Julian Valdivia is a History Student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, but he’s from Fort Myers, and over the course of this summer he’s been working with the Lee County Black History Society and the Southwest Florida Historical Society to collect oral histories from community elders, mostly in the Fort Myers Dunbar community. Julian works for the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at UF...he’s using this research for his senior thesis which will be about desegregation and integration in Lee County. At the end of the summer all of his work will be available to the public at the local historical societies and at UF’s oral history archive in Gainesville. As summer begins to wind down, we thought it was time to bring Julian in and see how the process has gone.

Jacob Summerlin
Wikipedia Commons

If you’ve ever visited Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel Island in Lee County you are likely familiar with the name Summerlin. We recently received this Curious Gulf Coast question from a listener named Jesse Sanders:

"I drive down Summerlin Road maybe three times a week so I decided to look up who the road was named after. Interesting character for sure. ... People may be interested in history of the area and the cattleman behind Summerlin Road."

So, we're bringing in I-Mag Historian Jim Powers to get his insights into the man known as the Cracker Cow Hunter, Jacob Summerlin.

A Department of State panel has agreed to allow a Confederate General statue currently in the U.S. Capitol to call a Florida museum its new home. But, that decision is receiving some pushback.

WGCU / Mike Kiniry

Sports are far more than just games -- that’s the underlying principle behind a new exhibit on display at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers called Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America. The Smithsonian Institution travelling exhibit explores the many ways sports, from pick up games to national championships, have connected people and communities, and have become a fundamental part of our culture.


Breaking out old photo albums is almost guaranteed to take you on a journey, and now a new show is promising to do that in places across the country. We’re taking with the host and the executive producer of a new public television miniseries called Family Pictures USA. They are in town meeting people from all walks of life across southwest Florida on a search for places to hold photo-sharing events, which will be filmed, and used as the basis for a Family Pictures television program, as well as radio specials. Their show is like a cross between Antiques Roadshow and Storycorps. It uses family photo albums to reveal roots and connections, and to share with viewers a more nuanced and diverse story of our common history, shared present, and evolving future. If you would like to submit photos or stories to the show email them to info@familypicturesusa.com.