Discover First America update


“Law & Order’s” Chaz Mena, Spielberg “Blackbeard” film partner and Entrepreneur of the Year Pat Croce, and Colonial Williamsburg’s Thomas Jefferson are part of an all-star cast of performers and presenters who are scheduled to help launch the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration this fall.

In 2015, St. Augustine will be the first city in North America to celebrate its singular standing as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. On Thursday, Nov. 5, the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission and Flagler College invite you to explore “Discover First America: Legacies of La Florida.”

As St. Augustine builds toward the 450th celebration teachers, students, tour guides, business owners, public officials will be invited to explore and experience the rich history and multicultural heritage that makes the Oldest City what it is today. This free program series, co-sponsored by Flagler College with the City of St. Augustine and other partners, will take the community through seven different time periods and make each participant an expert in St. Augustine’s rich saga.

Each audience member will become an explorer, on a quest to discover how significant St. Augustine’s role has been in our nation’s history. The 450th Commemoration office will distribute a “First America: Passport to Exploration” to each guest, encouraging them to join us at each program and receive their stamp. At the end of the free seven-part “Discover First America” series, those with their passports full will have earned their place in history, discovered the true legacies of Florida, and will become official hosts to St. Augustine’s 450th Commemoration.

So while Jamestown Settlement, founded in 1607, and Plymouth Plantation are widely attributed as the beginnings of this nation, it was instead the Spanish Colonial settlement of St. Augustine and the extensive territory of La Florida that served as the model for subsequent colonial efforts by many countries and was indeed the very foundation for the cultural and historical development of the nation. St. Augustine was “First America.”

Flagler College was awarded the grant for “Discover First America; Legacies of La Florida” by the Florida Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. FHC is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds public programs throughout the state of Florida. FHC-funded programs explore Florida’s history, folklore, environment, literature, music and art. Libraries, civic groups, universities, colleges, museums, historical societies and theaters have received grants to sponsor humanities programs. All programs are free and open to the public.

For information about applying for humanities grants, contact Susan Lockwood, Grants Director, Florida Humanities Council, 599 2nd Street S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701 or log onto www.flahum.org.

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