Lee Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce a free presentation by folklorist Robert Stone entitled, “Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition,” on Feb. 25, at 7 PM at the Marco Island Historical Museum.
Cattle were introduced into the present-day United States when Juan Ponce de León brought Spanish cattle to Florida in 1521. Stone’s multi-media presentation explores and celebrates the history and culture of the nation’s oldest cattle ranching state from the colonial period to the 21st century. Attendees will see and hear all aspects of Florida cattle ranching traditions, including material culture such as Cracker cow-whips and unique ranch gate designs, swamp cabbage and other foodways, cowboy church and Cracker cowboy funerals, Seminole ranching past and present, occupational skills such as roping and branding, our vibrant rodeo culture, side-splitting cowboy poetry, feisty cow-dogs and much more.
Stone is an independent folklorist and media-producer based in Gainesville. In 2011, the Florida Department of State honored him with the Florida Folk Heritage Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a lifelong advocate of the folk arts and folk artists of Florida. He conducted extensive field documentation and served as co-curator for the large traveling exhibition “Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition,” which has been viewed by more than 520,000 visitors from Florida to Nevada. He edited the exhibition catalog, which was published in February 2013 by the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation. His documentary photos have been shown in numerous exhibitions and published in “Newsweek,” “The New York Times,” “Forum,” “Wooden Boat” and other print media. He is the author of “Sacred Steel: Inside an African-American Steel Guitar Tradition,” University of Illinois Press, 2010.