Florida Free Speech Forum: Dr. Michael Gannon on “McCarthyism in Florida”

by The Florida Free Speech Forum

The Florida Free Speech Forum (FFSF), was formed in September 1994 by a group of dedicated Gainesvillians who felt it important that there be a platform for free speech in our community. It has continuously provided stimulating monthly programs since then. It was modeled on the City Club of Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest free speech forum in the United States. The FFSF is one of only two similar organizations in Florida and is regarded as the foremost bastion of free speech in the southeastern United States.

Where: Paramount Plaza Hotel, 2900 S.W. 13th St.
When: Monday, September 12, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Recent forums have addressed such diverse issues as Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission; Charter Schools: Educational Panacea; Facts and Myths about Immigration Workers; and The Politics of Sex Education. This month’s talk will be given by Dr. Michael Gannon on “McCarthyism in Florida” on Mon., Sept. 12.

During the 1950s and 1960s, methods of investigation and forms of accusation similar to those employed by U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, of Wisconsin, at the national level, were replicated in Florida by the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, more popularly known as the Johns Committee, after the state senator from Starke, Charley E. Johns. Dr. Gannon’s talk will focus on the committee’s hunt for Communists in the NAACP, homosexuals in the University of Florida, and subversive faculty members in other state universities.

Dr. Gannon received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Florida. He taught at the University for 36 years. He has written extensively about the Spanish colonial history of Florida. He has also published several books about U.S. involvement in World War II dealing with U-Boats. He wrote a stage play called “Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on Trial.” He has received numerous awards in Florida and elsewhere including the “Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel la Catolica” from King Juan Carlos I, the highest academic award of Spain.

The Florida Free Speech Forum, based in Gainesville, is in its 17th year. The forum meets once a month and concentrates on topics related to freedom of speech and topics of compelling current interest. After the presentation, there is a Q&A session, both of which are recorded for rebroadcast on WUFT-FM. The luncheon buffet starts at 11:30, and the program starts at noon.

The luncheon costs $17 for members, $18 for members who reserve late, and $19 for non-members. For reservations, call 335-3938 on or before Wednesday, Sept. 7. This is a Free Speech Forum; therefore, if you do not wish to purchase lunch you may attend and listen to the speaker’s talk for free. Seating is available in the back of the room.

Comments are closed.