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Pulitzer Prize winner Jack E. Davis to give public talk at WSRE on Feb. 5

Posted by Mary Riker on

A Florida Humanities Council grant awarded to Pensacola State College helps bring notable Floridians to Pensacola for public talks as part of the WSRE Public Square series

PENSACOLA, Fla., December 10, 2018 ― With support from a Florida Humanities Council grant awarded to Pensacola State College, WSRE Public Square will present public talks by three notable Floridians as follows: Pulitzer Prize-winning author and University of Florida history professor Jack Davis on Feb. 5; author, motivational speaker and Florida Humanities Council La Florida performer Ersula Knox Odom on March 5; and long-time journalist and author on water issues, Cynthia Barnett, on April 23. All events are free and will begin at 7 p.m. in the WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio.

Drawing from his award-winning book, “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea,” Davis will talk about the role the Gulf of Mexico has played in the course of U.S. history. He is interested in the way people, from pre-Spanish natives to current shoreside residents, have organized their societies and individual lives around nature, how Gulf nature has been a positive force in human events, and how human activities have sometimes led to unintended consequences that have undermined the Gulf’s beneficence.

Odom will portray legendary educator and black leader Mary McLeod Bethune in 1954. In costume and in character, she will share stories of Bethune’s extraordinary contribution to democracy as a New Deal government official in one of the 20 highest-level offices held by women in the FDR administration and the highest held by an African American woman. Bethune was founder of Bethune-Cookman University, founder of FDR’s “black cabinet,” served as president of the National Association of Colored Women, and founded and served as president of the National Council of Negro Women.

In her program, Blue Revolution: A Water Ethic for Florida, Barnett will demonstrate how one of the most water-rich states in the nation could come to face water scarcity and quality woes — and how it doesn’t have to be this way. Barnett is the author of three acclaimed books on water: “Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.,” “Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis,” and “Rain.” “Blue Revolution” was named one of the top 10 science books of 2011 by The Boston Globe, who has called Barnett “part journalist, part mom, part historian and part optimist.”

Pensacola State College, WSRE’s licensee, was successful in acquiring the Florida Humanities Speakers Series grant for funding four public programs during the 2018-2019 academic year. Florida journalist and author Jeff Klinkenberg spoke at WSRE in August.

The Florida Humanities Council partners with community organizations around the state. Support for the Speaker Series is provided by the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.

All WSRE Public Square events are free and open to the public. Online reservations are encouraged and can be made at

Photo Note:

Pulitzer Prize winner Jack E. Davis, author of “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea,” will give a public talk at the WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Media Contact:
Mary Riker