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Graham to discuss story of ‘Race Pride Man’ at Community Lecture Series talk

February 3, 2014 12:00 AM
Professor Emeritus of History
Professor Emeritus of History Thomas Graham will speak at the Feb. 18 Community Lecture Series event.

At the turn of the twentieth century, when the tide of racism was rising in American society, Frank P. Thompson, headwaiter of the Hotel Ponce de Leon, was also rising as a leader among the black employees of Henry Flagler’s hotels.

Thompson will be the subject of Dr. Thomas Graham’s Feb. 18 Community Lecture Series talk at Flagler College.

“Thompson attempted to maintain a place of dignity for people of color,” said Graham, a professor emeritus of history at Flagler. “He was called a ‘race pride man,’ who challenged the waiters under his command, as well as other black men and women, to stand tall and develop their full potential.”

A man of many talents, Thompson organized musical groups and originated the most successful black professional baseball team of the nineteenth century, the Cuban Giants, a team that had its origins among the hotel workers in St. Augustine.

Dr. Graham was a member of the faculty at Flagler College from 1973 to 2008. He received his PhD in history from the University of Florida in 1973. His MA and BA degrees came from Florida State University in 1967 and 1965.

Graham is the author of “Flagler’s St. Augustine Hotels” (Pineapple Press, 2004), “The Awakening of St. Augustine” (St. Augustine Historical Society, 1978) and “Charles H. Jones, Journalist and Politician of the Gilded Age” (University Presses of Florida, 1990).  He is currently researching and writing a book on Henry Flagler in St. Augustine.

The 2014 Community Lecture Series is titled “The Rights Revolution: Civil Rights, Human Rights and Beyond” and focuses on the past, present and future of civil rights.???????

Tickets to the lecture are $5 per person. Active military personnel may attend at no charge. Lectures begin at 10 a.m. in the Flagler Room at Flagler College, 74 King St. The lecture will last approximately one hour and will be followed by a coffee and pastry reception.

This year, thanks to VISIT FLORIDA’s Cultural Heritage and Nature Tourism Grant Program, Flagler College offers complimentary admission to the Flagler College Community Lecture Series for any St. Johns County tourism employee. Tourism employees interested in attending the lecture will need to present their employee name tag or ID at the lecture series registration table.?????

Reservations for the lecture series are required due to limited space. Call (904) 819-6282 for reservations or more information.