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Punta Gorda Publisher Presents 12-Part Black History Lecture Series

Lt. Charles Bailey in his flying gear with his boot on the wheel of the P-51 Mustang named for his father.

James Abraham worked at several newspapers during his career in journalism, working as a reporter, columnist and editor. He wound up in Punta Gorda, and wrote for the Charlotte Sun and Sarasota Herald-Tribune. After leaving print journalism he opened a small publishing house called Book-Broker Publishers of Florida.

But, he’s also a history buff, and last year he presented a series of lectures for Black History Month at Florida Gulf Coast University's Renaissance Academy in Punta Gorda. They were well-received, and so this year he’s been working through twelve lectures during the month of February, on topics like “Dark Waters: The Black American Naval Heritage,” “The Black Activist-Athlete,” and “The Bailey Brothers, Bronze Warriors for Freedom.”

We’ll meet Mr. Abraham, and learn some about the Bailey Brothers, whose story remained buried for decades after World War II, which 6 of the 7 brothers served in all at once, and all of which made it back home to Punta Gorda after the war.

Upcoming lectures:

  • Feb. 24: Race and Class in Southwest Florida: Why does PGI look so different from Trabue Woods? Learn how decades of disinvestment and miseducation have doomed Florida’s people of color to a second-class existence. 10 a.m. to noon, Florida SouthWestern State College Charlotte Campus, Building B, Room 114, phone 941-637-3533 $65 for all four classes or $25 per class
  • Feb. 25: Black Humor: There’s black humor and then there’s black people humor, an encapsulation of a unique experience that shares much with the plainsong of the common man and woman. 4 to 5:30 p.m. Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association, 2001 Shreve St, Punta Gorda (941) 637-1655, $80 for series or $20 per class
  • Feb. 27: The Bailey Brothers, Bronze Warriors for Freedom: Punta Gorda’s proudest military tale lay buried for years, until reporters from the Charlotte Sun unearthed the story of the fighting Bailey brothers, seven black siblings from Punta Gorda’s east side who served in America’s wars. Their story lost and found speaks to the dichotomy of fighting for a country that often fights its people of color. 6 to 7 p.m. Charlotte County Democrats, 3596 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, phone  (941) 764-8440 Free and open to the public
  • Feb. 28: A Call to Arms: Black Americans and the Military. Black Military Contributions: From the Revolutionary War to Modern Conflicts 1 to 2 p.m. Military Heritage Museum, 900 W Marion Ave, Punta Gorda, phone 941 575-9002 Free and open to the public