(lively music) - When Floridians Became Americans.
It was a huge event, way back in July of 1821.
Two hundred years later, the Territorial Bicentennial Celebration made history again.
We have a special film commemorating it all to share with you on this edition of "inStudio."
We'll screen the film and talk with the filmmakers.
inStudio begins right now.
(exhilarating music) Longtime viewers of WSRE may remember a series of special programs we devoted to the Territorial Bicentennial in 2021.
We were delighted to work closely with the Territorial Bicentennial Celebration Committee to bring you so many interesting details about this historically significant event.
It's really next to impossible to overstate the importance of the day the Spanish flag was lowered and the American flag was raised right here in Pensacola.
We are excited to have two key players from the Territorial Bicentennial event here with us to talk about this significant remembrance, its importance moving forward, and to screen a documentary that was produced to showcase it all.
Joining us on this edition of inStudio, Margo Stringfield.
Margo is an archeologist at the University of West Florida.
She's based out of the Archeology Institute and works extensively on historic cemetery preservation and conservation.
She's also an expert on Pensacola's Colonial British, Second Spanish, and early American periods.
Margo is co-author of two books, one devoted to Florida's historic cemeteries and the other on historic Pensacola.
And Joe Vinson; Joe is the director of the "When Floridians Became Americans" documentary.
He's also the web developer and motion designer of the 1821 Sampler Project.
Joe developed "Pensapedia" and he's working on a number of other historical projects and initiatives.
He's about to wrap up his Master's degree in Public History from the University of West Florida.
We are delighted to welcome both of you.
Thank you for being here with us.
So I'll start with you, Margo, because you were called early on in this project, and I don't think I have correctly stated the name of this big event.
Joe, would you like to share that?
Was there a special way to say the committee?
- So I think it's the 200th Anniversary Commission and then the event itself is the Escambia County and City of Pensacola Territorial Bicentennial.
Please correct me if that's- - No, I think that's correct.
- [Sherri] Sounds good to me.
- Yeah, it is.
I think you had a commission that was gathered to brainstorm on how we might commemorate this important event, and then we had committees that were formed to bring individual items forward to layer into the overall project.
So there was a commission and there was a committee.
And so no matter how it shakes out, it was a well-oiled working machine in the time of pandemic.
- And it was a quite big event too.
It went on for a while because you had projects, and back us up a little bit, why did we even want to do this?
- Well, it's a very important event in Florida's history, Pensacola, Escambia County, and on a national level.
This is when we see the end of Spanish Colonial Florida and the joining of this vast area into the United States.
So this was actually a big deal.
You might compare it to Louisiana Purchase, but it's that type of monumental acquisition of land and the people that go with that land that merge into the United States.
And we have a very close relationship with our Spanish community because they were here.
They were here before us in terms of our historic population as well as the French, so this pulls a lot of threads together to make one tapestry that really tells us a story of who we are and where we came from, beginning with the first people that were here, of course, our Indigenous population that is represented by the Native people of Pensacola that we have today.
- Very nice.
Well, we just have a few minutes before we go to the film, but part of telling the story involved a really cool project.
Maybe you could give us an overview of the 1821 Sampler.
- Sure, so the 1821 Sampler I believe was conceived by Margo and executed in part with the research of the West Florida Genealogical Society.
Specifically, Virginia Shelby and Aaron Renfro did so much wonderful research.
My part in that was really the last bit and it was to take their research and put it into a website form so that people could go to the website, see icons representing all the 2000 plus people who lived here in 1821, read about them, see some of their details, and if they'd like, they could submit their selfie to represent that individual.
And so that was a really fun project that got people involved in a safe, socially-distanced kind of way.
And we had, you know, more than 500 people who participated in that and it was a lot of fun to be able to put that website together.
- [Sherri] I bet it was, and then there was something on the side of a building?
- Oh yeah, there were plenty of things everywhere, but yeah, people, even visitors and residents, could walk down the street, they could snap on the information about joining in.
And many of the pictures that came to us were obviously taken by people that were out and about in Pensacola and they uploaded their picture right on to the website representing someone from Pensacola's past.
- I was lucky enough, and I say it in the film, to be able to represent some of my ancestors, but I was very happy to see young people, even my daughter, choose to represent somebody that we didn't even know their name, maybe a musician from a certain thing, so everybody was included.
- Yeah, and one of the things that's talked about in the documentary is that part of the purpose of the project throughout the entire Territorial Bicentennial was to involve people who may not have been historically relevant in the way that we traditionally think of it, the great man kind of theory, and so to be able to, you know, talk about people who, we may not know their names, but we know that they were here and we can respect them and honor them was a very important part of 1821 Sampler and the entire project.
- Well, and we'll go into all of this in the documentary, but there were just so many people involved on all your different committees.
- There were, and it's a real tribute in the midst of such a traumatic experience for our whole country and for the world, that people started thinking about how they could contribute because we did want everyone to be safe.
And so all of the projects were designed so that it was something that you could do that either got you outside or you participate from home and still feel like you were part of the overall project, even if you were not sitting in a space with a thousand people in an enclosed space.
So it worked out really beautifully.
- You were so conscious of that, but it did add another element to the entire festivities.
And speaking of those, and we'll come back and talk about it too, I'm sure it was a very warm day in Pensacola.
- [Margo] Oh goodness, yes.
(laughs) - [Sherri] July 17th, 2021, right?
- [Joe] It was hot.
- [Margo] It certainly would've given you a feel for what people might have been experiencing at the time.
So we got a genuine experience, (laughs) a real life experience.
- We sure did, including the parasols that I'll keep and enjoy for so long.
We're going to watch the film in its entirety with you and then we're gonna come back on set to talk more about the celebration, the documentary, and a special award that was received as a result of the 1821 Sampler and the hard work put in by the West Florida Genealogy Society.
Now sit back and relax and watch this with us now, the documentary film "When Floridians Became Americans The Story of the Territorial Bicentennial."
(soft music) - [Sherri] Pensacola, Florida is a city that takes its history seriously.
In August, 1559, a Spanish expedition led by Tristan de Luna made landfall here, establishing the first European settlement in what would eventually be the United States, six years earlier than St. Augustine.
But a hurricane struck a month later, wrecking the ships that were still carrying most of the colony supplies and Luna was forced to abandon the site.
That hasn't stopped Pensacola from declaring itself America's first settlement.
- They start at 1565 and we start at 1559, and they always point to us, "Well, you were a failure."
And that's also true.
So, it's interesting, the public has gotten involved with T-shirts and I think one of the local breweries hired a plane to pull a banner over St. Augustine.
And I think that's great, but we have a nice friendly rivalry and both have a decent claim to being America's first settlement.
- But that's not Pensacola's only stake on history.
The Deep Water Bay was resettled by the Spanish three more times, in 1698, 1723, and finally, 1756.
It changed hands several times between the Spanish, French, and British.
One of those instances happened in 1781 during the American Revolution when Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez led a siege of British Pensacola that ended explosively on the town's Northern Hill, seizing Britain's foothold on the Gulf Coast and helping the cause of American independence.
Four decades later, Spain's empire in the Americas had become untenable.
Economically weakened by multiple wars and revolutions, they could no longer secure the Florida border against American incursions.
- I think everyone saw the writing on the wall.
Spain was no longer able to really manage and control Florida.
There was no money and the Americans were certainly looking forward, they were looking for expansion.
- 1821 signified really the collapse of the Spanish empire.
Mexico became independent that year.
Brazil became independent and several other what we now call South American countries that were formerly Spanish colonies became independent in 1821.
- After the ratification of the Adams-Onis Treaty, President James Monroe sent General Andrew Jackson, who was familiar with Pensacola after two clashes there, to oversee the transfer and serve as Florida's first territorial governor.
Very near this spot Museum Plaza was where the official exchange of flag ceremony took place on July 17th, 1821.
It was a day of great pomp and pageantry.
It was the birthday of Florida's first two counties, Escambia and St. Johns.
It was the day when Floridians became Americans.
(exhilarating music) You may have already noticed something about the framing of these stories: a lot of the historical actors are completely unmentioned.
Two European settlements arguing about who was first ignores the Indigenous people who had already lived here for thousands of years.
Men of rank and power like Tristan de Luna, Bernardo de Galvez, and Andrew Jackson have usually been front and center, literally raised up on pedestals.
In recent decades, however, historians have made efforts to rethink the perspective of these narratives.
- In the past, and this is not a criticism, it's just the way it was, you had men who were writing the history and typically it was the history of a big man or a big event.
And it did not really include the common man and woman or children or any events that might really make up your communal history as a group of people.
And we wanted to shift away from that.
- 50 years ago the primary way of looking backwards in his historical times was to focus on the great men.
And they were, they were great leaders.
They represented and did incredibly large things, but that was where it focused.
And had we been 50 years ago, it would've focused on Andrew Jackson.
- Certainly Andrew Jackson played a large role bringing Florida under the fold of the United States.
But the really big story is not Andrew Jackson.
The big story is all of the people that were here and what they added to the dialogue and to the story of how we became Americans.
- Dr. Judy Bense and Margo Stringfield were named co-chairs of the 200th Anniversary Commission by Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson and they understood that representation on the committee would set the tone and the direction of the bicentennial.
- When Margo and I and Rob Overton, the Director of the UWF Historic Trust, sat down and said, "All right, if we are going to have inclusion as one of our primary themes, this committee needs to be made up of representatives from the diverse groups that we have."
- And so to that end we involved people from the Hispanic community, from the African American community, from the Indigenous community.
- And of course people popped up.
African-American city councilwoman Tatiana Burton was a natural.
- We're really telling history from the bottom up.
It's just not focused on military leaders like Andrew Jackson or governments.
We're really addressing, what were the people of the city doing?
What did the people look like?
How inclusive was Pensacola?
And we know that Pensacola was a very, very diverse city.
- We also had John Appleyard on the committee just before he passed.
One thing that John Appleyard shared with all of us, which was a new perspective to me, is that the people here in Pensacola in 1821, number one, had to learn pretty much of a new language.
And they had no idea what democracy was all about, what voting was all about.
Remember, they were under a king.
- But on that day, people that were standing there in the plaza watching this, this was the day, this was the change, the sea change for them.
They went from being Spanish to being Americans.
Now they retained their Spanish and French heritage.
Everyone retained their cultural traditions.
You did not see that just stop and drop away.
But this was the day that people became Americans and it would have been something of great import to them.
- The commission had support from the city of Pensacola, Escambia County, and the State of Florida.
They agreed it would be a grand commemoration of the 1821 transfer, centering and celebrating the diverse people of Pensacola, both past and present.
- [News Anchor] China has identified the cause of.
- [News Anchor] The mysterious new virus.
- [News Anchor] Coronavirus.
- [News Anchor] Has now reached the United States.
- [News Anchor] Thousands of people are self-quarantining.
- [News Anchor] Lockdowns and isolation.
- The shutdown of 2020 is underway.
- It's an evolving situation.
- An international public health emergency.
- This is a global pandemic.
- The most serious health crisis in a century.
- We planned out, you know, had the beginnings of a plan to have a big celebration and have things along the way during the 2020 year.
- Well, the big plan before the pandemic struck would be a series of public events that would involve different cultural groups.
- We had to not do a lot of those events, which would have been face-to-face.
- As the world shut down, the committee used virtual tools to meet and rethink plans for the bicentennial.
- And we all began to get used to Zoom.
And so I think that Zoom really helped us stay in touch and do our planning and our re-planning because of the pandemic.
- Making plans in 2020 for an event in 2021 was difficult.
Nobody knew how long the lockdowns would last, how many cases there might be on the target date, or if a vaccine would be available.
- So from the beginning we started looking at how to bring programming to the public in a way that did not endanger them and that would be enjoyable for everyone that was participating in the project.
So we began to focus on products that could be usable in a digital format and accessed by everyone.
- [Sherri] One of those was the 1821 Sampler Project, an initiative of the West Florida Genealogical Society.
- So our group was asked to participate in the project to try to get names of individuals who were here in 1821 when Spanish gave up control to the United States.
- They figured it was probably one of our specialties to document individuals from the past.
And so Virginia and I undertook that right at the beginning of the pandemic.
So we ended up doing a lot of research online and with the 1820 census that we had and all of the items that were digitally available, we were able to complete 2300 names.
- From little children, who are almost never mentioned in the historic record, to women, to people of color, people who had what might be considered a mundane job at the time, everyone had a voice.
- With the database completed, people were invited to visit the website, 1821sampler.com, search for an individual to represent, and submit a selfie photo.
It could be someone they were related to.
For example, I was lucky to represent my ancestor, Margarita Bonifay de la Rua.
- There are so many families who are still here from 1821 that are here in the present day.
I have several of my personal family members who were here.
And when you start looking at that history of your family, it makes history come alive.
- [Sherri] But a family connection was optional, of course, and hundreds of people signed up to represent individuals from 1821, including many whose names were not preserved in the historic record.
- We want to give names and faces to these individuals.
We want to tell the story of these individuals.
- My hope for this project is to take the celebration of history out of the realm of pure academia and bring it back to the streets of Pensacola so that the people who live here now can connect with the people of 1821 as individuals, look at their lives and what they were doing, and the roles they played in the community, and know a little bit about them, you know, to know that they were living in Pensacola during a time of monumental change, the transition from being under the Old World to becoming American, and to know that their lives were in upheaval, but they built the community that we live in today.
- [Sherri] Another project developed during the pandemic connected those 1821 residents to the present by reminding us that in many cases they're still here.
- We felt like that we could draw people to the great outdoors to visit historic St. Michael's Cemetery and actually get a sense of not only the cemetery itself, but of the people that were here in 1821.
- So the best solution we came up with was coming up with a virtual walking tour.
And we did that by means of ArcGIS StoryMaps, which allows anyone to get on their mobile device or their computer in their living room, whatever works best for them, and take the tour from there.
So the best thing you can do is be in the cemetery.
I think that gives you the most immersive experience, but you just go to the website and pull it up on your phone and it automatically sizes to fit whatever your device is and you can just follow the dots along through the cemetery.
- And then you can meander all over that cemetery and have a really nice leisurely stroll through the eight-acre green space.
- You can walk through our cemetery and you see markers that are written in Greek.
You'll see markers in Spanish, you'll see markers in French.
You'll see everything from giant, elaborate monuments to small monuments that were made of concrete and some that just say something as simple as Mother.
So we don't know who that person is anymore, but we still acknowledge their existence and we take care of them in the same way as the giant monuments to the industrial leaders of Pensacola's past.
- [Sherri] Media outlets were also enlisted to help tell the bicentennial story.
- The News Journal was approached and asked if they might consider running a series every week for the weeks running up to July 17th.
And they very graciously said, yes, they would.
And so we had a series of scholars address different topics.
- Forum, which is a publication from the Florida Communities Council, is distributed statewide.
And that publication consists of a number of articles that are scholarly intent that focus on the humanities.
And so we were very fortunate that our scholars here had put together such wonderful articles with a wealth of information that we were able to submit that to Forum Magazine and we were very proud that they published as part of a precursor to the actual bicentennial kickoff.
- And we also had programming on WSRE, a series of inStudio presentations for public television.
- Those were formalized in that time period.
- He mapped it out.
- So Pensacola's always been caused by politic for the colonial period to today.
- We then had WUWF Radio do a series of programs based on the bicentennial as well as our other radio stations in town.
There were interviews with the television stations in town, and so it ended up being really quite well-covered in terms of the media which, again, was our big goal once we realized that we were not going to be having a series of indoor gatherings.
It actually worked out in a very nice way, all things considered.
- Even with all the socially-distanced solutions and digital experiences, the commission still hoped to pull off a big in-person event if it could be done safely.
- Our plan A was to have something, an old-fashioned gathering, where we were together, we were, without having to have masks on, we were outside.
- That did not alter significantly.
We kept aiming toward that and we thought if we cannot do it on the that day then we will have plenty of film to be able to produce a product from.
- But when it came time for the celebration, COVID was easing for the first time, this is in the summer of 2021, and there was a window between when the first vaccines worked and we could relax the restrictions.
- We were really fortunate.
It was one of the small windows when we saw the numbers really go down and we felt like we were moving out of pandemic mode and it would be safe to have an outdoor event, which is what we planned in terms of the actual day of the commemoration.
- On the morning of the Bicentennial, Chief Dan Sky Horse Helms of the Santa Rosa Creek Indian tribe led a sunrise blessing in Museum Plaza featuring a Muscogee (speaks in Muscogee) or prayer.
- We had advertised it ahead of time, told people they were welcome to come, but there could be no photography, no recording of any kind, but you could be part of the day and part of this event.
- And it was traditional.
We used the pipe and we smudged the area.
We called people to the little ceremony with a conch shell, blowing a conch shell.
And in the Native American animals, the crow carries messages from the Creator.
So we had just begun doing our ceremony and we had just begun doing our prayers, and three crows flew directly over us, and they crossed, they made a crossing pattern.
- And so as the sun rose and the ceremony began, it was absolutely one of the most stunningly beautiful and moving experiences.
- And so when those crows came across and they were calling, it was like confirmation from the Creator that you're where you're supposed to be, you're doing what you're supposed to be doing.
- [Sherri] Later that morning, the UWF bands played as people began to arrive for the 10:00 AM formal ceremony.
(band music playing) The color guard from the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command presented the colors and Captain Tim Kinsella, commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, led the Pledge of Allegiance with his two sons.
- [Group] Of the United States of America.
- [Sherri] Collier Merrill, Chairman of the UWF Historic Trust, welcomed the guests and commented on the July heat.
- And Winham should have probably said, "You know, General, the townsfolk might appreciate maybe a cool day in the fall."
(audience laughs) - [Sherri] Commission Chairman Judy Bense and Reverend Freddy Tillis of Allen Chapel AME Church gave opening remarks and Chief Sky Horse noted the historic nature of his presence on the stage.
- You have just heard the Muscogee language spoken openly and publicly here in Pensacola for the first time in 191 years.
(audience applauding) - [Sherri] UWF President Martha Saunders welcomed everyone and additional presentations were made by a number of officials and dignitaries.
US Senator Rick Scott.
- You need anything in DC, I'm doing my best to try to be helpful.
- [Sherri] Captain Kinsella.
- I'm very grateful for short sleeve white uniforms in the summertime.
- [Sherri] Secretary of State Laurel Lee.
- All of you from Governor Ron DeSantis and Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez.
- [Sherri] Florida Senator Doug Broxson.
- Whether it be Pensacola or St. Augustine.
- [Sherri] Florida District 1 Representative, Michelle Salzman.
- I am grateful for my Chief and all he does to keep Pensacola's Native American history relevant.
- [Sherri] District 2 Representative, Alex Andrade.
- Of the greatest state of the greatest country the world has ever seen.
- [Sherri] Escambia County Commissioner Robert Bender.
- Derived from the Creek named Shambia, meaning clearwater.
- [Sherri] And Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson.
- We will continue to make history in Pensacola and Escambia County.
- [Sherri] Dr. Bense then discussed the time capsule that will be opened at the 225th anniversary in 2046.
- So that in 2046 you all will be able to see what we left behind.
- [Sherri] And fifth grader Caitlin Moore from Sacred Heart Cathedral School read her contest-winning essay, "What It Means To Be an American."
- At the anniversary of Pensacola.
(audience applauding) - [Sherri] Dr. Leo Day, longtime music director of Olive Baptist Church, sang "America the Beautiful" in English and four other languages, including Spanish.
(Dr. Day singing "America the Beautiful") He concluded with a rousing rendition of "God Bless America."
(Dr. Day singing "God Bless America") ♪ My home sweet home ♪ (audience applauding) - [Sherri] After the retirement of the colors, the exchange of flag ceremony was faithfully reenacted.
(Band playing "The Star-Spangled Banner") As officials gathered around the flagpole, soldiers lowered the Spanish flag and hoisted an American flag with 23 stars, the number of states in 1821.
The band played "The Star-Spangled Banner," as they did at the original ceremony.
The crowd was treated to a flyover by Navy Training Air Wing SIX, (airplane buzzing) which admittedly did not occur in 1821, and that was followed by a 12-gun salute.
(guns blasting) (band concludes "The Star-Spangled Banner") Finally, Mayor Robinson and Commissioner Bender unveiled a state historical marker commemorating both the transfer and the Bicentennial itself.
(audience applauding) ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ ♪ Happy birthday, Escambia County ♪ ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ (crowd applauding) - It was a great day for us.
I was very pleased with this and just this was beyond my wildest imagination we started this process.
- And we had a great turnout today that like we hoped for, and a lot of folks that have been really important to our community, leading our community, like mayors and commissioners.
And just really glad to see everybody that came out to celebrate.
- But the ceremony was just a small part of the weekend's festivities.
(light whimsical music) One of the goals of the Bicentennial was to give visitors a sense of what life was like in 1821.
This kind of immersive experience is known as living history and it's an area where Pensacola really shines.
Starting with the 1959 Quadricentennial, which recreated an old Spanish village on Pensacola Beach, and the 1966 Evening in Old Seville Square, which transported participants back to the Gay Nineties, Pensacola has used heritage sites and costumed reenactors to make history engaging and fun.
- Now they do it at, you know, Jamestown.
They do it at Monticello, they do it at lots of other places, but we've been right there with them the whole time.
- [Sherri] The historic Pensacola Village opened in 1987 and today it is operated year-round by the UWF Historic Trust.
It's an eight and a half acre complex with more than a dozen buildings available to the public, including museums, historic homes, and outdoor interpretive sites.
And as it turns out, having this infrastructure already in place was ideal for an event like this.
- On a hot July day to have this many people out enjoying, you know, Pensacola, I look down the street here and see people going into the museums and the history and the culture that's here, and taking it all in.
- All the museums are open today.
It's a lot of learning, a lot of activity.
We have a scavenger hunt and I'm just really, my heart is full to see so much love shown to us today.
- [Sherri] On Friday and Saturday, living history reenactors gave demonstrations and talked with the guests.
- Living history or reenacting, I enjoy the education aspect of it, talking to the visitors, educating the public, putting on a public program like this to bring awareness to significant parts of Pensacola's history.
We've had a lot of reenactors coming here from all across the southeast.
We've got folks here from Arkansas, from Alabama, from Louisiana.
So I just want to thank all of these people that have put in their time and effort to come here, to travel to Pensacola, and to help make this event a success.
- When we were looking around for a way to communicate and have people experience local transport of goods on the water, we came across a keelboat named the Ozark from Arkansas.
And we thought, "Well, they wouldn't come all the way."
Well, they did.
- The reenacting group that we belong to in Arkansas, that's our primary function, is educating people about their early history, not only of Arkansas, but wherever we go out of state, we try to educate people about the history of that area.
If you look at particularly West Florida, the keelboat was used a lot going up and down the various rivers.
- Having a boat like that, something that, it's kind of like having a truck today, an 18-wheeler.
The keelboats were how people moved their goods around and that kind of experience and living history demonstration we thought would be very educational.
It was real popular.
- Yeah, a family came down there, they got on, they played with the oars and everything, and one of the young men, he was like eight years old, they were leaving and he turned around, he said, "You know, you make history fun."
And that, you know, that kind of sums up, that's what we're after.
- [Sherri] And what's a cultural festival without food?
- You are what you eat and your food reflects your background and your particular personal niche.
- And, so much of what we did focused on what people were eating, what they were growing.
We have a wonderful archeological record and a wonderful historic record here.
So we're able to blend the two of those to get a really comprehensive view of what people were doing in their normal lives.
- This is our kitchen house.
And so I just got done.
I just pulled the beef stew off of our hot coals.
I browned the meat first, and then I actually added our vegetables.
So we had carrots and potatoes and onions that we added in there.
I seasoned it with rosemary and it's gorgeous and I'm really proud of myself.
(chuckles) - Chef Irv Miller of Jackson's Steakhouse, our restaurant, he really got interested in this whole cultural, historical food ways and so each year we have done what we call a Jacksonian dinner.
And at that dinner Chef Irv, he always looks to historic things, things were here in the past, such as red snapper.
We were the known as the red snapper capital of the world.
Oysters, pecans, Seville oranges, all those kinds of things that were here then and now.
And we have found that people are really interested in learning about culinary cultural heritage.
- [Sherri] For a libation Pensacola had already created a signature drink that tied into the territorial period, the 23-Star Salute.
- A group of community folks got together and they were really wanting to put together something signature for Pensacola and history and they came up with this cocktail called the 23-Star Salute.
And the main ingredient in that drink is rye whiskey.
Again, something that's been around for a very long time.
So we reached out to all the bars and restaurants downtown and said, "Hey, you know, during this Bicentennial time, it'd be wonderful if you put it on the menu."
And a number did.
♪ Rye whiskey makes the band sound better ♪ ♪ Makes your baby cuter ♪ ♪ Makes itself taste sweeter, oh boy ♪ - So you always start with the fresh orange and the glass.
You're gonna take your orange bitters, do a couple dashes, about two or three, then a nice little muddle just to get some of that orange out, make sure that you're expressing a little bit more of that orange flavor in there.
Soft muddle there.
And this is where we're gonna start building the cocktail.
So now you get a shaker tin full of ice.
You're gonna start with a nice rye whiskey.
Do an ounce and a half of rye whiskey.
(banjo music) A little bit of honey, East hill honey, of course.
It's a half ounce of East Hill honey and half ounce of fresh lime juice.
A half ounce of fresh simple syrup.
(banjo music continues) Half ounce of triple sec.
An ounce of Calvados brandy.
Scoop of ice.
(ice cubes rattle) Perfect.
Top this with ice.
Of course, now that we've got that all shaken together, you're gonna strain that, simple strain.
Beautifully refreshing cocktail for the summer.
One of our staples of Jackson's.
- Diversity, people's ethnicity is expressed many different ways.
One is food, one is dress, one is transportation, and one is music and dance.
We've never seen a culture that didn't have music and that didn't have a dance and tell a story and communicate that way.
That is really exclusively human.
- [Sherri] Two groups were invited to perform traditional dances, the Ayoka Afrikan Drum & Dance Group from Tallahassee and the group Folklorico of St. Patrick's Church in Robertsdale.
- This clothes has come from Vera Cruz.
It's on the Gulf to Mexico, is a representation to the people coming to Pensacola to work.
- We particularly brought focus from Mexico who are very much a part of the history of Pensacola and the founding of what we know as the United States now.
- And I have the presentation two songs.
I dance "Fandango Jarocho" and "La Guacamaya."
That's a bird, the second one.
And the other is the other song only for Vera Cruz, the old music from Vera Cruz.
- We know that there were 1500 people that came to make the original settlement and they came from the Yucatan Peninsula, many of which were Aztec people of what we know as Mexico now.
- I like to dance and I like to do enjoy, and I like to present for the people and I like the more better to my group.
The girls show to young people can enjoy the Mexican culture and see is no something you can make a rush, you know, it's something pretty and make fun.
(traditional Mexican music) (audience applauding) (percussive African music) - Traditionally, any dance that we do from a traditional perspective has purpose.
So there are dances that are done during harvest time.
There are dances that are done to celebrate.
There are dances that are done when people get married, when they have babies, because African dance is a way of life.
It isn't separate.
So all of these milestones that we experience in our lives, West African dance and drum will be a part of that.
And song for that matter.
- We definitely know African dance happened in Colonial Pensacola.
In fact, I found an article from some years later that talked about how Black people in the city would gather on Sundays, which was their day off, and participate in what the reporter considered Congo dance.
Now we know it might have just been African dance from all parts of Africa, even the diaspora, but people don't really realize that Pensacola had its own version of Congo Square.
- To get together in any capacity and dance and sing and communicate and feel the power of collectiveness in family, that's who we are as Africans who were brought over and ended up here in America.
So this is very appropriate.
This is exactly what it would've looked like 200 years ago.
- Today I am so proud of my city to be able to stand, to look around, and listen to the chatter of people who celebrate all the citizens of all the diverse cultures that are here in Pensacola and who were here.
So we're dug in deep, our heels are in the soil, our blood's in the sand, we are here, and I'm grateful today to see all of the recognition that was paid to all of the residents of our county.
(African percussive music concludes) (audience applauding) (gentle music) - [Sherri] The Territorial Bicentennial is another example of Pensacola and Escambia County's commitment to cultural heritage tourism.
- Heritage tourism is a really big product for our community.
It's one of our economic drivers.
And so any way that we can actually connect people with the history and the heritage of our community is a win-win.
- There has been a great movement here in Pensacola, certainly over the past 10 years of really looking to our history and shouting it and saying, "Hey, this happened here."
And it is a wonderful thing for us to be able to shout out.
- If you're in Pensacola and it's raining, you are not going to be sitting on the beach.
- And so I think it it's for people that don't want to just come to the beach or want to come to the beach and do more.
We have a great offering for them that's very unique to us.
It's our story and we're just really excited that we can share it and tell people more about why this is such a great place.
- And this is just another thing in our tool belt to be able to share our story of Pensacola.
- The project did not stop on July 17th, 2021.
The UWF Historic Trust edited and republished all of the articles that had been in the "Pensacola News Journal" into two volumes of "Pensacola History Illustrated."
So that moved forward on that front.
- [Sherri] The Bicentennial was represented later in the year at one of the city's biggest fall events, Foo Foo Fest.
- Foo Foo Fest is a cultural celebration that happens every year and this past year we had a great, great, great, great digital art display and it was projected on Artel Gallery.
And that display was our history, our story, how did Pensacola come to be?
And it was digitally projected and it came to life and it went through everything from the fires and the hurricanes and the storms and all that kind of stuff.
And this incorporated parts of the commemoration, in particular the images from the 1821 Sampler Project.
And it was just wonderful for present people to give a voice to those voices of the past.
- [Voice Of Past] In 1821.
- [Voice Of Past] I represent David Williams.
- [Voice Of Past] Alexandra Bienvenu Goumarin.
- [Voice Of Past] Maria Garcia Salsa.
- [Voice Of Past] Salvador Ruby.
- [Voice Of Past] Dona Victoria Ganye.
- [Voice Of Past] I represent George Brooke Tunson.
- [Voice Of Past] Estefa Vidal Ruiz - [Voice Of Past] James C. Craig.
- [Voice Of Past] I represent Ebeneezer Harrington.
- [Voice Of Past] Luisa Benita Gayar.
- [Voice Of Past] Desiderio Kina.
- [Voice Of Past] Colonel James G. Ford.
- [Voice Of Past] I proudly represent Betty, also called Bette.
(crowd applauding) - [Sherri] Besides the memories of the Bicentennial, many of these products will stick around for the foreseeable future.
And it's a future that will increasingly focus on inclusion.
- We realized that today we are a welcoming community for everyone.
In 1821, not so much so.
We had people who were enslaved here and we had Native people, Indigenous people who were not part of the niche.
And one thing that the event did was to point out, number one, how far we've come.
- Because it's so important to acknowledge every piece of it, every, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
So we all have a genuine understanding of what our true history is like.
- So who gets to tell the story?
All of us do.
It's not just a privilege, it's an obligation to future generations.
- So children need to understand their history.
My father had a saying.
He said, "It's no longer a mystery once you understand the history."
- And we had many children that actually participated in the overall event.
I was watching them and I was thinking, "These are the stewards of the future, not just of our history and heritage, but of everything that surrounds us as a culture.
These are the stewards."
- Here in Pensacola in Escambia County a group of people came together at a time of incredible hardship to plan and execute an ambitious commemoration to tell the story of when Floridians became Americans and to celebrate the diversity of a community that, depending on who you ask, may be America's first, but that everyone can call home.
(light whimsical piano playing) - The rivalry between St. Augustine and Pensacola continues.
St. Augustine says that there was in 1821 on July the 10th, a modest celebration or event in St. Augustine.
And then the dignitaries came over to Pensacola a week later and had a much bigger and better celebration here.
So in 2021 they did the same thing.
They had to be first, even though we just scoffed at them, but they also in 2021 didn't do much.
We, on the other hand, in 1821, had the big deal with the governors and the generals and all of the dignitaries.
And we had it again in 2021.
So it's quite a rivalry and they won't let it go and neither will we.
- Welcome back.
You're watching inStudio where we've just watched the documentary "When Floridians Became Americans."
On set with me, the people behind the making of the film, UWF archeologist, Margo Stringfield, one of the main forces behind all of the Territorial Bicentennial celebration events, and Joe Vinson, a Pensacola historian and the director of the documentary.
It was so fun to sit here with both of you and watch the film and hear some of the background thoughts and the whole event was amazing, hot day, and there was an award that came out of all of this as well.
- There was, the Archeology Institute submitted a nomination for the Northwest Florida Genealogy Society to the National Genealogy Society for their work with the 1821 Project.
And they were awarded the one award in the country for genealogy and tourism as partners.
And so we were very pleased for them because this was a wonderful and what we believe to be a unique project.
- Very unique and congratulations on that and to the ladies that worked on that.
It was just wonderful.
And tourism, history, it's all alive in Pensacola right now.
You wanted to let people know about some of the things that they can do and experience moving forward.
- Well, they just need to walk out their door and get in their car or walk downtown or go online and look at what we have to offer here.
Visit our museums, go to some of the cultural events.
This is a very culturally diverse community now.
In fact, we have one of the richest cultural heritages of any city in the United States.
So if you live here, get out and explore.
If you're visiting here, get out and explore.
Go to St. Michael's Cemetery, walk with the people of 1821, and get a sense of who we are, and where you are in place and time.
- I think we forget how fortunate we are, really, and with a lot of people I daresay that are watching the program tonight may have not known about what happened in July of 2021, much less what happened 200 years ago.
And you've brought that alive.
Can people still take a glance at the 1821 Sampler?
- Yes, the the project is still online and so please go and check it out and read about the different individuals and see who's been representing them.
And to the point about, you know, representing the people from the past and trying to maybe make up for lost time for people who had been overlooked in the past, there's another project going on now called "Writing the Past" where the Pensacola News Journal is publishing obituaries of individuals who maybe didn't get the recognition they deserved at the time that they died a hundred or more years ago.
And so that's been a really fun project kind of in the spirit of the Territorial Bicentennial that I've been fortunate to play a small part on.
- Oh, that's wonderful.
And then "Voices of Pensacola," right?
- Yes, so the, sorry, did you?
- No, I just want to lean into you and say we've lost a lot in Pensacola, but we have uncovered a lot as well.
So not all is lost and Joe has a project that really points that out quite beautifully.
- Lovely, we're so glad that you're doing that.
So I have yet to take an official tour of St. Michael's, so I will do that.
I've been down there many times, but not actually, you can go on your phone, right?
- [Margo] Yes.
- [Sherri] We were seeing in the film.
- Yes, you can go on your phone.
You can just sit right there in your chair or you can take your phone with you and walk through the cemetery and meet the people.
St. Michael's Cemetery is our colonial era cemetery.
So this is one segment of our population, the 1821 population.
So we are an 18th century cemetery at the heart of things.
- Yes, very exciting.
And it's much bigger than even is right there.
I think we forget about this history all over our town.
- Yes, there is.
- Isn't there?
Well, and you are actually writing another book about?
- About Florida's historic cemeteries.
And this is with University Press of Florida.
And Sharon Thompson and I are co-authoring this book and it will take a look at exemplars from around the state that tie into the history and heritage of our state.
- And then you've written another book on Pensacola history, so there's just so much to know about it.
I'll look forward to hearing more from both of you.
Some of our previous episodes, would you suggest people might go back and watch some of the earlier inStudios if they want to know more about all of this?
You were on one of them.
- I would hope that they would because each one had a different topic and I think people in particular might be surprised at food ways.
I think that is a wonderful thing to look at as a community.
When you go downtown to walk around and explore, go eat.
This is a very much a part of our cultural experience here.
- I think one of the biggest takeaways for me from the documentary is just a real sense of pride and belonging and wanting to share with other people that might not know all about Pensacola.
- Absolutely, we're blessed to have so much living history around us and to be able to enjoy it in all the museums and just on the streets.
- [Sherri] Right, living history continues, correct?
- Yeah, and I think the big thing that comes through with this is just how much talent we bring to the table here in Pensacola.
People work together and that's how this project came about, is that you have so many creative minds at work that everybody can really fit the pieces together to make something like this happen.
- Well, and public support is so important for all of these things.
- Yes, it is, it is.
And at the Archeology Institute, we have always strived to bring our research to the public in a way that they can digest it and become involved with it and so for us this was a wonderful way to do that.
You can see archeology anywhere you walk in Pensacola.
- And one thing that we've really seen from this whole project is including more and more people.
How important is that moving forward?
- I think it's part of a general trend in history and in cultural heritage is to try to, you know, bring in more stakeholders.
In public history it's called shared expertise, shared inquiry, and so that's something where you are not just dictating, you know, this is what happened and we're gonna give you the official perspective, but you're inviting people to participate and to help share their stories.
- So you get more and more people involved, correct?
- Everybody's part of the story.
Everybody is part of the story.
- They certainly are.
It's been a wonderful story.
It's been wonderful sharing that story with both of you and all of the history.
And I just am so grateful that you both came.
- Yes, thank you.
- Thank you so much.
Well, I really wanna thank you once again for joining us on this edition of inStudio, historians Margo Stringfield and Joe Vinson.
And we'd like to thank you, the viewer, for joining us for this special presentation of "When Floridians Became Americans."
We encourage you to share this episode of inStudio with your friends and family so they, too, can have a front row center seat to some of Northwest Florida's very important history.
You can find this show and much more outstanding WSRE PBS content anytime with the PBS video app or check out video.wsre.org.
I'm Sherri Hemminghaus Weeks, thank you so much for joining us.
We'll see you next time.
(gentle upbeat music) (music upbeat music continues)