Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942

fisherman in a small boat
Fishermen. Key West, Florida.
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Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections is a multiformat ethnographic field collection documenting African-American, Arabic, Bahamian, British-American, Cuban, Greek, Italian, Minorcan, Seminole, and Slavic cultures throughout Florida. Recorded by Robert Cook, Herbert Halpert, Zora Neale Hurston, Stetson Kennedy, Alton Morris, and others in conjunction with the Florida Federal Writers' Project, the Florida Music Project, and the Joint Committee on Folk Arts of the Work Projects Administration, it features folksongs and folktales in many languages, including blues and work songs from menhaden fishing boats, railroad gangs, and turpentine camps; children's songs, dance music, and religious music of many cultures; and interviews, also known as "life histories." The online presentation provides access to 376 sound recordings and 106 accompanying materials, including recording logs, transcriptions, correspondence between Florida WPA workers and Library of Congress personnel, and an essay on Florida folklife by Zora Neale Hurston. A new essay by Stetson Kennedy reflects on the labor and the legacy of the WPA in Florida, and an extensive bibliography, a list of related Web sites, and a guide to the ethnic and language groups of Florida add further context to the New Deal era and to Florida culture. This online collection is made possible by the generous support of The Texaco Foundation.


A Florida Treasure Hunt


Stetson Kennedy Biography