Tag Archives: matheson

Saving the Sunshine State

By Joanna Grey

Six women who left their mark on Florida’s history will be featured in the Matheson History Museum’s new exhibition, Saving the Sunshine State: Women Leaders in the Twentieth Century. The exhibit runs from September 1 to October 31. These six women all worked to improve Florida and the lives of its citizens in areas such as conservation, civil rights, writing, education and suffrage.

May Mann Jennings (1872-1963) – A Florida first lady and wife of the 18th governor of Florida, May Mann Jennings championed such causes as women’s suffrage, education funding, historic preservation and highway beautification.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) – Hurston was born in Alabama but was raised in Eatonville, Florida. She was a part of the Harlem Renaissance and was one of the most widely published African American woman writers and anthropologists of the twentieth century.

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Songwriters in the Round: Gainesville’s Musical Renaissance

The Matheson History Museum’s Songwriters in the Round event returns on Thursday, April 16, from 6-8 pm. Unearth the story of Gainesville’s musical renaissance with a presentation by Little Jake and the Soul Searchers.

These musicians are more than just a band, they were stepping stones to the integration of Gainesville. A never before seen documentary will tell the story of Sarah McKnight, an African American business woman who, in the 1950s and 1960s, ran the Cotton Club and Sarah’s Place. These music venues featured musicians such as Cab Calloway, B.B. King and James Brown. Although Charlie Steadham was white, his quest to learn from the best musicians brought him into Sarah’s Place.

Discover how Little Jake Mitchell desegregated one of the largest music venues in Florida. Trace how advancements in technology changed the course of music history with a presentation by Tran Whitley of Tran Tracks. Admission is $5.  Tickets can be purchased at the door.