Today's Tampa Tribune is running a story about the state song ("Racist Screed or Enlightened Work?") that y'all should check out, and perhaps leave a comment in the accompanying forum. (I was interviewed for the Tribune article, but got left on the cutting room floor!) Whether or not the song ever changes is not as important as getting people talking about what it means to be a Floridian.
One of the other controversial state songs mentioned in the article, Maryland, My Maryland, has a vague Florida connection. They lyrics are a poem written by James Ryder Randall, who before the Civil War spent some time on Atsena Otie (Cedar Key) as Augusta Steele's tutor. Augusta was the daughter of Augustus Steele, an early settler of both Tampa and Cedar Key, and later married James Matheson of Gainesville.
(Original post: Florida's State Song)
Yesterday Tim Hollis sent me a nice email. He has a new book coming out later this spring, The Land of the Smokies: Great Mountain Memories. And yes, I have started reading his previous books, Florida's Miracle Strip and Dixie Before Disneyland!
(Original post: Miniature Golf)
Update to the Update:
February 28, 2007
There's more talk of changing the state song...
"Famous or Infamous?" (from the St. Petersburg Times)
"New State Song?" (from Q: The Florida Politics Blog, on Palm Beach Post)