In 2007, The Florida Humanities Council an independent,
non-profit organization that serves as our state's affiliate of the National
Endowment for the Humanities, funded a special program at The Emerson Center
to provide free, public programs that explore Florida's history, folklore,
environment, literature, music, and art. Today, relying solely on community
support, The Emerson Center continues to offer these informative programs
for our neighbors.
Now, you can
download an informative flier describing the 2012-2013 Florida
us in saying special thanks to Marine Bank & Trust, our sponsor for the 2012-2013 Florida
The capacity of the Emerson Center is more than 800. For our Florida
Humanities series, free admission will be
offered on a first-come-first-served basis. There will be a selection of V.I.P. seats reserved for season ticket holders of the "Celebrated Speakers
Series," Florida Humanities Series Sponsors, and Friends of the Emerson Center. The
Emerson Center is handicapped-accessible and is conveniently located at 1590
27th Avenue, on the SE corner of 16th Street and 27th Avenue in Vero Beach.
For more information, contact 778-5249.
OUR 2012-2013 HUMANITIES SERIES HAS
WE'VE POSTED THIS PAGE TO PROVIDE A WAY FOR YOU TO "LOOK BACK" AND
RECALL THE WONDERFUL PROGRAMS WE SHARED DURING THIS MEMORABLE SEASON.
Once again in 2012-2013, The
Emerson Center at the Unitarian Universalist
Fellowship in Vero Beach will present the Florida
Humanities Series - our gift to the community.
Six acclaimed speakers will be presented at the Center between October 2012
and April 2013, with all presentations relating to Florida history, nature,
culture, and issues. Admission to each is complimentary and all performances
will begin at 7 p.m.
In 2013, we will observe 500 years since Ponce de Leon sailed from
Puerto Rico to discover and claim Bimini for the King of Spain.
However, historical documents reveal that the “Bimini” he discovered
was actually Florida.
In Robert S. Carr’s presentation entitled “Finding Bimini: Ponce de Leon’s
Florida,” this American archaeologist will discuss how knowledge of
Florida made its way to European explorers in the early sixteenth
century prior to its “discovery?” This presentation will examine both
prehistoric and early historic contacts between Florida, the Bahamas,
and Cuba; and the mystery of the Fountain of Youth.
Since 1999, Carr has served as Executive Director of the
Florida-based Archaeological and Historical Conservancy. He has
authored numerous scholarship studies on archaeological issues,
particularly related to South Florida, the Bahamas, and Cuba.
Randall "Big Daddy" Webster is an accomplished singer-songwriter
penning tunes both for himself and artists around the world. The topic
for his appearance at The Emerson Center will be “An Introspection of
There's an undeniable musical connection between Webster's Blues and
his audience. Says Big Daddy; "The tradition of playing music from the
soul is much the same around the world as it is in America and people
tap into that. The mission is to touch people's primal core with my
Blues - "Ceol Dan Anum" in Irish. And hopefully bring positive change
to their lives."
Big Daddy has toured overseas fifty-three times to 28 countries, and
he has release eight critically acclaimed solo, duo and band CD
The "Chicago Blues Annual" says, "Randall 'Big Daddy' Webster has lived
and breathed the Blues for over 25 years; first soaking it in as a wild
child while growing up in the shadow of the Windy City (Chicago) during
the 1960's and 70's; later swimming the undercurrent of 'Deep River
Blues' while jamming with Bluesmen at the confluence of the Mississippi
and the Ohio waterways during the 80's; and for the last twenty-five
plus years he's tread through the swamp Blues of Florida's backwoods
jook joints making the gators growl along the way. He's a true champion
of America's great indigenous music. The influences cut sharp, the
tunes run deep, and the spirit held high when Randall 'Big Daddy'
Webster stirs up his spicy gumbo of original home cooked Blues.
Trusting his four-octave voice, pulsing rhythm guitar, and beating foot
makes it all simmer into a fine Blues brew!"
And as a board member of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition and founder of
Blues For Humanity, Webster has helped raise money and awareness for
humanitarian issues throughout the Florida Panhandle, the Southeastern
USA, and overseas.
Dr. Alex Stepick will speak on the topic of “Immigration's Impact on
Florida and the United States.”
Dr. Stepick has been studying immigration and its impact on Miami for
30 years. Along the way, he has published nine books along with many
journal articles and book chapters. He is director of the Immigration
and Ethnicity Institute, professor of Global and Sociocultural Studies
at Florida International University. His article on U.S. refugee law is
still used as a definitive law school reference.
In 2008-09, Stepick held a Fulbright Fellowship at the Institute of
European Ethnology of Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. His
co-authored book, City on the Edge, has won two national awards.
Pride Against Prejudice is the primary source for understanding
Haitians in the U.S. His recent book, This Land is Our Land, has
been described as “superior” and providing a “new framework for
understanding immigration and interethnic relations.” His co-edited
volume, Immigrant Faiths: Transforming Religious Life in America
was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title, Social, & Behavioral Sciences
for 2006. The American Anthropological Association and the Society for
Applied Anthropology awarded him the Margaret Mead Award for his work
with Haitian refugees. His law review article on U.S. refugee and
asylum law is used as a definitive reference in classrooms at major law
schools throughout the U.S. In 1979-80, he was awarded a Congressional
Fellowship to work in the U.S. Congress.
His most recent book is Churches and Charity: Immigrant Religion
and Civic Engagement.
Dana Ste.Claire spent every summer of his childhood deep in the
Ocala National Forest near Scrambletown – a location that is arguably
the “Cracker Capital” of Florida. His early immersion in the Cracker
way of life led to his interest in Crackers as a culture. He was the
first historian to view Crackers from a cultural perspective.
Ste.Claire is a former feature columnist with the Orlando Sentinel,
a PBS television host, authored three books, including an award-winning
one about Crackers. His Emerson Center presentation will be entitled
“The Cracker Culture in Florida History.”
Currently, Ste.Claire is Director of the St. Augustine 450th
Commemoration, a four-year linear event which includes the Spanish
Constitution Bicentennial anniversary in 2012, the 500th anniversary of
discovery of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon in 2013, the 50th
anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in 2014, and the 450th anniversary
of the founding of St. Augustine in 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de
Aviles in 2015.
Prior to his 450th Commemoration position, Ste.Claire served as the
Director of the Department of Heritage Tourism and Historic
Preservation for the City of St. Augustine, with oversight of local
historic programs. He also served as National Director of Museums for
Historic Tours of America, Inc., where he designed and developed
museums, historic attractions, themed destinations, themed retail
stores and interpretive programs across the country from San Diego to
Ste.Claire holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of South
Florida in archaeology and cultural resource management with
post-masters graduate work in anthropology and management. He is a
former museum director, professional archaeologist, and
college/university instructor. When his schedule allows, he travels and
performs with the Great Southern Cracker Roadshow with author, Janis
last-minute schedule change is producing a unique opportunity for
attendees at The Emerson Center's Humanities Series to get special
insights into the life of Zora Neale Hurston, the American folklorist,
anthropologist, and Harlem Renaissance author.
When Steve Smith, the "Dean" of the Ringling Clowns, made a last-minute
cancellation, we filled the evening with a wonderful alternative.
Now, Virginia Lynn Moylan will appear on The Emerson Center’s stage on
Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m. Moylan is a contributing author to The
Inside Light: New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston and author
of Zora Neale Hurston's Final Decade,
book which combines impressive knowledge of African-American people and
their literature as well as the rich history and culture of Florida.
Through an audio visual presentation and insightful anecdotes, she will
reveal details about the stormy live of this great artist and her
Hurston's diverse and colorful life is an incredible chronicle of a
talented Black woman's passage during a time of cultural change. Her
death, in poverty and obscurity, is a contrast to her vast literary
Though she only spent\ the final few years of her life in Fort Pierce,
the city proudly claims her asi ts own. In fact, Hurston's house in
Fort Pierce is a National Historic Landmark and Fort Pierce celebrates
Hurston annually through various events including a multi-day festival
at the end of March known as Zora Fest.
Moylan teaches literature and English in Palm Beach County. She is also
a founding member of the annual Zora Festival in Fort Pierce, a speaker
at the Amelia Island Annual Book Festival, and a 2011 recipient of the
Florida Book Award Silver Medal for nonfiction.
This presentation is free and seating is available on
first-come-first-served basis. With the completion of our new elevator,
the auditorium is now completely handicapped-accessible..
Sorry, this event
April 11, 2013, 7pm
Former astronaut and retired Navy captain Jon McBride will speak to
us on the topic: The Florida Space Program: Its Past, Present and
McBride is currently a member of the Kennedy Space Center Astronaut
Encounter team. His naval service began in 1965 with flight training at
Pensacola, and as a naval aviator he flew 64 combat missions in
Southeast Asia. He became an astronaut in 1987 and was pilot of the
first Challenger mission in space.
Born August 14, 1943 in West Virginia, McBride attended West Virginia
and received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval
Postgraduate School in 1971. He did graduate work in Human Resource
Management at Pepperdine University.
He has flown over 40 different types of military and civilian aircraft
and piloted the Navy "Spirit of '76" bicentennial painted F 4J Phantom
in various air shows during the 1970’s. He has logged more than 8,800
hours flying time—including 4,700 hours in jet aircraft.
McBride became an astronaut in August 1979. He was pilot of STS 41 G,
which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 5, 1984,
aboard the Orbiter Challenger. This 197 hour mission concluded with a
landing at Kennedy Space Center on October 13, 1984.
In May 1989, McBride retired from NASA and the Navy in order to pursue
a business career in West Virginia and Arizona. In 1996, he
unsuccessfully vied for the Republican nomination for Governor of West
In 2008, McBride retired and is currently living near Cocoa, FL. In
recent years, he has been active in the "Lunch with an Astronaut"
program at Kennedy Space Center.
You can review programs from prior years by accessing our