Category Archives: October 2012

“Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Florida” with Dr. Larry Rivers – Nov. 14

by samuel proctor oral history program

On the evening of Wednesday, November 14, the University of Florida hosts Dr. Larry Rivers, President of Fort Valley State University, for a public program at Pugh Hall at 6 pm on his new book, “Rebels and Runaways: Slave Resistance in Nineteenth-Century Florida.” President Rivers will also be signing copies of his books “Rebels and Runaways” and “Slavery in Florida.”

Dr. Rivers is an award-winning author of numerous books and essays on African American history, including “Slavery in Florida: Territorial Days to Emancipation.” Under his leadership, Fort Valley State University has risen to become one of the top-ranked Black Colleges in the United States and was recently ranked 9th among the top regional public colleges in the South by U.S. News and World Report.

Larry Rivers earned his PhD at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1977. For more than twenty years, Dr. Rivers taught history at Florida A & M University, ultimately receiving the rank of Distinguished University Professor. During that time, he held a series of administrative appointments, leading to his selection in 2002 as Dean of the FAMU College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Rivers is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Fort Valley State University National Alumni Association, Inc., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Sigma Pi Phi (The Grand Boule) Fraternity, the Urban League and Prince Hall Masonic Lodge.

Parking for the event at Pugh Hall is free. For those who cannot attend, the event will also be Live Streamed by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service on November 14th at 6 pm eastern standard time, and available on their homepage:

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Peace Paper Project Comes to Gainesville

contribution from amy richard

From Oct. 29 through Nov. 2, Peace Paper is coming to Gainesville. Peace Paper works to empower veterans and art therapy practitioners by introducing collaborative art processes that foster positive forward thinking, enhanced communication, wellness and resilience. Through hand papermaking, writing, book and printmaking activities, Peace Paper works together with veterans to transform significant articles of clothing into works of art that broadcast personal stories, mutual understanding and healing.

Utilizing an age-old technique of making paper by hand (from old garments and/or cloth), participants utilize both traditional and contemporary applications of the paper arts. Once their paper is made, it becomes the foundation for expressive content in the form of hand drawn images, text, photographs and/or prints – as a means of telling their individual stories. Participants do not need any prior experience with these processes.

The activities will culminate in a public exhibition of the art created by participating veterans at the Civic Media Center on Nov. 2. For more information, visit

The Peace Paper project in Gainesville is a collaborative effort between Peace Paper facilitators, Artists in Residence and Arts Therapists from the Shands Arts in Medicine program, veterans and others from the community who are in need of training and healing arts therapy or would like to be introduced to a new art form for personal expression.

For more information on the Peace Paper project, visit

Verdict: Guilty! of Violations of Human Rights and the Right to Life and Health

By Jeannie Economos

What do farmworkers in Central Florida have to do with people living halfway around the world in Bhopal, India? A lot more than you might think. Both communities have suffered disease and death that have links to their exposure to highly toxic pesticides. The Bhopal disaster and tragedy in 1984 – a gas leak and an explosion at a then-Union Carbide plant that immediately exposed hundreds of thousands of people to methyl isocyante gas – was much more dramatic, with photographs and films of the contamination and carnage broadcast around the world. In contrast, the farmworkers’ story in Florida is slowly unfolding and, perhaps, is an equally insidious story, insidious perhaps because it remains largely unknown to the rest of the world.

A recent verdict by an international peoples’ court hopes to change that.

Between Dec. 3 and 6, 2011, on the 28th anniversary of the Bhopal incident, communities from around the globe converged on the once-ravaged (and still contaminated) Indian town to both stand in solidarity with the people of Bhopal and surrounding villages, and to bring the stories of their own people and communities before the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) in a trial that accused the “Big Six” of basic human rights violations. The six largest pesticide manufacturing companies in the world, known as the “Big Six,” include the powerful and monolithic BASF, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, Monsanto and Sygenta. These companies are, also, referred to as TNCs or transnational corporations, and they have a stranglehold on small and large-scale agriculture and peasant farmers and communities worldwide.

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“Are You Out There?” – Getting Plugged Into Gainesville Radio

by joe courter

“Are you out there?” is the title line from a delightful Dar Williams song that is an homage to radio listening and to the comfort and stimulation it can bring. I am one of those radio junkies and have been all my life. Unfortunately, I think the common culture and experience of the DJ-listener relationship is going away, with the rise of downloaded music, podcasts, Pandora, satellite radio and all the other new options available to break the silence and stimulate our ears and minds.

But Internet radio has very localized, human options as well. We in Gainesville have two distinct Internet stations to choose from – one purely online at, and the other limited over the air to low power FM that is now also streaming on line at, as well as broadcasting at 94.7 from an antenna in NW Gainesville and best heard in your car.

Grow Radio is very happy to be Internet only, while WGOT aspires to go from a part-time low power station to a full-time station, and will start working toward that goal this Spring. Both have their diverse schedules available online, and both play a wide variety of music and non-music programming.

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Eliminating Definitional Ambiguities in the Violence Against Women Act

By Claudia Wald, Gainesville Area National Organization for Women

Last year, we celebrated the third reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), along with its 17th anniversary. Although significant, VAWA is still lacking in several areas, perhaps the foremost being a loose and ambiguous set of guidelines. In current practice, criminal prosecution is dangerously susceptible to subjectivity by police, prosecutors, judges and juries as they approach cases differently. This is in part due to inconsistent and conflicting definitions for sex crimes. This detrimental effect is multiplied by prevailing stereotypes about sexual assault. General rules written by legislatures offer only preliminary guidelines on how these cases should be handled.

A broad definitional ambiguity clouds sexual violence literature and legislation in characterizing and prosecuting violent crimes against women. Professor TK Logan of the University of Kentucky, speaking for the Sexual Violence Research Roundtable convened by the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Violence Against Women in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 8-9, 2011, explains that many of the articles fail to define important terms such as “sexual coercion” and “sexual violence.” These articles also fail to explain the methodology used. In addition, perpetrators have inconsistent labels in research. Terms such as “stranger,” “date,” and “intimate” lack concrete definitions.

Along with this definitional “fuzziness,” increasing fears about crime have contributed to an explosion of new criminal statutes, leading to a complicated network of law that is conflicting and inconsistent.

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History and the People Who Make It: John DeGrove Part II

Transcript edited by pierce butler

This is the second part of the tenth in a continuing series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.

John DeGrove, “the father of growth management law in Florida,” was interviewed by Cynthia Barnett [B] on December 1, 2001.

I was born in St. Augustine at Florida East Coast Hospital. I was the first person in my family ever born in a hospital. [I grew up in] Palm Valley, where Ponte Vedra is now.

Daddy cut buds, pole buds and ax buds. We went to the Guana [River], which was to the east over toward the ocean. It’s along what’s now [highway] A1A, the Guana. It’s a freshwater [area]. The ocean is right over there across the dunes. We’d go to the Guana to shoot ducks and coots. [There] wasn’t any sporting foolishness about this. We got into the Guana, crept up on them, shot them on the water, killed as many as we possibly could with one shot. I was the bag boy for both of these things, when we were cutting buds, following Daddy around in the woods and when we were shooting coots and ducks. We’d take them into what we call the colored section in Pablo and sell them three for a quarter. Didn’t matter whether it was ducks or coots or what mix it was. They were glad to get them and we were glad to get the quarter. We had an old Model-T then, how we got into Pablo to sell these ducks and coots.

Of course, we [also] shot those to eat for ourselves. At any rate, cutting buds – cabbage palms or sable palm trees. The bud is the thing that comes up out of the middle of a cabbage palm. It’s the upper part, it’s not the stuff you eat. It’s the bud that comes out. That bud hooks into the heart of palm. If you are skilled, you can cut buds without killing the palm tree and it grows another bud. A lot of the land out in Palm Valley was owned by whoever, but we cut buds on that land just as though it was ours. Nobody cared. Ax buds are buds that come from the shorter cabbage palms that you can reach with an ax. You’ve got to cut it right or you will kill the tree.

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Ask Mr. Econ… How do banks lose billions of dollars?

Dear Mr. Econ,

JP Morgan Chase recently announced that the bank lost approximately $2 billion. That sounds like a lot of money to me. More recently, JPMorgan Chase announced that the loss might really be closer to $6 or $8 billion. Shortly after, another major bank, Bank of America, announced that it had lost close to $5 billion from trading derivatives. Given the case of JP Morgan Chase, I assume I can expect this number to grow by a factor of 2 or 3, meaning the real amount will be close to $10 or $15 Billion.

With banks losing all this money, should I be worried? And whose money is it these banks are losing? And where did all this the money go? It doesn’t seem reasonable to me that $10 to $25 billion just disappears.



Dear Confused,

This is another great question.

The banks want us to believe that the losses were caused by “rogue traders” who misled their supervisors by not following internal bank rules. The banks want us to also believe they have gotten tough with these delinquents. Even a couple of higher-ups have either agreed to resign or have been fired.

The banks have assured us that they have strengthened their internal controls so that this could never happen again.

And finally, the banks are telling us that these losses are all a natural part of the capitalist system. Some days the banks make a lot of money, and some days they lose a lot of money. To the banks’ way of thinking, this is just normal. More importantly, the banks want you and I to believe that the money they lost was “their money,” and that they have plenty more.

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Changing the Conversation

by richard k. macmaster

In their recently published manifesto, The Rich and the Rest of Us, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West challenge us to change our attitudes and our language.  “Before we can get people to seriously consider the end of poverty, we have to shred destructive misconceptions. .  .  . We need to reframe the dialogue.”  While compassion and philanthropy have their place, Smiley and West are not afraid to use the language of justice, reminding us that the common goal in the struggles for abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, union organizing, and farm worker strikes was always economic justice.  “In these times of increasing scarcity when we can find little hope, there is a desperate need to resurrect social justice.  We need leaders in the prophetic tradition, like Rauschenbusch, King, and Gandhi.  They must stoke the embers of righteous indignation into an almighty inextinguishable blaze.”[1]

Sometimes it doesn’t take a prophet.  Sometimes an ordinary person can change the conversation.  Nearly two hundred years ago, in 1824, an elementary school teacher in the North of England wrote and self-published a small pamphlet that changed the history of the world.  Elizabeth Heyrick was one of many antislavery activists in England at the time.  They were talking about ameliorating slavery, working for a gradual emancipation of slaves within the British Empire over a generation or two, and finding a suitable home for freed slaves in Africa.

Elizabeth Heyrick’s pamphlet, Immediate Not Gradual Emancipation, changed all that.  She argued that if slavery was truly as evil a system as they agreed it was, they could not temporize with it.  It must be destroyed now.  “The perpetuation of slavery in our West India colonies is not an abstract question, to be settled between the government and the planters; it is one in which we are all implicated, we are all guilty of supporting and perpetuating slavery. The West Indian planter and the people of this country stand in the same moral relation to each other as the thief and receiver of stolen goods.”  The issue was a moral one.

Elizabeth Heyrick changed the conversation about slavery on both sides of the Atlantic.  It wasn’t a labor system to be weighed against less productive alternatives or a necessary prop of the sugar-based economy of the West Indies, it was something evil, a crime or a sin.  It had to be destroyed.  Antislavery organizations everywhere adopted new goals in response.  They were now abolitionists, committed to immediate freedom for all slaves.

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“First, Do No Harm”

by dr. bob knight, director, howard t. odum florida springs institute

“Primum non nocere” (first, do no harm) is commonly referred to as the Hippocratic Oath, the pledge taken by all physicians. Perhaps this oath should also be taken by public servants responsible for the health of Florida’s environment.

The absence of normal rainfall in north central Florida earlier this year revealed an inconvenient truth – there is not enough water left in the aquifer during dry spells to maintain the baseflow of our springs. As long as we have average rainfall, the springs keep flowing and it is easier to believe that long-term flow declines in our springs are just a response to a low spot in a multi-decadal weather cycle. But strip away normal rain and what is left? In May of 2012 prior to the onset of the rainy season, Silver and Rainbow springs in Marion County had the lowest flows ever recorded in more than 80 years. Over the past 25 years the average flows from Silver Springs have been declining at a precipitous rate. While last year’s drought was one cause for these extreme flow declines, there is convincing evidence that excessive groundwater pumping has made a bad situation worse.

Due to Marion County’s limestone geology, the underground basins or springsheds that recharge groundwater to Silver and Rainbow Springs are adjacent and overlap. Flows at both Silver and Rainbow Springs have been declining in magnitude for the past sixty years. Silver and Rainbow flow trends were roughly parallel for the first 35 years of this period. From 1950 to 1985, Silver’s flow averaged about 495 million gallons per day or on average about 51 MGD higher than Rainbow’s flow.

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Occupy Turns One, Local Group Goes to Court

Contributions by Occupy Gainesville and Attorney William Salmon

Around the country, the spirit of the Occupy movement has been refueled as Occupy Wall Street celebrated its one-year anniversary in September. Locally, Occupy Gainesville will be celebrating its one-year on Friday, Oct. 12, from 5p.m. on at the Bo Diddley Plaza in Downtown Gainesville.

The event kicks off at 5p.m. with fellowship, fun and lots of chalk; then at 6p.m., Occupy Gainesville will march to the corner of University Avenue and NW 13th Street (bring your signs, drums and assorted noisemakers!); then finally at 7:30p.m., the group will march down to the Jam (817 W. University Ave.) for food, music, open mic and a year-in-review presentation.

Meanwhile, later this month, on Oct. 30, thirty Occupy Gainesville members will be called up for an en banc hearing on their Motions to Dismiss before Judges Thomas Jaworski, David Krieder and Walter Green in Courtroom 1A of the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center.

On or around Nov. 11 last year, these 30 activists were arrested in the Bo Diddley Plaza downtown for violating a City ordinance banning trespassing. Ironically, there’s a monument at the main entrance to the Plaza dedicated to the exercise of the freedoms of speech and assembly, as well as the First Amendment. There is also a sign outside the City-owned Plaza states, “Plaza closed 11:30pm to 7:00am. No loitering in Plaza during these hours. Pass through traffic only.”

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Note from the Publisher – Assessing the Legacy of Greed

by joe courter

Sometimes you get a day when the contradictions we face looking at our world are right there as this nation and the world move into an uncertain future. On Sept. 17, I attended, along with over 10,000 others, the campaign appearance by Michelle Obama at UF’s O’Connell Center. The energy was high, even electric. She is as gifted an orator, as is her spouse. That this couple lives in the White House, both coming from working class upbringings, is really quite stunning… This nation has come a long way.

But then that evening I attended the Civic Media Center’s showing of “Inside Job,” the Oscar-winning documentary of the 2008 financial collapse and its roots going back over 20 years, laying fault with both political parties. That Barack Obama chose insiders of Wall Street and the banking industry like Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers makes his administration seriously part of the problem. We are living in a very broken political system, and for all the hope of the afternoon, the evening was a profound counterpoint. And that that day, Sept. 17, was the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, only underscored the dissonance I was feeling.

There are many levels of discontent bubbling below the surface in this country. There is major consensus that our institutions of government are not serving us well, and who can doubt that when one party declares their goal is to have the other party fail. Likewise, listening to Michelle Obama, I had a feeling that the administration’s gains cited were tactical talking points geared for re-election, and not true efforts at fixing what’s wrong. And truly, given the climate, maybe that’s all they could get. I heard it referred to as “obsessive compromise disorder.”

When I was a kid in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, the big threat to the future was nuclear war. Pollution was just being seen as a problem, but it was not an existential threat except in localized situations like Love Canal. Now we have manifold threats on the environmental front – climate change, ocean fish-stock depletion, agricultural practices that hurt both the land and our health as consumers of the food, deforestation and animal habitat loss, etc., etc.

And then there is the military-industrial complex and corporate power gone wild.

At the quite successful Radical Rush, I was speaking to a UF freshman about the times we are in, and I asked her about what she felt most uneasy about when looking toward her future. She said it was economics, finding meaningful work and a secure life. For me at her age, that would have never entered my mind.

Occupy was the start of a generational statement or resistance of a future being stolen by greed. As important as this election is, it will not fix what is wrong. It will take a revolution in consciousness from below, using the tools available for knowledge, communication and organizing. It will not be easy, but out of the dysfunction of our times we may be able to turn it around.

This Election is Pivotal

by joe courter

This is the last Iguana until the election, so what follows will be a summary and voter recommendations. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9, and this includes both address changes and new registrations. Absentee ballots can be requested until Oct. 31. Early voting starts on Oct. 27, and, of course, Election Day is Nov. 6.

However you choose to vote for President, and I know there are folks reading this who have problems with the “lesser of two evils” situation we seem to be in, please do vote. The local races are pivotal for continuing the progressive direction we’ve been taking in our County.

While the Iguana has endorsed a Republican or two in the past, we advocate the Democratic line down the ballot, with the one option for a protest vote by writing in “Rob Brinkman” in the State Representative District 20 race should that be on your ballot.

The ballot is four pages, so please persevere through to the end, as the LAST question deals with renewing the one mil tax, which provides for funding school nurses, music programs, technology and libraries, to which we say emphatically YES.

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October Iguana Calendar.

Check out our near-comprehensive calendar for Gainesville and surrounding areas here: October 2012 Iguana Community Calendar

Want to submit an event to the Iguana Community Calendar? Email

October Gainesville Iguana

Can’t get into town for the print Iguana? Or did you make it to the box a little late this month?

Well, don’t worry! We have the whole October 2012 issue here for your perusal.

8th Annual Lubee Bat Festival, Oct. 27

Lubee Bat Conservancy will host its 8th Annual Florida Bat Festival in Gainesville on Oct. 27, from 10a.m. to 4p.m., providing a rare opportunity for the general public and wildlife lovers to visit a working research and conservation center to see some of the largest species of bat face-to-face. This is the only day of the year when the center is open to the public, and is expected to draw some 5,000 people from Gainesville and beyond.

The Lubee Bat Conservancy, a non-profit organization, houses the largest collection of fruit bats in the world, and it works with global conservation partners to protect at-risk species of bats. Efforts are focused on plant-visiting “fruit and nectar” bats because they are vulnerable to extinction yet vital to the world’s rainforests and deserts and to the economies of developing countries.

The free festival will be held on the grounds of the conservancy, a 110-acre ranch, located at 1309 N.W. 192nd Ave. in Gainesville. Each year this event features free activities, including bat-themed crafts and games for kids, educational exhibits, presentations by bat experts, and the unique opportunity to see live fruit bats with five-foot wingspans on exhibit in our Bat Zone. Local vendors will be spread across the grounds of the conservancy selling food and beverages, providing local environmental educational information, and selling batty merchandise.

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