Florida Humanities Speaker Series

The Volusia County Public Library has received a $5,000 grant from the Florida Humanities Council to host a Florida Humanities Speaker Series titled The Impact and Legacy of Indomitable Women Who Shaped our Sunshine State. This project will bring more than 40 high-quality humanities programs to Volusia County from October through December 2018 and March through May 2019. These programs will explore our state's rich heritage, promote civic engagement, and bring the latest academic research to our community.

Volusia County Council Supports the Humanities

This program is sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council with funds from
the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

Junior Red Cross chapter Junior Red Cross chapter members from Monticello, 1942 or 1943. Photo from Floridamemory.com

Florida at War: A Living History Presentation

1 p.m. November 16, 2018
DeLand Regional Library
130 E. Howry Ave., DeLand
386-822-6430

Betty Jean Steinshouer will explore Florida at war in character and costume as two of the state's most prominent historical figures: Harriet Beecher Stowe and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Stowe is best known for her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which helped to bring about an end to slavery in America. Steinshouer will share a wealth of information about the Civil War and its impact on Stowe's adopted home in Florida.

Then she will do a quick costume change and bring to light Marjory Kinnan Rawlings and her lonely vigil during World War II, when her husband volunteered to drive an ambulance for the American Field Service. Though her friendship with Martha Gellhorn (the third Mrs. Ernest Hemingway, who will be featured in the film, "No Job for a Woman"), Rawlings also met the First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, and gave her opinion about the racial inequality in the U.S. military, while we were "fighting the Nazis with a Jim Crow Army," as Rawlings put it.


Betty Jean Steinshouer

Betty Jean Steinshouer

Betty Jean Steinshouer has been doing public programs and teacher seminars for the Florida Humanities Council since 1989 and has toured 43 states for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the NEA Big Read program.

She is a Fellow in Florida Studies at the University of South Florida and the author of THE FLORIDA JOURNEYS: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Sarah Orne Jewett, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Zora Neale Hurston, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Rose Wilder Lane, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Rachel Carson (Publication date: March 7, 2019)

As she winds down nearly 30 years on the road with the Chautauqua Circuit, her aim is to leave audio and written records of each of her characters.


Deanie Parish Deanie Parish, one of Florida's first female aviators, in front of P-47. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Florida's Female Pioneers

2 p.m. December 6, 2018
Port Orange Regional Library
1005 City Center Circle, Port Orange
386-322-5152

Dr. Peggy Macdonald will examine some of the women who have shaped the Sunshine State.

Dr. Esther HID Hawks (1833 - 1906), a doctor during the Civil War, visited Florida and ran the first racially integrated school in Florida during Reconstruction. She wrote lyrical descriptions of the St. Johns River and documented the aftermath of the Civil War in Florida.

Harriet Beecher Stowe is credited with kick-starting Florida's tourism industry, with her 1873 book, "Palmetto Leaves."

May Mann Jennings (1872 - 1963), married to Florida Governor William Sherman Jennings, was a suffragist and conservationist who was known as the 'Mother of Florida Forestry* for her part in securing the legislative act that created the Florida State Board of Forestry. She was one of Florida's most influential women and helped establish Royal Palm State Park, which later became the nucleus of Everglades National Park.


Dr. Peggy Macdonald

Dr. Peggy Macdonald

Dr. Peggy Macdonald is the executive director of the Matheson History Museum, which preserves and interprets the history of Gainesville, Alachua County and surrounding regions.

She has taught history at Stetson University, Florida Polytechnic University, Indian River Slate College and the University of Florida.

Her recent book, "Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida's Environment," won honorable mention in Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award contest in Women's Studies.

The native Floridian writes articles on local history for Gainesville Magazine, Our Town Magazine and Senior Times Magazine.

Dr. Macdonald attended Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Florida.




Charity Stewart Former slave Charity Stewart, Jefferson County, 1937. Source: Floridamemory.com

Race and Change: Women's Stories

2 p.m. March 4, 2019
Ormond Beach Regional Library
30 S. Beach St., Ormond Beach
386-676-4191

Dr. Kitty Oliver looks at how women deal with race, ethnicity and gender in their everyday lives in a program that builds bridges in organizations and communities and inspires youth. This enlightening presentation uses video, radio programs, literary readings and oral histories on race relations featuring the unique perspectives of native-born and immigrant women who are currently living in Florida.

Dr. Oliver's Race and Change initiative is a multimedia project that promotes a 21st century discussion of race and ethnic relations and differences through the innovative use of archival oral history interviews, video and web radio programs, and performance presentations. Photo credit: Miami Herald.


Dr. Kitty Oliver

Dr. Kitty Oliver

Dr. Kitty Oliver is a veteran South Florida journalist, author, oral historian and former university professor with a Ph.D. focusing on race and ethnic communication. She's also a professional jazz singer.

The native Floridian has been featured on CNN's "Black in America" series for her race relations work.

She's also president of Kitty 0. Enterprises, a cultural diversity consulting firm based in Fort Lauderdale, and director of the Race and Change Initiative at Florida Atlantic University.

Dr. Oliver specializes in books, television and radio documentaries, along with literary performances that explore race and ethnic issues in innovative ways.





Marjory Stoneman Douglass Photo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas from Univisity of Miami Libraries Digital Collection

Marjory Stoneman Douglas: A Life with the Everglades

2 p.m. April 18, 2019
Deltona Regional Library
2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona
386-789-7207

University of Florida historian Dr. Jack Davis draws on his award-winning biography, "An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century," to discuss the life and legacy of writer, feminist and environmentalist Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890 - 1998), who will always be remembered as the woman who saved the Everglades.

As a young woman, Douglas was outspoken and politically conscious of the women's suffrage and civil rights movements. She wrote for the Miami Herald and later became a freelance writer, producing more than too short stories that were published in popular magazines.

Douglas defended the Everglades against efforts to drain and develop the wetlands. Her most influential work was "The Everglades: River of Grass," which changed the popular conception of the Everglades from a worthless swamp to a vast, flowing river. She worked tirelessly for Everglades restoration until her death at age 108.


Dr. Jack Davis

Dr. Jack Davis

Dr. Jack Davis is a professor of environmental history and sustainable studies at the University of Florida. He is the author or editor of several books on Florida and is a frequent contributor to Forum.

He received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book "The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea," an important environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico.

His book "An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century," won the gold medal in nonfiction from the Florida Book Awards.

He received a Ph.D. in 1994 from Brandeis University. Before joining the University of Florida faculty, he taught at the University Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Jordan and Eckerd College.










Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Photo courtesy of Bethune-Cookman University

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Comes to Life

2 p.m. May 13, 2019
Daytona Beach Regional Library
105 E. Magnolia Ave., Daytona Beach
386-257-6036

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 - 1955) was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activist best known for founding Bethune-Cookman University.

She served as a New Deal government official in one of the 20 highest-level offices held by women in the administration, was founder of FDA's Black Cabinet, served as president of the National Association of Colored Women, and founded and served as president of the National Council of Negro Women.

In costume and in character, Dr. Ersula Knox-Odom portrays Dr. Bethune in 1954 and shares fascinating stories of her extraordinary contribution to democracy. After Dr. Bethune "leaves," Knox Odom will answer questions regarding her research.


Ersula Knox-Odom

Ersula Knox-Odom

Ersula Knox-Odom is an author and legacy writer with more than too articles to her credit. She is also a motivational speaker, prize-winning life lyricist, workshop leader, and Florida Humanities Council Viva La Florida performer as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

Her research and legacy writing have illuminated the lives of hundreds of historically important persons for The Weekly Challenger, The Power Broker Magazine, the Florida Sentinel Bulletin, the James H. Hammond Story, and the Doris Ross Reddick Story.

The Tampa Bay area resident graduated from Eckerd College and wrote "At Sula's Feet," the recollections of a country girl whose life was shaped and enriched by the wit, wisdom and love of her grandmother.










Learning and Exploration Activities

Children and adults can take part in additional activities that focus on noteworthy women in Florida's history. Reservations are not required for these free programs.

Swamp Doctor of Florida

New Smyrna Beach Regional Library
October 2018

MOVIE: "Wind Across the Everglades": 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15. A bird warden battles a group of bird poachers in the turn-of-the-century Everglades. Burl Ives and Christopher Plummer star in this 1958 film. Not rated, 93 minutes.

BOOK DISCUSSION: "A Woman Doctor's Civil War: Esther Hill Hawks' Diary": 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. While most women of the 1860s stayed at home, Dr. Esther Hill Hawks went south to minister to black Union troops and newly freed slaves as a teacher and doctor. She kept a diary and described the South she saw - conquered but still proud. Come prepared to discuss her eye-opening diary.

PRESCHOOLERS: The young ones will have fun with "swamp things."

  • Storytime: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. Ages 2-5.
  • Baby Time: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17. Birth to age 2.
  • Listen Up: 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Ages 2-5.
  • Shake it Up: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Ages 2-5.

HOMESCHOOLERS: 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. Students ages 6-16 will learn about Florida swamps, experience a swamp sensory bin, and make swampy green slime. Reservations are required; call 386-424-2910.

LEGO CHALLENGE: 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. Children in grades K-6 can use the library's Lego bricks to create projects relating to swamps.

NECKLACE CRAFT: 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Students in grades 4-12 will create a necklace with glass beads and cord in the Seminole tradition.


Florida at War

DeLand Regional Library
November 2018

WITNESS TO HISTORY: 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. Dan Friend, military curator for the DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum, will share fascinating facts about the U.S. Army tugboats built in DeLand and the story of Lake Beresford Boatworks' contribution to history from Normandy to Vietnam.

VETERANS SERVICES: 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5. Veterans and their spouses can learn about veterans benefits and services in this informative presentation by Volusia County Veterans Services.

DOCUMENTARY: 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19. "No Job For a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII" focuses on the lives and work of wire service reporter Ruth Cowan, magazine reporter Martha Gellhorn and war photographer Dickey Chapelle. Stay afterward for a brief discussion. Not rated, 61 minutes.

TEENS WILD WEDNESDAY: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14. Did you know rock candy was part of a Civil War soldier's rations? Tweens and teens will take it back to the 1800s and make the then-popular (and still delicious) rock candy.

LITTLE READERS STORYTIME: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15. Toddlers and preschoolers will listen to books about hero moms and how much kids are loved during times of deployment. Toddler activities and kindergarten preparedness centers will follow storytime.


Florida's Female Pioneers

Port Orange Regional Library
December 2018

LIVING HISTORY PRESENTATION: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. Actress Dianne Jacoby will portray Martha Jane Pacetti, a stalwart Floridian who lived in the primitive Florida of the 1800s. After marriage at 14 to a fisherman in his 40s, her first home was made of driftwood. She endured the Indian Wars and then the Civil War before selling land for the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse.

BOOK DISCUSSION: 10:30 to 11:3o a.m. Tuesday, Dec. it. Join us as we review "More than Petticoats: Remarkable Florida Women" by E. Lynne Wright and discuss 14 women who, before 1900, ran businesses, established towns and worked to promote education, conservation and tolerance.

LIGHTHOUSES OF VOLUSIA COUNTY: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. John Mann, lead docent at the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, will discuss the fact and fable of three lighthouses in Volusia County. Exactly where the other two were and what happened to them might come as a surprise!

FLORIDA PIONEERS STORYTIME: 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. Children ages 3-5 can take part in stories, songs and activities that celebrate Florida women who have changed the world.

TEEN CRAFT: 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. Students in grades 6-12 can make a surfboard craft inspired by Ormond Beach surfer Lisa Andersen, a four-time world champion and the first woman to appear on the cover of Surfer magazine. Surfs up. so Lisa will not be able to join us.

HOMESCHOOL HUDDLE: 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7. Homeschoolers in grades K-5 can learn how to tell their own stories after they listen to stories of uniquely Florida women who have led the way.


Race and Change

Ormond Beach Regional
Library March 2019

BOOK DISCUSSION: 2 p.m. Thursday, March 7. Share your views on "Race and Change in Hollywood, Florida," compiled by Florida author Kitty Oliver. The book details the memories of 42 Hollywood residents regarding race relations.

MOVIE: 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 12. View "Girl Rising," a film that tells the stories of nine extraordinary girls from nine countries, written by nine celebrated writers and narrated by nine renowned actors. Rated PG-13,103 minutes.

TEENS: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 6. African stylists will demonstrate their skills in hair braiding and hair wrapping using African fabrics.

FAMILY STORYTIME: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27. Discover your family tree as you learn about some interesting people and celebrate your uniqueness.


A Life with the Everglades

Deltona Regional Library
April 2019

MOVIE: 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14. "America's National Parks Centennial Collection: The Everglades" is a 40-minute documentary by National Geographic.

BOOK DISCUSSION: to a.m. Wednesday, April 17. Choose a book by a female Florida author and share your thoughts in a lively discussion.

PRESCHOOLERS: Children and their caregivers can learn about Florida's history and wildlife with these lively activities.

  • Toddler Time: 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 9. Ages 18 months to 3 years.
  • Pre-K Storytime: 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 10. Ages 3-5.
  • Wiggle, Giggle, Groove: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 11. Walkers to age 5.

TEEN CRAFTERNOON: 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 9. Students in grades 6-12 will make and take home their own painting of a scene from the Everglades in this guided painting program.


Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Daytona Beach Regional Library May 2019

BOOK DISCUSSION: to a.m. Wednesday, May 15. Share your insights into "Colored Town Memoir: Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Me" by Jessie Mae Walton-Woodard.

SEMI-DOCUMENTARY: 2 p.m. Thursday, May 16. "The Volusia Lowdown: Power and Political Upheaval amongst the Palmettos" This videotape of a local play shares information about political intrigue in Volusia County during the 1920s and 1930s.

DOCUMENTARY: 4 p.tn. Thursday, May 16. "The Black American Experience: Famous Public Figures" This DVD looks at the lives and accomplishments of Mary McLeod Bethune and Shirley Chisholm.

DR. MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE: THE WOMAN AND HER VISION: to a.m. Monday, May 20. Daisy Grimes, director of Legacy and Women's Initiatives at Bethune-Cookman University, will discuss Dr. Bethune's work as an activist, her commitment to education, her position as an adviser to four U.S. presidents, and her role as the matriarch of her family.

TEENS: 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 8. Teens are invited to stop by the library's makerspace to learn about women who have made impactful STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) contributions to the Sunshine State. They will take part in a technology-based program featuring littleBits and Ozobots.

STEAM CRAFT: 3 p.m. Wednesday, May15. Children in grades K-5 will take part in STEAM-based design activities including Popsicle stick catapults, straw bridges, and structural design with dried pasta and marshmallows. A slideshow will feature prominent women who have impacted Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics in Florida.

FAMILY STORYTIME: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18. This special program for children in grades K-5 and their families will feature prominent women, from educators to entertainers, in Florida history. A craft and puppet show will be featured.