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Special Report: UFxFAMU1963
1963 was a pivotal year in the Civil Rights Movement. The Children’s Crusade and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Gov. George Wallace trying to block efforts to integrate the University of Alabama, the assassination of Medgar Evers in Mississippi, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – they all helped to stir the nation’s consciousness.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of those events, 11 students – seven from the University of Florida and four from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – spent their 2023 spring break reporting from across the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The students recount their eight-day, 2,800-mile journey through Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, with personal reflections and multimedia reporting outcomes in a WUFT News special report.
“The history I have learned along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Gabriela Rodriguez, a UF senior journalism major from North Miami Beach, Florida, wrote in her reflection. “I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with others and, hopefully, they too can learn from my experiences.”
They have also produced a 25-minute documentary, “UFxFAMU1963: Reporting From the U.S. Civil Rights Trail,” premiering at 10 p.m., Tuesday, on WUFT-TV.
Today’s Florida stories
• Florida Politics: NAACP says no-go to Florida travel. “The Florida NAACP made a push for this advisory earlier this year saying that the Governor put a ‘bullseye’ on the backs of Black people, an assertion derided at the time by Gov. DeSantis.”
• Florida Politics: Claiming bias, Gov. DeSantis wants a new judge on the bench for Disney federal lawsuit. “Walker, whose office declined to comment Friday, has previously ruled against DeSantis, including when he partially blocked the “Stop WOKE Act” last year from taking effect at Florida’s public universities.”
• Mainstreet Daily News: Gainesville celebrates Florida’s Emancipation Day. “Blue pinwheels lined the half-mile route from Depot Park to the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center, but the 40 or so people making the ‘Freedom Walk’ trek Saturday allowed Vivian Filer to lead the way. They sang when she sang, and they paused when she paused.”
• Ocala Gazette: North Marion wins Class 4A state baseball championship. “The win improved North Marion to 27-5 on the season and earned the Colts the first baseball state championship in school history. The victory also avenged a loss in the state championship game in 2021.”
• NPR: Disney World is shutting down its $2,500-a-night Star Wars-themed hotel. “The hotel, which is marketed as a two-night immersive experience, will take its last bookings Sep. 28 to 30. New bookings are being paused until May 26 to first accommodate those who made reservations after September.”
• WUSF-Tampa: Environmental groups press DeSantis to veto a summer fertilizer budget item. “The provision would prohibit cities and counties from enacting new summer bans on applying fertilizer. The ban has been promoted as a way to reduce nutrients that cause algae blooms and red tide from flowing into waterways.”
• WFTS-Tampa Bay: After Hurricane Irma ravaged parts of Florida, victims are still waiting for the state’s help. “HUD has given Florida $615 million since 2018 to repair and rebuild properties for under and uninsured Irma victims like Ruiz-Arzola. Now, five years later, hundreds like her are still waiting on help from the Rebuild Florida program.”
• WCJB: Volunteers and archeologists cleanup historic cemetery in Micanopy. “The event was organized by Micanopy Mayor Jiana Williams. Members with Florida Public Archeology Network said it’s the first event of its kind.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Young goat survives rare bone infection after visiting UF Large Animal Hospital. “Almost three months after a young goat named Daisy Mae came to the University of Florida’s Large Animal Hospital unable to walk due to a rare disease, she is now a dress- and diaper-wearing ‘house goat’ at home in The Villages, where she continues to recover.”
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Kristin Moorehead curated today’s edition of The Point.