J. L. McMullen

1998 Florida Folk Heritage Award

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J. L. McMullen (1914-2007) was a long-time advocate of north Florida's traditional culture. He was born near Wellborn, in Suwannee County, in 1914, and later lived in Live Oak. McMullen was a farmer, forester, producer of canned and frozen foods, as well as the Clerk of the Circuit Court from 1937-1949. He processed the country's first cream-type southern peas better, known as white acre peas. He also was instrumental in the formation of the Suwannee River Valley Growers Association to support agricultural production and promotion in a five-county area. His efforts in this arena helped preserve the traditional culture of north Florida agriculture.

McMullen was instrumental in founding the annual Florida Folk Festival in White Springs. He served as one of the Festival's first co-chairpersons and assisted in finding funding for the festival. He was also an early advocate for presenting a culturally diverse program that featured Florida's Seminole and African American communities.