paul Ortiz, 66 min.)
Growth, Growth Management and Sustainability in a Distressed Economy
(speaker: Bob Graham, 74 min.)
Ponce de Leon & the Discovery of Florida (speaker: Michael Gannon, 55 min.)
The Path to the White House (speakers: Terry McAuliffe, Frank Fahrenkopf,
moderated by Michael Putney, 84 min.)
Florida and the Next President (speakers: Adam Putnam, Allen Boyd,
moderated by Brendan McLaughlin, 75 min.)
The Averaged American (speaker: Sarah Igo, 68 min.)
The Long Horse Race: A View from the National Annenberg Election Survey
(speaker: Richard Johnston, 100 min.)
The History of the State University System (speaker: Robin Gibson, 62 min.)
Who We Are, How We Began: The History of the Samuel Proctor Oral History
Program (speakers: Samuel Proctor, Paul Ortiz, Julian Pleasants, Mark
Greenberg, 28 min.)
Testimony of War: Panel Discussion (speakers: Clif Cormier, Victor Cote, Frank
Towers, Clair Chaffin, moderated by Julian Pleasants, 55 min.)
I Just Wanted to Live! (ex-POWs: Victor Cote, Conrad Alberty, John
Bumgarner, Herbert Pepper, 55 min. & 35 min.)
Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy 1943, 1944 (speaker: Rick Atkinson,
Water and Land Management in Florida: Old Challenges in the New Economy
(speaker: Nathaniel Reed, 69 min.)
Trip to Iran (speakers: Bernie and Chris Machen, 57 min.)
Celebration of the Firsts: 50 Years of Integration at the University of Florida
(Dinner, 140 min.)
Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American
Environmental Century (speaker: Jack Davis)
Rosewood Traveling Exhibit Presentations (speaker: Sherry DuPree)
In the Age of Barack Obama (speaker: Paul Ortiz)
Transition to Power: Diplomacy in Transition (speakers: Ray Mabus, Douglas
McElhaney, Frank McNeil)
Please note that some of these DVDs are still in production, hence no
time has been indicated)
The SPOHP-produced documentary titled I Just Wanted to Live! is now in the
educational resource archives of the National World War II Museum in New
Orleans, the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas,
and the National POW Museum in Andersonville, Georgia. Within the next
few months the Library of Congress Veterans History Project will also have
the documentary and the ex-POWs' four oral histories in its archives. SPOHP
continues to receive praises from veterans, family members, and the ex-
POWs themselves featured in the film. Herbert Pepper will turn 90 in March;
Victor Cote will turn 89 in April; and Conrad Alberty will turn 85 in August.
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History Speaks: S P OHP News
The History of Florida Is a History of Water
By Daniel Simone
Water has played an enormous
role in the course of human history,
and in the 21st century water will be
Sthe new "oil." The Water Resources
Act of 1972 established five separate
entities known as water management
districts. Since 2003, several SPOHP
researchers have conducted nearly
60 oral histories with governing
board members, planners, engineers,
politicians, and other figures
associated with the history of water
management in Florida.
St. Johns River Water Management
Source: http://www.dep.state.fl. us/water/waterpolicy/districts. htm
District officers would like to further
the district project, which includes conducting interviews on the histories of all five divisions: Northwest
Florida, Suwannee River, South Florida, Southwest Florida, and St. Johns River. SPOHP is excited to
continue working with the districts in the years ahead and would like to produce a public program and an
accompanying documentary DVD, hopefully in 2010, related to the history of water management in Florida.
10 of 10 www.history.ufl.edu/oral