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Contact: Brittany Lesser

Florida Department of State Honors Black History Month through Viva Florida Events

Tallahassee, Florida –

In recognition of Black History Month in February 2014, the Florida Department of State will host a number of opportunities to honor Florida’s black heritage and history in our state. The Department of State’s Divisions of Cultural Affairs and Library and Information Services, which include the Museum of Florida History, State Library and Archives of Florida and the Florida Memory Project, will offer exhibitions, lectures and music throughout the month of February.  These events are part of Viva Florida, a statewide multi-year initiative that promotes Florida’s history and cultural heritage.

“This year’s Black History Month is significant given that our nation is observing the anniversary of 50 years since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “Black History Month is a time to reflect on the diversity of our state and the vital contributions of Floridians to our social, political and cultural life today.”

Florida has more than 500 years of African American history and the Florida Department of State and the many Viva Florida partners will draw attention to this during the 2014 Black History Month and as Viva Florida continues through 2015.

Black History Month Events at The Florida Department of State

Exhibition of paintings by Rose Jefferson and Historic Photographic display
Throughout February
Two exhibitions on display in the lobby of the R.A. Gray Building will honor black history and the arts in Florida.  One features the official 2014 Black History Month artist selected by Governor Scott, Rose Marian Jefferson from Melbourne, Florida. A selection of her work will be shown from January 24 – February 26, 2014.   Starting January 31 there will also be a photographic exhibition from the State Archives of Florida which honors a few of the many events and individuals critical to the Civil Rights Movement in Tallahassee. These exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Historic Photograph Identification Day - African American Life in Tallahassee
February 18, 2014 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The State Archives of Florida, in partnership with the John G. Riley House and Museum in Tallahassee (, will hold a photo identification day in room 307 of the R.A. Gray Building.  Visitors will be able to review the recently digitized historic photographs in the Tallahassee Democrat photographic collection featuring unidentified scenes of African-American life in Tallahassee in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, archives staff will be available to record identification information for the people, places and events shown in these photographs. This event is free and open to the public.

Museum of Florida History 3rd Thursday
February 20, 2014 | 5 p.m. (Lecture at 7 p.m.)
Dr. Jane Landers will discuss “Africans as Discoverers and Settlers in La Florida” to illustrate the emergence of a blended and multiracial colonial society. Dr. Landers is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies at Vanderbilt University. Enjoy free live music from the Bill Peterson Trio and catering by Up in Smoke. The event is free and open to the public, dinner is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers.

History at High Noon at the Museum of Florida History
February 25, 2014 | 12 p.m.
In honor of Black History Month, Dr. Will Guzman from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee will speak on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, incorporating state and local events connected to the national legislation. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information on these events and for a listing of statewide Black History Month events, visit

The Department of State will also be leading a campaign to highlight Black History Month on social media. To find out more, follow the hashtag #FLBlackHistory on Twitter and Facebook.