Dr. James Clark will present two programs on Presidents in Florida: How the Presidents Have Shaped Florida and How Florida Has Influenced the Presidents. The first will be held in the Cooper Memorial Library, at 2 p.m.on Thursday, March 14th.
U.S. Presidents have played a major role in shaping Florida, whether waging wars, protecting the environment, seeking votes, or just drawing media attention to the state's attractions. Andrew Jackson came to fight Indians when La Florida was still a Spanish colony and then became the first territorial governor.
The second program will be Friday, March 15th at 2 p.m. in the Lady Lake Public Library. Abraham Lincoln came up with the plan to get Florida back into the Union in 1864 to help his reelection chances. Ulysses S. Grant came to promote steamships on the St. Johns River. Regular visitors have included Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and John F. Kennedy. Harry Truman had a house in Key West called the Little White House. Warren G. Harding played golf with an elephant as a caddie, and Chester Arthur went fishing in Orlando. The Nation, and Miami Herald.
Dr. Clark also wrote Red Pepper and Gorgeous George, the campaign that changed everything in Florida. “In this important and insightful work, Clark does much to separate myth from reality in the pivotal 1950 Florida Senate race that shaped state and national politics for decades to come. Red Pepper and Gorgeous George captures the drama, controversy, and chicanery of one of America’s most memorable elections. A must-read for anyone interested in Florida and southern history.” — Keith M. Finley, Southeastern Louisiana University
Jim Clark was born in Washington, D.C. He began his journalism career with ABC News in Washington as a copyboy before joining United Press International as a reporter. He worked for the Columbia (S.C.) Record, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Raleigh News & Observer and for the Associated Press in Charlotte and Philadelphia. He has been honored with the George Polk Award, Numerous awards from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editor, The Gerald Loeb Award and the Sigma Delta Chi Award. He is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College, received his M.A. from Stetson University and holds a doctorate from the University of Florida. He joined the history faculty at the University of Central Florida in 1987. He is the author of six books and has written for The Washington Post, Washington Star, Washington Monthly, The Nation, and Miami Herald.