Interview with Stetson Kennedy Date: September 22, 1981
Three reel to reel recordings. In the interview, Kennedy discusses Stanley Papio; the WPA and the Federal Writers Project; working with anthropologist/writer Zora Neale Hurston; Carita Doggett Corse; collecting folklife during the 1930s; painter Mario Sanchez; his many books; infiltrating the KKK; work with labor unions; and the reprinting of the Folk Songs of Florida by Alton Morris, and Kennedy's Palmetto Country. Stetson Kennedy was one of the earliest folklorists working in Florida. Born in 1916, the Jacksonville native began collecting Northeast Florida folk sayings as a teenager. After a stint at the University of Florida, Kennedy joined the Florida WPA Writers Project in 1937 to administer the folklore, oral history, and ethnic studies section. Among the workers he supervised was novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. Soon thereafter he published Palmetto Country, an exploration of Florida folklife edited by Erskine Caldwell. His papers from the WPA are housed within the Florida Folklife Collection. Although he remained a lifelong folklife supporter, in the 1940s and 1950s, Kennedy also worked to end Jim Crow laws and helped exposed the Ku Klux Klan with several publications.