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August Happenings at the History Center

Published on Jul 31, 2020

 Bartow, Fla (July 31, 2020) -- Journey into Polk history this month at the Polk County History Center. The following programs and events are to be held virtually and are open to the public and free of charge:
  • Aug. 18, 12:15 p.m., Democratic Dialogue Speaker Series - “Democracy in Florida: A Work in Progress”
    •  Learn about the history of democracy in Florida and the future of politics in our state with this virtual presentation by University of Florida Master Lecturer Steven Noll. When American revolutionaries waged a war for independence, they took a leap of faith that sent ripple effects across generations. They embraced a radical idea of establishing a government that entrusted the power of the nation in its citizens. That great leap sparked questions that continue to impact Floridians today: who has the right to vote, what are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens; and whose voices will be heard? Democracy in Florida: A Work in Progress will examine these issues and how they are reflected in Florida history.

     Contact Laura Ramsey Kennedy at (863) 534-4381 to register for this presentation.

  • Aug. 26, 5:30 p.m., Sounds, Thoughts, and Colors of Suffrage
    •  In this virtual presentation, hosted by Maria Trippe, curator of collections and exhibitions, participants will learn the sounds, thoughts and colors of suffrage. The event is one of several initiatives at the local, state and national level to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 26, 1920.

     Local historian Lloyd Harris will perform songs from, “The Suffrage Song Book,” a selection of 28 songs (adapted to popular melodies) that express the women's rights perspective. Titles include, "Dare You Do It?" and the "Great Army," both to the tune of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"; “Three Blind Men” to "Three Blind Mice"; "Woman" to the song "America" and many others. The lyrics were written by Henry W. Roby, a prominent medical doctor, and published by Crane and Company in Topeka, Kansas in 1909.

    A local merchant, Rafa Natural, will create special candles for purchase using the colors of suffrage, and labeled with the sentiments of suffrage. The candles must be pre-ordered and cost $19 per candle. Contact Laura Ramsey Kennedy at the Polk County History Center, (863) 534-4381, or e-mail to register for this presentation and to place your candle order.

  • Aug. 27, 5:30 p.m., Book Banter: Politics at Play
    •  The featured book for August is, “Tip and the Gipper -When Politics Worked,” by Chris Matthews. This non-fiction book explores the relationship between President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, two men with differing ideologies who successfully worked to govern and make policy.

    The August virtual edition of Book Banter will be led by special guest, Polk County Deputy County Manager Lea Ann Thomas. Contact Laura Ramsey Kennedy at the Polk County History Center at (863) 534-4381 or email to register for this program.

  • Aug. 29, 10 a.m., Genealogy Speaker Series – In Zoom Format - “Introduction to African American Genealogy: Let’s Find Some Ancestors!”
    •  Do you want to get started researching your African American ancestors, but don’t know how? Learn the basics of genealogy research and the specialized resources that lead to African American ancestors from Annette Burke Lyttle, professional genealogist and owner of Heritage Detective, LLC.

    Lyttle provides professional genealogical services in research, education and writing. She speaks on a variety of genealogical topics at the national, state and local levels and also coordinates courses at genealogical institutes. In addition, Lyttle is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

    Reservations are required. For Zoom details, contact Preston Petermeier at (863) 534-4604 or


  • History Center Closure: The History Center will close on Aug. 15 for electrical panel upgrades. The History Center will re-open on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The Polk County History Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 100 E. Main St. in Bartow. Visit or call (863) 534-4386 for more information on exhibits and programming. All programs and events are free and open to the public.