Plant City Photo Archives and History Center to present America’s Civil Rights Struggle Film Screenings

The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center is pleased to announce the      first of five upcoming community programs incorporating the film series Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights        Struggle. The documentaries include riveting new footage illustrating the      history of the civil rights movement in America.

On Tuesday,      February 18, at 7 p.m., The Plant City Photo Archives will host the first      public program, opening the series with a screening of excerpts from the first      film The Abolitionists. Photo      Archives Director Gil Gott will introduce the program prior to the film clips. The Abolitionists vividly brings to life      the struggles of the men and women who led the battle to end slavery including:      William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Angelina Grimke, Harriet Beecher      Stowe, and John Brown. The film’s release in 2013 also marked the 150th anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Dr. James      Michael Denham, Professor of History and Director of the Lawton M. Chiles      Center for Florida History, at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, will      facilitate further discussion on the film by providing an overview of the issues      brought out by the film and leading the discussion following the film. Dr.      Denham is an award-winning author and public speaker; he was awarded the      Florida Historical Society’s Arthur W. Thompson Prize in 1992 and in 2002 he      received the society’s James J. Horgan Book Prize. He lectures widely      throughout the state for the Florida Humanities Council and he is a frequent      contributor to Florida Public Radio.

The Plant      City Photo Archives is partnering with local community organizations to offer a      variety of Created Equal public      programs which include film screenings, presentations by scholars, and      community

discussions. Community partners include Dr. Maribeth Mobley      and Kara Lawson, of Hillsborough Community College – Plant City Campus; Bill      Thomas, of the Improvement League of Plant City; Gwen Thomas, of Bealsville      Inc.; Anne Haywood, of the Bruton Memorial Library; and Gil Gott and Shelly      Drummond, of the Photo Archives and History Center. All Created Equal programs      are offered free to the public. If you would like to view the films in their      entirety prior to the programs, they are available at the Bruton Memorial      Library. Individual films from the series may be checked out.

“Being 150 years after the Emancipation      Proclamation, these films give us the opportunity to have a public discussion      of race relations in our country and put America’s civil rights struggle in a      new perspective,” said Director Gil Gott. “Not only will this program provide a      great opportunity to highlight the history of east Hillsborough and west Polk      counties, this will bring national perspective to our local experience.”

Created      Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is made possible through a major      grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in      partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Founded in      1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit      organization that promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of American      history. For more information visit their website at Additional support for the        community programs is provided by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council.

Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle

            Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights      Struggle is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities      (NEH) that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community      discussion of America’s civil rights history. The NEH has partnered with the      Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop programmatic and      support materials for the sites. Each of the films tells remarkable stories of      individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted      institutions from slavery to segregation. Created        Equal programs bring communities together to revisit our shared history and      help bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American civil life. Visit for more information.

Plant City Photo Archives and History      Center

            Founded in      2000, the Plant City Archives and History Center is located at 106 South Evers      Street in historic downtown Plant City and is open Tuesday through Saturday      from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Exhibit Gallery maintains a free admission policy.      For further information call the office at 813.754.1578 or visit the website at



Photo Archives Showcases Four Plant City-Area Authors


PLANT CITY – The Plant City Photo Archives and History Center held a wonderfully successful special event Tuesday, June 4, 2013, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. showcasing four plant city-area authors: Dr. Felix Haynes, Nicholas D. Brown, Dick Elston, and Gil Gott.

The evening began with a reception in the History Center Library, where guests partook of wine and cheese, hors d’oeuvres, and other refreshments. Executive Director Gil Gott then provided opening comments and introduced the authors, who followed with synopses and highlights of each of their books. The featured books were:

No Substitute for Victory – Dr. Felix Haynes

Strawberries & Steel – Nicholas D. Brown

The Life and Times of Plant City in the 1940s – Dick Elston

Remembering Plant City; Tales from the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World – Gil Gott

The latter portion of the event featured one-on-one, question-and-answer time between guests and authors. Plentiful book sales at special prices, autographs, photographs, and fun ensued. Copies of these books are still available at Plant City Photo Archives & History Center located at 106 South Evers Street in downtown Plant City.

The event was a great success and the Photo Archives plans to hold similar book-signing events in the future with other local authors.

Plant City Photo Archives and History Center was founded in 2000 with the objective of preserving the history and heritage of the community by collecting and preserving the community’s photographs and their stories. The organization’s hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. The office telephone number is 813.754.1578 and the email address is


Plant City Photo Archives & History Center to Hold Book Signing


Meet local authors Felix Haynes, Nick Brown, Gil Gott, and Dick Elston.

These four local authors will talk about their books, answer questions, and autograph your book. It’ll be a fun event and you’ll want to hang around awhile and enjoy the camaraderie, the refreshments, and the discussions.

Information: 813.754.1578


Plant City chamber donates city directories to Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

By Dave Nicholson | Tribune Staff
Published: March 16, 2013PLANT CITY -

pcpa_gilFor years, Gil Gott has visited the chamber of commerce to view copies of a book that can yield a treasure trove of information for historical research.
Now Gott, executive director of the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, has the books at his fingertips.

The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce recently donated its 26 volumes of the local edition of the R.L. Polk City Directory. The volumes date from 1956 to 2001, with 20 volumes missing.

The R.L. Polk City Directories are known for the voluminous data collected and contain listings for businesses and residents, telephone numbers, addresses, occupations, business advertisements, and cross references. The books have been used by businesses, genealogists and historians for many years, and for more than 40 years the Polk City Directory was provided free to chambers of commerce.

“We’ve used them for all kinds of things,” in historical research, he said.

Archives founder Ed Verner and Gott donated several boxes of business books to the chamber for its library in return for the city directories.

The Photo Archives and History Center also has requested that local residents donate their old and used city directories to the nonprofit. For information, call the center’s office at (813) 754-1578.

Source: TBO

Myrle Henry Recevied Plant City Photo Archives & History Center Heritage Award


PLANT CITY – Plant City Photo Archives and History Center President Ed Verner announced the selection of J. Myrle Henry to receive the coveted Heritage Award, the organization’s highest award. Henry has been affiliated with local historical organizations for many years and has served as director and president of the East Hillsborough Historical Society.

Henry is a 1956 honor graduate of Plant City High School, where he received the American Legion Award. He received a Food Fair Stores Foundation Scholarship and a Hillsborough County Pharmaceutical Auxiliary scholarship and attended the University of Florida, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science, Pharmacy degree in 1961.

Active on campus, Henry served as an Honor Court Justice and an Executive Council Representative and was president of the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity.  He also was a member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon Honorary Earth Sciences Society, and Rho Chi, the Academic Honor Society in Pharmacy. In addition, he was awarded the J.K. Attwood Leadership Award at the College of Pharmacy annual senior banquet.

An active member of the Plant City community, Henry is a trustee of South Florida Baptist Hospital, a deacon of Plant City First Baptist Church, and a trustee of Evangelical University and Seminary. He is also the founder and past president of Baptist Towers of Plant City and the Plant City Living Center.

Henry is the founder of the Florida Opry and of the Strawberry Classic Car Show. He has also served as president of the Plant City Downtown Business and Merchants Association, director and treasurer of the East Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Chamber’s Economic Development Council, a member of the Hillsborough County Citizen Advisory Committee, a longtime member of the East Hillsborough Historical Society, president of the Lions Club, Grand Lion of Florida Lions Foundation for the Blind, Melvin Jones Fellow of Lions International, past chairman of the Plant City branch American Cancer Society, past president of the Hillsborough County Pharmacy Association, and is a member of the University of Florida College of Pharmacy National Advisory Board.


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Myrle Henry Heritage Award, add one


Henry was named Jaycees’ Outstanding Young Religious Leader, and in 2001 he was named Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the combined civic clubs of greater Plant City. In 2007 Henry received the Florida Bowl of Hygeia Award presented by the Florida Pharmacy Association in honor of his civic leadership and his community service. He has also received the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce “Good Egg” award.

Henry met Tommie C. Williams in Latin Class at Plant City High School in 1954. They were married in 1959. They have two daughters, Cheri Kim Henry Ennis and Dr. Kathy Lynn Henry.


The Heritage Award was established in 2004 to honor a citizen for his or her efforts to preserve the history and heritage of the greater Plant City community. Previous recipients are D.E. Bailey, Jr., James Redman, Robert Trinkle, B.M. “Mac” Smith, Betty Barker Watkins, Dr. Hal Brewer, Gladys Jeffcoat, James “Sonny” Jones, Bob Edwards, and Dr. Maribeth Mobley.


The Parolini Award was established in 2009 to honor volunteers for their outstanding and meritorious service and was named for Bill Parolini, a long-time assistant in the Photo Archives operations. The award was presented posthumously to Parolini and accepted by Mrs. Mary Jane Parolini. Other Parolini Award recipients include Linda Smith, Tim Martin, Bill Thomas, Betty Patton, Lou Baird, Anne Haywood, and David Patton.


The Photo Archives and History Center office, library, and gallery are located at 106 South Evers Street in downtown Plant City. The hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Restoring History One Photo at a Time