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: http://www.bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu/
transcript edited by pierce butler
This is the eighth in a continuing series of transcript excerpts from the collection of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida.
Former United Faculty of Florida leader Dr. Norman Markel was interviewed by UF emeritus history professor Robert Zieger [Z] on April 20, 2009.
I was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1929. My father drove a laundry truck, for 35 years. He was involved in organizing the Teamsters Union in Detroit. The other thing that was important in my upbringing was being raised in what was more or less a Jewish ghetto in Detroit. I remember meetings in our house with the kitchen door closed and cigar smoke coming out from under the door.
I went to public school. I had one semester in Wayne [State U] when I graduated and then I went off to be an organizer for the Zionist Youth Movement.
I organized from 1948 to 1949. I was sent to welding school in Cleveland, Ohio.
We bought a surplus army jeep with a welding machine, and we took that to Israel. All the time I was in Israel, two years, I was a welder. And when I came back [I] lucked out in that there were plenty of jobs. We are talking about 1952 now, and I started to work at Budd Wheel in Detroit, welding.
Photo by Amanda Adams
In late April, the University of Florida administration proposed drastic budget cuts – $36.5 million total – to the Computer and Information Science and Engineering department (CISE), causing a wave of resistance (like the study-in in the photograph above) that brought the issue into the national spotlight. Students, faculty and others opposed to the budget cuts, which come from the Florida Legislature and are non-negotiable, called on UF to spend part of its $67 million available in reserves to solve the budget cut problem; as of press time, UF President Bernie Machen said the administration would consider using the reserves.