January 23, 2018

In partnership with the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, Dr. Scot French and UCF History graduate student Gramond McPherson created an exhibit highlighting the history of Eatonville, Fl. and Zora Neale Hurston’s legacy.

The exhibit narrates part of Eatonville’s history, one of the nation’s oldest African American towns. During the mid 20th century, African American communities were increasingly devastated by unwanted road expansion projects. These destructive developments frequently threatened entire communities. Eatonville’s residents managed to successfully fought for the town’s survival. The exhibit opened on Saturday, January 20 and included a panel featuring Dr. French and McPherson.

To further celebrate Zora Neale Hurston and her legacy, the College of Arts and Humanities, the History Department and the Zora Festival have also partnered to host a book talk with Ambassador Harriet Lee Elam-Thomas.  The Ambassador will discuss her new memoir Diversifying Diplomacy on January 24 in room 223 of the John C. Hitt Library at 6pm.   You can also visit “Herself Zora”, an exhibit celebrating Zora Neale Hurston’s life currently displayed on the main gallery wall of the John C. Hitt Library through the end of January.  The exhibit is a collaboration between the Africana Studies program and local Eatonville curator, Maye St. Julien. Both the exhibit and book talk join the many events that make up this year’s Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities.

Several UCF History faculty and students will also take part in the ZORA! Festival Communities Conference II January 25-26. The conference will highlight the expertise and academic community engagement of UCF History faculty and students. Below is the schedule for the ZORA! Festival Communities Conference II.

Africana Studies program director Anthony B. Major will join two community representatives on the “Arts Activism: Concepts and Case Studies” panel. (January 25, 10 a.m., Woolson House, Rollins College).

Dr. Caroline Cheong will moderate a panel, “Cultural Heritage Tourism from the Perspective of Business, Education, and Government,” featuring insights on Education from former College of Arts & Humanities Dean Dr. Jose Fernandez. (January 25, 2:00 p.m., Bierberbach Reed, Cornell Campus Center, Rollins College).

Dr. Robert Cassanello and recent History undergraduate student Oswmer Louis will participate in a film screening and panel discussion, “Marching Forward: A Film Collaboration Between Jones High Museum and UCF.” (January 25, 7:00 p.m., SunTrust Auditorium, Rollins).

History graduate student Gramond McPherson will moderate a panel discussion, “Policing: Reports from the Field,” featuring Mayor David Allen of Prairie View, Texas, and investigative reporter Ben Montgomery.  (January 26, 11:30 a.m., Lias Hall, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Eatonville.)

Finally, the UCF Public History-sponsored exhibit (Why Not Us? The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community – The Early Years, 1987-97), curated by Dr. Scot French and featuring original historical research by Gramond McPherson, will be on display at the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, 227 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville) through August 3.

For the full conference program, go to this address: https://zorafestival.org/communities-conference-and-humanities-panels/