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Author Stetson Kennedy to speak at Flagler

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January 11, 2011

Flagler College will welcome Author Stetson Kennedy as part of its Writers-in-Residence Program on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. A special screening of the Kennedy-featured documentary "Soul of a People: Writing America's Story" will be shown, after which he will give a short talk and take questions.

Kennedy, born in 1916 in Jacksonville, is an award-winning author and human rights activist, known as a pioneering folklorist, a labor activist, and an environmentalist.

"Soul of A People" details one of the most influential publishing ventures in our country's history. It is the story behind a controversial public assistance program, the Federal Writers Project, one of four arts programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. In 1937, at the age of 21, Kennedy left his studies at the University of Florida to join the WPA Florida Writers Project, where he was put in charge of folklore, oral history, and ethnic studies. The documentary features interviews with two of the Project's best-known workers, Studs Terkel and Stetson Kennedy.

Kennedy is the author of the books: "Palmetto Country," "Southern Exposure," "The Jim Crow Guide," "The Klan Unmasked," "After Appomattox," and co-author of South Florida Folklife. A founding member and past president of the Florida Folklore Society, Kennedy is a recipient of the Florida Folk Heritage Award and the Florida Governor's Heartland Award. He is an inductee of the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.

"Soul of a People" will be shown in the Gamache-Koger Theatre at the Ringhaver Student Center, 50 Sevilla St., in St. Augustine. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.