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Boat Tours, Worship Music, Zora Neale Hurston

Images and audio from African Americans in Florida.

Boat tours

Rainbow Springs tour guide Skipper Manning Lockett on an underwater viewing boat

Tour guides for Florida springs boat tours were more like stage performers, including jokes, stories, and proverbs. In some cases, tour guiding became a family affair, with one generation of guides’ stories and traditions being passed down to the next.

You can listen to Florida Memory audio of interviews and performances of these African American boat tour artists. 

Sacred harp singing

Sacred harp singing is a capella worship music popular among both White and Black churches in rural Florida. The shaped notes allow untrained church members to participate. Photos include: 

Sacred steel

Steel guitar accompanying worship services in the Pentecostal House of God in South Florida is known as sacred steel. Photos include: 

Zora Neale Hurston

Celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston also conducted rigorous folklore work in Florida. Florida Memory has several recordings of Hurston singing songs she collected from small communities across Florida during the Great Depression.


imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.