Jacksonville History Center Speaker Series

The Jacksonville History Center presents monthly lectures on a diverse range of historical subjects, each presented by speakers of note, including historians, dramatists, experts and artistic presenters. Annually, the series includes 10 to 12 major program opportunities. The subjects are diverse and highlight North Florida history. Some presentations involve multimedia with presenters and other programs include panels.

With some exceptions, the lectures are typically held at Old St. Andrew’s Church, 317 A. Philip Randolph Blvd. (across from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena). The evening begins with light refreshments at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6 p.m. All programs are free to members with a suggested $10 donation for non-members, $5 for students. Members and their guests are invited to join the speakers at a short reception before each lecture. 

Topics scheduled for 2024

January: Florida: A History in Pictures, January 24. Speakers: Mike McGinness and Jeff Davies. Click here for the video.

February: A. Philip Randolph, Civil Rights Leader. February 7. A panel discussion with Senator Tony Hill, JHS CEO Alan J. Bliss; EWU Professor David Jamison, and EWU student Travales Woodard. Video not available.

February: Roundtable discussion focusing on the African American law enforcement experience in Jacksonville. February 21. Click here for video.

March: Augusta Savage, Sculptor, March 6. A presentation by UNF Professor Scott Brown, Eboné Sapp, EWU student, Kaysyn Jones, Florida State University student. Click here for video.

April: Celebrating Earth Day on April 16: The Emerald Trail by Gloria McNair, Groundwork Jacksonville, and Lift Ev’ry Voice & Sing Park by Lloyd Washington, Durkeeville Historical Society. Click here for video.

May: National Historic Preservation Month on May 22: Jacksonville’s Endangered Historic Properties. Click here for video.

September: Dr. Quinton White, Executive Director, Marine Science Research Institute and Professor of Biology and Marine Science at Jacksonville University, on “(Nearly) Fifty Years of Change in the St. Johns River,” Thursday, September 12. Click here to RSVP.

Past Lectures

The 2023 series included February: Jacksonville Community Remembrance Project, presented by Melanie Patz and Lynn Sherman. Click here for the video. March: The History of the Duval County Courthouse, by The Honorable Charlie Cofer, Public Defender, Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit. Click here for the video. Women’s History Month Lunch, Lecture & Tour: The History of the YWCA, by Emily Cottrell, JHS Archivist. Click here for the video. April: The Viola B. Muse Digital Collection, by Dr. Tru Leverette Hall (UNF). Click here for the video. The St. Johns River Lighthouse, by Eric S. Martin, Florida Lighthouse Association. Click here for the video. May: Fort Caroline: The Mocama POV, by Dr. Denise Bossy, associate professor of history (UNF), specializing in local Indigenous history. Click here for the video. Ford Motor Assembly Plant: You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, at Duval Ford, by Bob Casey, retired curator of transportation, Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan. Click here for the video. June: The Unveiling of the Bicentennial Bell, at the Jacksonville Public Library. Click here for the video. August: Mid-century Modern Architecture in Jacksonville, by Wayne W. Wood, O.D., Historian-at-Large, presented at the mid-century modern Unitarian-Universalist Church in Arlington. Click here for video. September: Nat Glover, former Jacksonville sheriff and former president of Edward Waters University, author of “Black Sheriff in the Deep South.” Click here for video. “The Culture Wars of Warren Folks” by Tim Gilmore, author and professor of writing at Florida State College Jacksonville. Click here for video. October: Scott Matthews, Ph.D., professor of history at Florida State College-Jacksonville, on his course “The History of Jacksonville.” Click here for video. November: “Spires in the Sun,” a presentation on Carpenter Gothic Episcopal churches of Florida, by author Jonathan Rich and photographer Phil Eschbach, at St. John’s The Cathedral. Click here for video.

The 2022 series included January: Jacksonville Bicentennial by Dr. Alan Bliss; Rare Historic Photographs by Dr. Wayne Wood. Click here to view it on YouTube. February:  Jacksonville’s Silent Film Era by Norman Studios. Click here to view Act 1 and here for Act 2 on YouTube. February:  Joseph E. Lee, Jacksonville’s First Black Lawyer by Judge Brian Davis. Click here to view it on YouTube. March: Women’s History Month: Chosen by Jane, by Jane Condon, former principal and founder of LaVilla and Douglas Anderson Schools of the Arts, and Carol Grimes. Click here to view it on YouTube. April: River City Rhythms: Blind Blake and Beyond, by Eddy Cotton, a local musician who shared the historical context of vintage guitars and accessories on display as he played era- and genre-specific songs, sharing how guitars, players and styles shaped his life and career as a regional performer and musical historian. Click here to view it on YouTube. May: National Historic Preservation Month: Jacksonville’s Endangered Historic Properties. Click here to view it on YouTube. September: Box Broken Open: The Architecture of Ted Pappas, a presentation by author Tim Gilmore, Ph.D., about his newest book of the same name. Click here to view it on YouTube. Also in September, the Southern Genealogists’ Exchange Society presented a program on the 2007 Blue Ribbon Commission on Abandoned and Neglected Cemeteries, shared a human interest story on a local park, and spoke about its extensive research library. Click here to view it. October: “Celebremos lo que Somos” Hispanic Voices of Northeast Florida. Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated with a presentation by Dr. Rebecca Dominguez-Karimi and UNF grad student Justin P. Case about the Menorcan migration during the late 1700s and their present-day descendants. December: Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage Photo Exhibit, by Wayne W. Wood, O.D., and Mark Krancer, photographer. Dr. Wood spoke about the new Bicentennial edition of Jacksonville’s Architectural HeritageLocal photographer Mark Krancer shared observations about the images he shot for the book and displayed a selection of canvas prints of those images, available for purchase. 

The 2021 series included the topics January: This Old Church, a panel of clergy and laypeople. Click here to watch the presentation. February:  Jacksonville’s Most Worshipful Grand Union Lodge by Jerry Urso. Click here to watch the presentation. March: Women’s History Month featuring Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Champion for Women. Click here to watch the presentation. April: Heca Utimile/Our Land: Crafting an Indigenous History of Northeast Florida, by Dr. Denise Bossy and Dr. Keith Ashley. Click here to watch the presentation. May: National Historic Preservation Month: Jacksonville’s Most Endangered Buildings. View it here on YouTube. June: From This Place: Musical Tour of the Sites and Sounds of Jacksonville; by Mitch Hemann. Enjoy Part I in the series on YouTubeJuly: Murder Capital: Stories of Murder and Mayhem in Jacksonville, by Dr. Tim Gilmore. View it here on YouTube. August: The Real Origins of Florida Tourism, by John Foster. View it here on YouTube. September: A History of the Sunshine State’s Historic African American Homes, by Jada Wright-Greene. Click here to view it on YouTube. October: Jacksonville’s Hispanic Heritage, by Rebecca Dominguez-Karimi. Click here to view it on YouTube.

The 2020 series, truncated by the Coronavirus Pandemic, included: The History of the Insurance Industry in Jacksonville: Fueling a Financial Center by J.F. Bryan IV; Florida’s First Historically Black College: 154 Years of Jacksonville’s Edward Waters College by Dr. David Jamison.

The 2019 series included the topics Jacksonville: Florida’s Tourist Mecca and Its Grand Hotels: 1869 to 1926; Recovering Manhattan Beach; 2019 Endangered Historic Properties Report; Jacksonville Terminal Centennial; William Morgan: Evolution of an Architect; Deep Roots, Many Branches: The Blues in Northeast Florida; Salute to the Jax Red Caps; Touchdown Jacksonville! Winning the NFL Franchise for Jacksonville; Cemeteries as Outdoor Museums; Cuba and the “Last” Baseball Season; The Woman’s Club in the Progressive Era: 1897 to 1927.

The 2018 series included the topics Jacksonville’s Jews: We Really Mean Business; Black History Month at the Ritz; The Melting Pot: The Diverse Cultures of Northeast Florida; Jacksonville’s City/County Consolidation: A Perspective at Fifty Years (buy book); Oral History Workshop; Goat Island Hermit: St of FL v Rollians Christopher (buy book).

The 2017 series included the topics Towers in the Sand: A History of Broadcasting; Civil Rights Struggles: From the Beach to the Courthouse; Florida’s Fleet: A Shrimping Legacy from the First Coast; Andrew Jackson in Florida: An Evening with Mayor Jake; Jacksonville’s Historic St. Nicholas Cemetery: Tales from the Crypt; Emerging Florida and the Women Who Changed the World; Winterling and Weather: A North Florida View; Lindberg Jacksonville: The 90th Anniversary.

The 2016 series included the topics Historic Jacksonville Theatre Palaces, Drive-Ins and Movie Houses (buy book); Ribault to Revolution: Shipwreck Archaeology at the St. Augustine Lighthouse; Florida’s War: The Untold Story of Northeast Florida’s Role in the Spanish-American War; Jacksonville: Rail Gateway to Florida (watch); The History of Jacksonville’s Jewish Community; Florida Founder William P. DuVal: Frontier Bon Vivant (watch/buy book); Elvis Has Left the Building: The 60th Anniversary of the King at the Florida Theatre (watch); Banned in Jacksonville: What Book Are You Missing? 

The 2015 series included the topics, Spies, Schemes and the Sons of Liberty: The Shadier Side of East and West Florida during the American Revolution (buy book); Mr. Flagler’s St. Augustine (buy book); Mary Nolan: Jacksonville Suffragette and her Night of Terror; Mining for Florida History: All Buried Treasure is Not Owned by Pirates!; It Came to Pass on the Banks of this River; The Mad Atlas of Virginia King (buy book); The Ten Most Amazing People for Jacksonville (You likely never heard of).