The Jacksonville Historical Society was awarded a state grant last week to record stories of immigrants to Northeast Florida. The project, The Melting Pot: The Diverse Cultures of Northeast Florida, proposed by the JHS a year ago to the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, will receive $11,500 in funding to record immigrant histories.
Oral histories from families who migrated here more than 100 years ago are a possible part of the project. In these cases, letters, documents and subsequent generations will provide the family story. Other oral histories will date to individuals and families who migrated to Jacksonville in recent years or decades.
Although Jacksonville is not always perceived as an international city, groups from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America are all active parts of city’s diverse population.
The year-long grant program will kick-off with the presentation, The Melting Pot: A Profile of Immigrant Groups in Jacksonville. Immigration patterns to the city dating back to the late 19th century and up to contemporary times will be explored.
Edited versions of the oral histories will be placed online during the year and unedited histories will be maintained at the JHS Archives. A video presentation will also be created.
“We’re all immigrants, but in this project, we’ll attempt to record stories and diverse populations that are not actively represented in the JHS Archives,” said Executive Director Emily Lisska.