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Tallahassee's inaugural History Festival takes place in Kleman Plaza

People look at exhibits set up outside under a tent.
Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media
The Tallahassee Historical Society's booth had plenty of fascinating information about the Capital City's early days

Tallahassee's Kleman Plaza turned into a historical showcase on Saturday. It was the site of the city's first History Festival, presenting an unvarnished look at the Capital Region's sometimes complicated heritage.

The Plaza's grassy lawn was lined with booths and displays representing dozens of historical and cultural organizations. There were also speakers, like well-known Tallahassee physician and aviator, Dr. Alex Brickler.

"My talk is directly related to the Tuskegee Airmen and to Harriet Tubman. We - my family - are indirect descendants of Harriet Tubman and that history and the history of our country is a big part of where I'm going," he explained.

But Brickler also acknowledged there was a certain irony in the fact the festival was taking place in the literal shadow of the Florida Capitol. That's where a number of initiatives emerged this year that could limit the teaching of certain historical elements in the state's public schools.

"You can't suppress history! People are interested in our roots and where we come from, how we got where we are. And no matter what, you can't whitewash it or cover it up. It's going to be an interest in where we go next because our past tells us where we're headed."

The inaugural History Festival was hosted in part by Tallahassee Community College and the Tallahassee Historical Society.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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