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A former Tampa Bay-area columnist reflects on life experiences in his new book

A man stands in front of a tree as his portrait is taken. He is smiling.
Matthew Peddie
WUSF Public Media
Bill Maxwell

Bill Maxwell was a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times from 2000 to 2019 and wrote about poverty, farmworkers, racism and more.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk with former Tampa Bay Times columnist Bill Maxwell about his new book of selected columns, "Maximum Vantage" and his life as a journalist and teacher.

Maxwell’s nearly two decades of writing — from 2000 to his retirement in 2019 — is rooted in experience. He took on tough subjects, including racism, poverty, environmental degradation and the living and working conditions of farm laborers.

As an African American who grew up in a farmworker family, Maxwell was born in Fort Lauderdale in 1945 at the end of the Jim Crow era. Every year he and his family would join other migrant farmworkers traveling up the East Coast.

When Maxwell was 16, he went to live with his grandparents in Crescent City. Later he went to college on a football scholarship and joined the Civil Rights movement, helping register Black voters in the South.

You can listen to the full conversation by clicking on the “Listen” button above. Or you can listen on the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.”

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.