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The Florida History Podcast
The Florida History Podcast
A weekly look at a different fascintating topic in Florida History Cover art photo by Derek Reese. @DR928
3 days ago
Episode 73: High Tech Florida
From the 1970's to the 1990's, Florida with its governing principles and quality of life amenities became a hub for tech innovation. the IBM PC was created in Boca Raton by a Florida-born and raised engineer. Also many other high tech startups and established companies called Florida home at the time. We discuss this history on this week's podcast.
Sep 15, 2020
Episode 72: MGM Studios and Disney v Universal
In the late 1980's Florida saw two major film studio plan and build studio-related amusement parks in Central Florida. We discuss it here.
Sep 8, 2020
Episode 71: When Florida had two men who claimed the Governorship
In 1872, Florida in midst of Reconstruction was the site of great political intrigue as both the sitting Governor and sitting Lt. Governor claimed the office.
Sep 1, 2020
Episode 70: Labor Day 1935 Keys Hurricane tragedy
The 1935 Keys Hurricane is the strongest on record to ever hit the United States. It was a tragedy that saw hundreds of World War I veterans lose their lives. We discuss the Bonus Army protest, the eventual deployment of many of the veterans to Florida and the tragic events of September 1-2, 1935.
Aug 25, 2020
Episode 69: Katrina and Florida
On the 15th Anniversary of Katrina we look back at the tragic storm's impacts on both south Florida and the Panhandle. .
Aug 18, 2020
Episode 68: EPCOT Center
We look back at the history of EPCOT Center and the involvement of the state in the building of the Disney park. We also discuss Florida's heady days of the 1980's when the state was at the cutting edge of the technology and aerospace industries.
Aug 11, 2020
Episode 67: Defunct Florida Amusement Parks
We discuss bygone roadside attractions and amusement parks in this episode.
Aug 4, 2020
Episode 66: The political fights over the building of Florida's Turnpike
The fight over the building and route of the Sunshine State Parkway (now Florida's Turnpike) were a major part of Florida politics from the late 1940's to the mid 1960's. In the end everyone wanted credit for helping to build the road that contributed to Florida's transformation from sleepy backwater to mega-state - but not everyone deserved credit. We discuss it on this podcast.
Jul 28, 2020
Episode 65: Special- Reconstruction in Florida
With Black Lives Matter protests and controversies about Confederate statues dominating non-COVID headlines in Summer 2020, we revisit the Reconstruction Era in Florida.
Jul 21, 2020
Episode 64: Achille Murat, Florida's Napoleonic connection
In Episode 64 we discuss Achille Murat, Florida's connection to Napoleon Bonaparte.
Jul 14, 2020
Episode 63: The Rosewood Massacre
1920's Florida was a violent place racially. The state which recorded the most per capita lynchings in nation between 1901 to 1950 is especially infamous for one particularly gruesome event - the Rosewood Massacre. Neil Blackmon joins us to discuss the horrible events.
Jul 7, 2020
Episode 62: Florida Politics in 1968
With 2020 raging we look back at Florida's political scene in a year 2020 has been compared to - 1968.
Jun 30, 2020
Episode 61: Selma and 1968: The post-Governorship of Leroy Collins
On this week's edition of The Florida History Podcast, we discuss Governor Leroy Collins historic work after leaving the Governorship. Collins played a critical and often under-discussed role in ensuring the Selma to Montgomery march went ahead and ran in 1968 for the US Senate - a race where his moderate racial views ran head on into racially-conservative late 1960's Florida.
Jun 23, 2020
Episode 60: Florida Governors, Racism and Civil Rights
In Episode 60 we look at how three very different governors handled race relations in the state.
Jun 16, 2020
Episode 59: Lynchings, KKK activity and racial reconciliation in Florida
We discuss the history of lynchings in Florida and the debate over racial reconciliation in the 1990's and 2000's related to lynchings and racial violence. NOTE: we plan to have individual podcasts in the future on specific events like Rosewood, this is a general narrative.
Jun 9, 2020
Episode 58: The Condo Commandos
In Episode 58 we discuss the Condo Commandos, a group of leaders that made and broke elections in Florida for decades.
May 31, 2020
Episode 57: Florida's history of urban racial riots and MLK Jr. 1964 St Augustine movement
In this special episode of The Florida History podcast, released early this week due to the civil disobedience and protesting going on nationally in the wake of George Floyd's murder, we look back at Florida's history with urban racial strife in the 1980's and 1990's. The 1980 Miami riots were the worst urban riots in the United States between the end of the Civil Rights era and the 1992 post-Rodney King verdict LA riots. In the second half of the podcast we review Martin Luther King's historic campaign in America's oldest European settlement, St Augustine and how it influenced Congress to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
May 26, 2020
Episode 56: Expressway Revolts and Secondary Toll Roads in Florida
On this week's edition of The Florida History Podcast, Brook Hines joins us to discuss the development of activism and community involvement around opposing expressway building in urban areas. A national movement that began outside Florida, expressway revolts broke out across the Tampa Bay area and south Florida in the 1970's and 1980's.
May 19, 2020
Episode 55: Florida's War of 1812: Patriots, James Madison, the Spanish and the British
The War of 1812 has for whatever reason a certain obscurity in American History. Even more obscure is the so-called "Patriot Rebellion" and American invasion of Spanish Florida in 1812. A conflict peripherally connected to the larger war between the United States and Great Britain (including the British colonial possessions in Canada), American forces actually invaded Florida and raised the stars and stripes on Amelia Island. A conflict that flared on and off for several years, even included the declaration of a "Republic of East Florida," and the creation of legislative and judicial institutions.
May 12, 2020
Episode 54: Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901 and Roosevelt Hotel Fire of 1963
The Great Jacksonville Fire of May 3, 1901 is the third worst urban fire in American history. The city was witness to another tragic fire in December 1963 as the Roosevelt Hotel was the scene of tragedy while it played host to several famous guests in the midst of the holiday season. We discuss both fires on this edition of The Florida History Podcast.
May 5, 2020
Episode 53: Space Coast history and military voting in Florida
Brook Hines joins us to discuss the evolution of the Space Coast from the time of the first space launches from Cape Canaveral in the 1950's to today. We discuss the political, residential and social evolution of the area in addition to comparing the Space Coast to the Florida Panhandle and South California in terms of its voting patterns and military influence.
Apr 28, 2020
Episode 52: Smathers v Pepper and the rise of McCarthyism
Ryan Ray joins us to discuss the epic 1950 US Senate Democratic Primary between liberal New Deal Senator Claude Pepper and moderate Cold Warrior Congressman George Smathers. Arguably the dirtiest US Senate campaign in 20th Century American History, the Smathers win ushered in the era of McCarthyism and red-baiting in campaigns across the country.
Apr 21, 2020
Episode 51: Robert King High
Today we look back at a great Mayor of Miami and statewide figure, Robert King High who passed all too young at the age of 43.
Apr 17, 2020
Episode 50: Florida Governors tough decision points
For our landmark 50th episode, in the midst of the crisis around COVID-19, we look back at major crises faced in the past by Florida Governors and how each individual coped with it. We take a look at the process of decision making and the influences on each Governor in the midst of crisis. We will resume to our normal weekly releases, on Tuesday this coming week. Episode 51 will be released on April 21.
Apr 13, 2020
Episode 49: Rum Runners and Moonshiners of Old Florida
In Episode 49 we discuss the prohibition era in Florida in detail, particularly the rum running that took place using Florida's vast coastline.
Apr 6, 2020
Episode 48: Dan McCarty and the making of modern Florida
In Episode 48 we discuss one of the most famous and important Floridians of the 20th Century - Dan McCarty.
Mar 31, 2020
Episode 47: Robert Searle's St Augustine raid and the founding of South Carolina
Few events in Florida's history had as direct an impact on the policies of the Spanish colony as the 1670 founding of Charleston, South Carolina. In this episode of the Florida History Podcast we go through the events that immediately proceeded 1670 including English Pirate Robert Searle's raid on St Augustine.
Mar 27, 2020
Episode 46: 1918 Influenza in Florida
As much of Florida continues to be locked down due to the Coronvirus pandemic we look back at a previous pandemic that killed thousands in our state.
Mar 24, 2020
Episode 45: Central Florida toll roads
In this episode Dave Trotter joins us to discuss the history of toll roads in Central Florida and how they helped fuel the explosive growth of the region.
Mar 17, 2020
Episode 44: Sir Frances Drake and the 1586 English sacking of St Augustine
Sir Frances Drake, a famous figure in English history raided St Augustine in May 1586. The Spanish settlement was destroyed as Drake attacked Florida in the midst of the Anglo-Spanish War. Two years later Drake would be among the English commanders in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Drake's raid had major impacts as the Spanish crown decided to consolidate it's Florida settlement at St Augustine, abandoning points north. It also led to a greater fortification of the town, which led into the 1600's, a time when St Augustine was one of the most prosperous settlements in what is now the United States.
Mar 10, 2020
Episode 43: Napoleon Bonaparte Broward
In Episode 43 we look back at Florida's first populist Governor and his scheme to drain the Everglades.
Mar 3, 2020
Episode 42: Pat Tornillo and the Statwide Teachers Strike of 1968
Florida was ground zero for a major moment in which the Labor movement and Public Employees Unions were changed for ever.
Feb 25, 2020
Episode 41: George Smathers, JFK, LBJ and Nixon
George Smathers wasn't just an eyewitness to power. He was near the center of it. One of the few Americans in the twentieth century to have had a close personal relationship with three Presidents, Smathers came of age when he beat liberal incumbent Senator Claude Pepper in the 1950 Democratic Primary. Smathers, generally a conservative Democrat was very different than the progressive Pepper - Smathers was cozy with power and pragmatic with his voting record and ideology. He was an important figure both politically and personally in Washington and back home in Miami. We discuss his career in this week's podcast.
Feb 18, 2020
Episode 40: Miami Beach
In Episode 40 we delve into the history of one of the most famous places in Florida - Miami Beach.
Feb 11, 2020
Episode 39: The Florida Presidential Primary
Beginning in 1972, Florida's Presidential Primary became a critical event in the Democratic Party's nominating process. Starting in 1976, it was an important date on the GOP's nomination calendar. Throughout the 1980's and 1990's Florida played a critical role. But as other states moved up their primaries, Florida was largely irrelevant in 2000 and 2004. Then in 2007 the legislature moved the 2008 primary up to late January, a move rejected by both national parties. Dropped back to a traditional March date, Florida surprisingly ended up playing a critical role in the GOP's nominating process in both 2012 and 2016.
Feb 4, 2020
Episode 38: Andrew Jackson and Florida
Andrew Jackson is one of the most controversial and significant figures in American history. He is also one of the most significant and controversial figures in Florida history. The conqueror of Florida for the United States, Jackson hostility to Native Americans and runaway slaves drove his desire to overthrow the Spanish administration in the area. We discuss Jackson's flaws as well as his few redeeming qualities in this week's episode.
Jan 28, 2020
Episode 37: The American Revolution - Florida's role
Few history books or common conversations about the American Revolution mention Florida. But our state saw battles fought on our soil and lots of side impacts from the war. We discuss them in this week's show.
Jan 21, 2020
Episode 36: Reubin Askew
Arguably Florida's greatest Governor. we look back at Reubin Askew's career.
Jan 13, 2020
Episode 35: Martin Luther King Jr. in St Augustine
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was debated and passed while Martin Luther King Jr. brought great attention to the racial practices of Florida by leading a movement in St Augustine for integration during the Spring of 1964. We relive the St Augustine movement this week in honor of MLK Jr.'s birthday.
Jan 7, 2020
Episode 34: Impeachment and Florida
We look back at the Watergate scandal's Florida origins, Florida's role in the Clinton impeachment and talk about the current proceedings against Donald Trump and its Florida ties.
Dec 31, 2019
Episode 33: Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is a unique global environmental gem. We discuss the history of the park in this episode.
Dec 24, 2019
Episode 32: Snow and cold blasts in Florida
White Christmas' are rare in Florida, but cold blasts around the Holidays have had an impact on the state
Dec 17, 2019
Episode 31: Ancient Spanish Monastery in Florida
A short episode this week as we discuss the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach, the oldest European-built structure in the United States.
Dec 10, 2019
Episode 30: I-4 corridor political evolution
Political scientist Dave Trotter an expert on historical trends in Florida politics joins us to talk about the evolution of ideology, partisan preferences and elections since the 1950's in the areas of Florida around Interstate 4.
Dec 3, 2019
Episode 29: Biscayne National Park grows from Islandia and Stiltsville
Biscayne National Park is one of the most unique geographic features in the United States. But the areas that are now part of the national park were almost developed. The creation of the park was one of the great early victories for Florida's burgeoning environmental movement. In Episode 29, we discuss the fight to designate Biscayne a national park.
Nov 26, 2019
Episode 28: From Old Capitol to New Capitol
We discuss the selection of Tallahassee as the capital city of territorial Florida and the building and use of each capitol building.
Nov 19, 2019
Episode 27: Claude Pepper
Claude Pepper was one of the most prominent political figures ever from Florida. We look back at the legendary career of the fighting progressive Pepper, one of the most famous New Deal Democrats in the United States. A career that spanned six decades is discussed at length in this episode.
Nov 12, 2019
Episode 26: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and rural 20th Century Florida
We discuss Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings work, her adulation and why we consider her "Florida's Steinbeck." We also converse about progressiveism and racism in that era of Florida life and politics.
Nov 5, 2019
Episode 25: The Populism and Racism of Sidney Catts
In an era when Florida and the south was dominated by one party and African-Americans had been disenfranchised, Sidney J. Catts came to power. His Governorship was lamentable era for the state as he publicly advocated racism towards African-Americans while fueling paranoia about Catholics and the possibility of a Papal takeover of Florida.
Oct 29, 2019
Episode 24: Cuban Revolution transforms Florida politics
In Episode 24 we discuss how the Communist Cuban Revolution transformed Florida politics. We discuss the exile communities impact on politics as well as the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis. We also discuss migration patterns that changed the way much of south Florida voted and touch upon the racial tensions of the 1980's and 1990's in southern Florida as it related to the migrations and politics of the time.
Oct 22, 2019
Episode 23: British St Augustine and American Revolutionary attempts to capture the city
In 1763 the British took possession of St Augustine after almost 200 years of both Spanish interest and English/British raiding of the city. St Augustine played a role in the American Revolutionary War, something not often talked about today.
Oct 15, 2019
Episode 22: Colonial St Augustine
St Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the continental United States. We discuss the foundation of St Augustine, the collapse of the French settlement at Fort Caroline, the sacking of the city by Sir Francis Drake, the building of the Castillo de San Marcos, the creation of Fort Mose by freed/runaway Slaves from British North America and the defense of the city in the 1740 siege by the British invaders from Georgia. Next week we will discuss St Augustine under British rule and the role it played in the American Revolution.
Oct 8, 2019
Episode 21: Bob Graham Workdays
In 1978, State Senator Bob Graham rides a campaign gimmick into the Governors office - then continues the workdays as he becomes on of the most popular and impactful public officials in Florida's history.
Oct 1, 2019
Episode 20: Reconstruction era politics in Florida
Few periods in American history evoke the passion and controversy of the Reconstruction era in the south. In this week's podcast we discuss Reconstruction era Florida politics and the ideology of the political parties at the time.
Sep 24, 2019
Episode 19: Florida in the Movies
Florida has been a mecca for film since the early 1900's. We discuss Florida's rich movie history dating from the silent film era. We talk about the commitment the state had to the humanities and films both shot and set in Florida.
Sep 17, 2019
Episode 18: The Golden Age of Florida Politics
The 1970's were an enlightened age in Florida Politics and Government.
Sep 10, 2019
Episode 17: Pan Am and FDR's first Presidential flight from Dinner Key
We discuss the Florida origins of Pan American World Airways the most famous name in aviation. Pan American is famous for the China Clipper, transpacific service and transatlantic flights from New York. But the airline also pioneered flying to Latin America and developed a base at Dinner Key in Coconut Grove as its first international hub even before the Marine Air Terminal in New York. President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the first ever Presidential airplane flight in January 1943 to attend the Casablanca Conference following Operation Torch (the Allied invasion of North Africa). The flight was on Pan Am and departed Dinner Key en route to the conference. We discuss the flight and the history behind Presidential aviation in the episode also.
Aug 30, 2019
Episode 16: Florida's Labor Day Hurricanes
Ahead of Labor Day Weekend 2019 when Florida is preparing for Hurricane Dorian we look back at previous Labor Day storms that have impacted the state including the 1935 Keys storm and 2004's Hurricane Frances. We also speak in general about Florida hurricanes continuing a discussion from episode 10 which was focused on Hurricane Andrew.
Aug 27, 2019
Episode 15: The Seminole Wars
We cover the three Seminole Wars fought between 1816 and 1858. We look at the promises made and broken by the United States to the Native Americans as well as the treachery of the US forces. We also talk about how these wars impacted the careers of future Presidents Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor.
Aug 20, 2019
Episode 14: Prohibition in Florida
We discuss the colorful prohibition era in Florida and the rugged individualism that made the state a haven for bootleggers, moonshiners and figures in organized crime.
Aug 13, 2019
Episode 13: Henry Flagler Part 2: The Railroad hits Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and the Keys
In part 2 of our look at Henry Flagler, we discuss the extension of the railroad south of Palm Beach. The railroad's extension led to the development of Miami, now a world class city and one of the economic and cultural capitals of the Americas. But at the time the railroad was built Miami was small village at the mouth of the Miami River. Florida's leading city at the time, Key West sat 150 miles away and completely unconnected by road or railroad to Florida's mainland. Flagler would change that and eventually link Key West to the rest of Florida. But unlike other towns Flagler built his railroad to and through, Key West was an established and vibrant city, the largest at the time in Florida and one of the richest in the United States. So Flagler connected Key West but did not "colonize" the way he did St Augustine, Palm Beach, Miami and so many other places where he in fact developed the core of the towns.
Aug 6, 2019
Episode 12: Henry Flagler Part 1: Flagler's St Augustine
Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler builds a railroad to St Augustine and revives the oldest city in the America's north of the Rio Grande. Flagler's railroad is then extended south to Palm Beach where he builds Whitehall, one of his residences and the Breakers Hotel. Flagler's St Augustine compliments the remaining colonial buildings from the Spanish and British periods and gives St Augustine it's third prosperous era after the early Spanish days (1565-1704) and the English period when colonial Tory defections to Florida grew the city (1763-1783. This is part one of a two part series on Henry Flagler.
Jul 30, 2019
Episode 11: The colorful political career of Claude Kirk
Among the least ideological and most colorfully controversial characters in the history of Florida Politics, Claude Kirk the state's first post-reconstruction Governor is always someone fun to talk about.
Jul 23, 2019
Episode 10: Hurricane Andrew & Hurricane Katrina
We look back at the impact of Hurricane Andrew on the governance, politics, attitude and demographics of Florida. Governor Chiles recorded the lowest ever approval rating in the state's history immediately after the storm while President George H.W. Bush's botched reaction helped lead to an era of ultra-competitive Presidential elections in the state. We also talk about the similarities between Andrew and Katrina and the impact on Florida's building codes, evacuation procedures and government in general.
Jul 16, 2019
Episode 9: Kennedy Space Center, the Cape and Florida as the world's gateway to space
We discuss Florida's role in the American space program to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon launch from Cape Canaveral and the July 20 moon landing in 1969. Apollo 11 like all other Apollo missions was launched from Kennedy Space Center. In this episode, we discuss the importance of the space program to development of Central Florida, the exposure the launches gave Florida, and the politics around keeping the space program centered around the state at a time when NASA and the federal government were considered moving the Shuttle program.
Jul 9, 2019
Episode 8: "Walkin Lawton" Chiles
We look back at the political career of Lawton Chiles beginning with his walk across the state in 1970. We look at the divisions within the Florida GOP in 1970 that allowed Chiles and Reubin Askew to be elected statewide that year as new south Democrats. We also look at Chiles Senate career and his campaigns for Governor in 1990 and 1994. We also discuss his dealing with a GOP-led legislature after the 1996 and his tragic death in 1998 just a month after Jeb Bush's election.
Jul 2, 2019
Episode 7: Key West and the Conch Republic
We dive into the history of one Florida's most important and independent historical cities- Key West. The city which was the most populated in the state in the late 1800's has played host to Presidents, writers and political leaders while maintaining its charm and independence.
Jun 25, 2019
Episode 6: The Pork Chop Gang and birth of modern progressive Florida politics
A must listen for any political junkie in the state, we dissect the legendary Pork Chop Gang and the birth of modern Florida politics. We look discuss how the power of the rural North Florida legislators was eventually broken and the why Florida emerged as a shining progressive state in an otherwise conservative south.
Jun 18, 2019
Episode 5: Walt Disney World comes to Central Florida
We take a quick look back at Walt Disney's decision to build a huge theme park and community of the future in Central Florida.
Jun 11, 2019
Episode 4: Florida as a Presidential Swing State
Since 1876 Florida has been a decisive state in Presidential politics both in General Elections and in party primaries. We take a quick look back at some of the colorful history of presidential elections and primaries in our state.
Jun 4, 2019
Episode 3: The Civil War(War between the States) in Florida
Episode 3 focuses on the central role Florida played in the Civil War as a supplier not of only of men but of resources to the Confederacy. Despite being the lowest populated southern state on the eve of the war, Florida was critical to the Confederate War effort and the Union's plans to choke the confederacy.
May 29, 2019
Episode 2: North Florida v South Florida
In episode two we take a brief look at the historic divisions between south Florida and north Florida. The cracker identity v the "Cincinnati effect." We discuss the cultural identity of both regions and the inevitable clash both politically and socially that would come in time. The conflict between different regions of our diverse state will be an underlying theme of much of what is discussed on this show in the future. We talk about the rivalry between regions and how Florida historically has always had divisions between parts of the state.
May 28, 2019
Episode 1: Introducing The Florida History Podcast
In our initial podcast co-hosts Kartik Krishnaiyer and Robert Buccellato discuss the rich history and legacy of the State of Florida laying out topics of discussion for the show going forward. Whether it is colonial St Augustine, Henry Flagler's railroad, Disney World setting up shop in the state, the growth of Eastern Airlines, The Civil War or any number of other topics in Florida history we will cover it on this weekly podcast.