Travel back to the past at Heritage Village. Learn more about the state’s history through the Speaking of History lecture series.
LARGO - As part of the Speaking of History lecture series, writer Cathy Salustri will present Finding Florida: Revisiting the Guide to the Southernmost State on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2 p.m. in the Pinellas Room at Heritage Village.
During the Great Depression, the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration hired writers throughout the United States to develop tour books for each state. The authors of Florida’s book included a white man, Stetson Kennedy, and an African-American woman, Zora Neale Hurston, who were prohibited by segregation laws from traveling together.
Despite such obstacles, the book that resulted from their efforts, Florida: A Guide to the Southernmost State, captured a slice of life along Florida’s roadways just before America’s entry into World War II would forever transform the peninsula.
More than 70 years later, Salustri and her dachshund, Calypso, traveled nearly 5,000 miles throughout Florida in a camper van to witness how the landscape had changed since the original journey.
Salustri’s love of Florida spans the entire state. Her travels have taken her to places highways bypassed long ago, as well as those spots where natural beauty has survived the onslaught of overpopulation.
She attended the University of Central Florida, and earned degrees at St. Petersburg College and the University of Tampa before embarking on an academic journey through the Florida Studies Program at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. This presentation relives her experience of taking “the ultimate Florida road trip” to retrace the paths followed by Hurston and Kennedy more than seven decades ago. This month-long journey formed the basis of her master’s thesis that she completed in March 2012.