South Florida Folklife

By Tina Bucuvalas, Peggy A. Bulger, & Stetson Kennedy
© 1987

University of Mississippi Press, 1987

South Florida Folklife

South Florida summons tropical vacation land images--gleaming beaches, exotic foods, colorful costumes, and grand hotels. Yet beyond this facade teems a rich folklife that is the subject of this alluring book. The three collaborating authors present south Florida folklife from the 1930s to the present in four parts: the Everglades and Gulf Coast, the Miami megalopolis, the Keys, and the seasonal residents and tourists. Together, these create a mosaic of contrasts. South Florida embraces extravagant wealth and heartbreaking poverty, constant evolution and solid tradition, tropical peace and devastating storms, settled generations and the newest Americans.

It is a folk region identified not by physical or political boundaries, but by its hot, sultry climate and the many people who interact with the land and with one another. South Florida Folklife explores the area for the first time from a folklorist's perspective and firmly establishes it as a microcosm of the United States, an enticing example of the human diversity that characterizes life in this country. Stetson's contributions deal with the chapters on Key West and the Florida Keys.

ABout the Authors

Tina Bucuvalas, Tarpon Springs, Florida, is curator of art and historical resources with the City of Tarpon Springs. She is president of the Florida Folklore Society and served as state folklorist and director of the Florida Folklife Program of the Florida Department of State.

Peggy Bulger, A native of New York State, received her MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University in 1975; and her PhD in Folklife and Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. After establishing Florida's folklife program, including apprenticeship programs, educational videos and publications, workshops, exhibits, and creating the Florida Folklife Collection, Bulger left in 1989 to work as the Folk Arts Director and Senior Program Officer for the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta. In 1999, she was chosen as the director of Library of Congress' American Folklife Center

Stetson Kennedy was head of the Florida Writers' Project unit on folklore, oral history, and socio-ethnic studies for the Works Progress Administration between 1937 and 1942. He traveled the cities, towns, and rural backwoods of Florida collecting oral histories, songs, and stories from a diverse cross-section of people. His work resulted in one of the first volumes in the American Folkways Series edited by Erskine Caldwell, and remains a unique and important documentation of the social history of Florida.