florida history

J. Michael Francis / La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas

J. Michael Francis spent nearly a decade combing through thousands of scribbled notes, ship logs and dusty relics to chronicle Florida’s Spanish past. He hoped that one day he could bring that once hazy picture into sharp focus.

For the chair of the Florida Studies program at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, that day is Thursday, when the website, La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas, is formally unveiled. (Editor's Note: The website will go live 3/15)

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

If you love maps, there's a new display at the Tampa Bay History Center that you're going to want to check out.

The museum is working with the University of South Florida to showcase more than 6,000 historic maps and charts of Florida leading back to the 1400's.

FLORIDA SNAPSHOTS - A WLRN Original Production - Short stories that capture Florida's unique and colorful past. 

"The Committee" website via UCF

Thanks in part to work by WUSF TV, more than 70 public TV stations around the country will air an award-winning documentary that looks back at a 1950s and 60s legislative effort that targeted a then fledgling University of South Florida.

"The Committee," which was produced by faculty and students at the University of Central Florida, examines the Florida Legislature Investigation Committee -- also known as the Johns Committee, after its chairman, state senator and former governor Charley Johns.

USF St. Petersburg

UPDATED 3:30 PM 11/12/15 - Updated with interview with USF St. Petersburg Special Collections Librarian Jim Schnur

Fifty years ago, a state investigative committee shut down after years of work that threatened Florida's college system, including a then-fledgling University of South Florida.

USF Library

UPDATE 9 a.m. 1/27: Andy Huse will give an encore presentation of  "Tampa's Rebels and Revolutionaries: Looking Beyond the Pirates and Gangsters" Tuesday, January 28, at noon in the USF Tampa Library's Grace Allen Room.


ORIGINAL POST 3:45 p.m. 1/22: If you hear the phrase "Tampa outlaw" and think of the pirate José Gaspar or the gangsters Santo Trafficante, Sr., and his son, Santo Jr., Andy Huse would like you to think again.

The USF Special Collections librarian says that there's been other far more colorful renegades in Tampa's past that people don't know a lot about - and he'll talk about them Thursday night when he presents "Tampa's Rebels and Revolutionaries: Looking Beyond the Pirates and Gangsters" at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in downtown Tampa.

Highwaymen Bring their Paintings to Sebring

Nov 7, 2013

In the 1950's, a group of African-Americans painted elaborate Florida natural landscapes they sold as an alternative to working in the fields.

Local galleries wouldn't show their paintings, so they took their art to the streets and sold them out of their car trunks to hotels, banks, and tourists.

They became known as the Highwaymen, and while their art then sold for about $25 a painting, some pieces are now worth hundreds if not thousands.