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Contact: Brittany Lesser,
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Viva Florida Marks 50 years of Civil Rights Across Florida

Tallahassee –

The Florida Department of State announces statewide activities to mark 50 years since the historic signing of the first landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, as part of the Viva Florida effort to continue honoring significant anniversaries in Florida and throughout the nation. The Civil Rights Movement fundamentally changed the culture and laws of the United States. Florida was among other southern states where the struggle for Civil Rights was fought throughout the 1960s leading up to the enactment of the legislation, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964.

"The 50 year anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is important to recognize and commemorate here in Florida," said Secretary of State Ken Detzner. "Our nation was transformed in the summer of 1964 after many non-violent protests such as bus boycotts and sit-ins were heroically instigated by Floridians across our state."

Events taking place to mark the historic day of signing, such as the City of Orlando’s Community Commemoration at Orange County Regional History Center, as well as ongoing exhibitions like Journey: 450 Years of the African American in St. Augustine are listed below:

Statewide Events:

A Civil Rights Retrospective: The Movement through Photographs (Tallahassee)

Friday, June 27 at 6 – 8 p.m. at the R. A. Gray Building in Tallahassee. The Florida Department of State’s Bureau of State Archives will host a slideshow featuring historic photographs that document important individuals and highlight significant events during the Civil Rights Movement in Florida. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Equal Education Opportunity Panel Discussion (Tallahassee)

Tuesday, July 1 at 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the John G. Riley Center/Museum in Tallahassee. This Equal Education Opportunity panel discussion is in commemoration of the 50 Year Anniversary of the signing of the 1964 National Civil Rights Act. Follow The John G. Riley Center on Twitter for Civil Rights facts throughout the month of July. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Community Commemoration (Orlando)

Wednesday, July 2 at 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Orlando Mayor Teresa Jacobs will mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with a program at the Orange County Regional History Center. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Remembering Freedom Summer (Jacksonville)

Wednesday, July 2 at 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Jacksonville’s historic Ritz Theatre and Museum. On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, come join the conversation with Charles E. Cobb, Jr. and Rodney L. Hurst, two long time Civil Rights activists and authors as they share stories from the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Tampa’s 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act Event (Tampa)

Wednesday July 2 at 12 – 1 p.m. at the John F. Germany Public Library in Tampa. Join the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Hillsborough County Office of Community Affairs and the City of Tampa Office of Human Rights to celebrate the 50 year anniversary since the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Celebration of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Jacksonville)

Wednesday, July 2 at 5:30 – 8 p.m. at Jacksonville City Hall. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the City of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Commission is presenting a series of events through December 2014. This is the first program, which includes a reception and speakers such as The Honorable Brian J. Davis, United States District Judge. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act - Official City Recognition (St. Augustine)

Wednesday, July 2 at 3:30 p.m. at the Foot Soldiers Monument in the Plaza de la Constitucion in St. Augustine. Activities include presentations by veterans of the Civil Rights Movement and laying of a wreath. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

This Seat's Taken (Jacksonville)

Tuesday, July 29 at 7 – 8:30 p.m. at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Enjoy a new play by Barbara Colaciello about Rosa Parks and the event that became the tipping point of the Civil Rights Movement, presented by Players by the Sea.  More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Garden Concert: Music of the Movement (Jacksonville)

Saturday, September 20 in the gardens of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. To complement the beautiful civil rights photography exhibition, join The Cummer for an evening of Blues and Jazz with Music from the Movement. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Statewide Exhibitions:

Journey: 450 Years of the African American Experience (St. Augustine)

Through July 15 at the St. Augustine Visitors Center. This state-of-the-art exhibition features authentic objects, original documents, powerful photographs and interactive elements that depict the journey African-Americans experienced from our country's beginnings until today. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

A Commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement (Jacksonville)

Through November 2 at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. This exhibit is composed of 22 photographic images captured over the course of the Civil Rights Movement, from 1956-1968 from the extensive collections of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org

Truth and Triumph: The Civil Rights Movement in Florida, 1945-1964 (Tallahassee)

Through December 31 at the R.A. Gray Building in Tallahassee. The State Archives of Florida and The Museum of Florida History bring together historic images and artifacts to document the struggle for Civil Rights in Florida from 1945 through to the enactment of the Civil Rights laws of 1964. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Civil Rights in the Sunshine State (Tallahassee)

November 7, 2014 – April 5, 2015 at The Museum of Florida History. This special exhibition explores the deep history of civil rights in the state. Using film footage, oral histories, and artifacts, visitors learn about the struggles, victories and heroes of the fight for racial equality. The exhibit looks at the movement on a local, state and national level. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

Civil Rights in Charlotte County (Port Charlotte)

Opening November 8, 2014 at the Mid County Regional Library in Port Charlotte. A special exhibition of photographs and oral histories about the fight for civil rights and the first black students at Charlotte High, the first voluntarily desegregated high school in Charlotte County. More information is available at VivaFlorida.org.

For more information about civil rights commemorations across the state, visit VivaFlorida.org/FLCivilRights.

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About Viva Florida:

In 2013, Florida reached a significant milestone, the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León's arrival on Florida's east coast. Building on the success of Viva Florida 500 in 2013, The Florida Department of State continues to work with partners statewide to promote cultural and historical experiences through a multi-year campaign called Viva Florida, which promotes 12,000 years of Florida’s people, places and cultural achievements. More information can be found at VivaFlorida.org