The Lee County Black History Society, in partnership with the Southwest Florida Historical Society, is presenting a local component of the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit, Hometown Teams in American Communities, summer 2018. Fort Myers has proven to be fertile grounds for the development of future athletic stars in many sports; Deion Sanders, Jevon Kearse, Sammy Watkins, Walt Wesley, Nate Allen and Tre Boston. This local Exhibit component is called “From the Little Leagues to the Big Leagues” and will be displayed at Alliance for the Arts from June 30-August 11.
These are just some of the homegrown sports figures who have amazed us with their extraordinary athletic abilities. On the football field, basketball court or baseball field, these individuals have achieved greatness for their teams; forging relationships with their fans and communities that elevates them as role models. Nowhere do Americans more intimately connect to sports than in their hometowns. The Smithsonian Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program will celebrate this connection with the traveling exhibit Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America.
We are proud to have been chosen to participate in this American tradition, in recognition of the significant impact our hometown sports teams have on our communities and our lives. Whether it is professional sports, played on the collegiate/scholastic level, or amateur sports played by kids on the local playground, the fact is that sports are everywhere in America. This exhibit gives communities an opportunity to share stories, celebrate local legends and relive through history how sports have augmented their lives in some way throughout the years.
With the support and cooperation of the Florida Humanities Council and the Lee County Black History Society, we have developed complimentary exhibits to the Smithsonian one. We have produced activities to include our youngest sports participants and enthusiasts, as well as adults, to bring the action to other communities so that all can share in this most awesome experience. The goal of this project is to instill a sense of understanding about how sports bring people and communities together.
The following events/activities are free and open to the public.
ESSAY CONTEST (June 30-August 4)
How Playing Sports Has Impacted My Life — For participants in grades 6 – 12 with Prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Send entries to Southwest Florida Historical Society, 10091-A McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33919
*Essays must be received by midnight July 31st, 2018 to be eligible.
PANELS / DISCUSSIONS
Sports, Diversity & Society — An informative discussion with some of Fort Myers resident sports historians, administrators, Olympians and former professional athletes. Sports are about far more than who wins or loses games. Sports are part of the fabric of the wider culture, touching on everything from race to gender to economics and concepts of teamwork and camaraderie that resonate in schools, communities, and workplaces. As part of the programming associated with the Hometown Teams Exhibit, there will be two-panel presentations each discussing the different roles of sports in society. (We suggest that you attend both sessions to get a full perspective).
Saturday, July 14, 2018, at the Williams Academy Black History Museum, 1936 Henderson Ave., Fort Myers, FL 33916, from 12:00 – 2:00 PM. Contact: (239) 332-8778
Panelists: Liston Bochette-Olympian (Bobsled), Iris DeHoyos-mother of Tre Boston/Executive Director Beyond Belief Foundation, J. Webb Horton-FGCU TV Analyst/Tennis Professional, Kathy Oerter-Art of the Olympians Foundation/Track & Field Professional, Walt Wesley-NBA (Retired)
Saturday, July 21, 2018, Williams Academy Black History Museum, 1936 Henderson Ave., Fort Myers, FL 33916 from 12:00 – 2:00 PM. Contact: (239) 332-8778
Panelists: Liston Bochette-Olympian (Bobsleigh), Walter Grace-Former Sports Recruiter (Florida State), J. Webb Horton FGCU TV Analyst/Tennis Professional, Walt Wesley-NBA (Retired)
Contributions of Women In Sports
Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, Fort Myers Regional Library from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Speaker: Kathy Oerter, Art of the Olympians Foundation /Track & Field Professional
RACE – Jesse Owens’ quest to be the greatest track & field athlete in history thrusts him onto the stage of the 1936 Olympics, Date / Time: TBA, at Edison Ford Winter Estates
This exhibit is made possible by a Florida Humanities Council Grant awarded to the Southwest Florida Historical Society. Exhibit partners include the Smithsonian, Alliance for the Arts, and Lee County Black History Museum.
For more information on the Hometown Teams exhibit, call 239-939-2787 or visit www.ArtinLee.org/HometownTeams.
About the Southwest Florida Historical Society
Located on the campus of Lee County Alliance for the Arts in the building lovingly referred to as the ‘Little Yellow House’, the Southwest Florida Historical Society is a non-profit organization devoted to collecting and preserving cultural artifacts relevant to the History of Southwest Florida. The Society has been staffed entirely by volunteers for more than 50 years and in one of the oldest historical societies in Southwest Florida.
About the Lee County Black History Society
The Lee County Black History Society is intimately involved with preserving and commemorating cultural and educational contributions made by locally and nationally known African Americans. The society’s structures include The Williams Academy Black History Museum, a 1942 addition to the original Williams Academy, the first government-funded school for black students. The Williams Academy was built in 1913. The museum features Lee County African-American information. It was named for J. S. Williams, the Superintendent of Negro schools in Fort Myers.
About the Florida Humanities Council
The Florida Humanities Council sponsors community-based projects, facilitates important conversations among Floridians, and shines a spotlight on Florida’s history, art, and culture. Established in 1973, we are an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For over forty years we have developed and funded public programs that tell the stories of both Florida and those unique individuals that call this state their home.
About the Alliance for the Arts
The Alliance for the Arts is a nonprofit visual and performing community arts and cultural center located in the heart of Fort Myers, Florida. Since 1975, the Alliance has been charged with the mission to transform lives and improve community through the arts. The Alliance campus and galleries are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard just south of Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers. For more information, please call 239-939-2787, or visit at www.ArtinLee.org. Find on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ArtinLee.org). Instagram (@AlliancefortheArts) or follow on Twitter (@ArtinLee).