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Events: Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum

October 5, 2011

View photos from the event

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers was on campus Wednesday, October 5th with a traveling exhibit whose purpose is to educate the public about how agricultural workers are treated in FL. The exhibit itself is contained in a cargo truck fitted with displays and accompanying speakers. More details about the traveling Slavery Museum can be found at http://www.ciw-online.org/museum

The CIW has received the 2010 TIP Hero Award from the U.S. Department of State. On the occasion of the State Department's release of the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which for the first time included the United States in its rankings. In recognition of "perseverance against slavery operations in the U.S. agricultural industry" and "determination to eliminate forced labor in supply chains."

This exhibit was jointly sponsored by the Library and the Social & Behavioral Sciences and Humanities Departments.

Press Release About the Event:

Traveling Museum Highlights Modern-Day Slavery in Florida

Makes stop at Northwest Campus on Oct. 5

Many people imagine that slavery and involuntary servitude disappeared 150 years ago, but for some farm workers it is still a reality today. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida created the traveling Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum to call attention to their ongoing anti-slavery campaign. The museum focuses on the phenomenon of modern-day slavery -- its roots, the reasons it persists, and solutions.

Santa Fe will host the CIW museum at the Northwest campus, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct 5. The traveling museum will be located behind the Lawrence W. Tyree Library (Building Y). Presentations will be held between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the library's Constitution Wing on the second floor. The event is free and open to the public.

Presentations include:

  • 11 a.m. - SF Professors David Tegeder and Andy Anderson - Topic: "Labor, Law and Lynching: The Long Legacy of Forced Labor in the Deep South"
  • Noon - Representatives of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Topic: "Conditions Today"
  • 1 p.m. - SF Professor Doug Klepper - Topic: "An Enduring Peculiar Institution – Slavery!"

The traveling museum consists of a cargo truck outfitted as a replica of the trucks involved in a recent slavery operation, accompanied by displays and interactive exhibits on the history and evolution of slavery in Florida. The museum emphasizes recent cases of slavery prosecuted in federal courts involving migrant farm workers. The exhibits were developed in consultation with workers who escaped from forced labor operations and leading academic authorities on slavery and labor history in Florida.

"Everyone who comes to see the museum can meet actual workers involved and hear directly about conditions today," said LIbrary Director Myra Sterrett. "It makes one think about the food we eat and what it takes to get it on our plates. Most people are not aware of the conditions of farm workers."

According to a CIW press release, three labor contractors were indicted in U.S. District Court in July 2010 and charged with human trafficking for enslaving more than 50 Haitian workers on a farm in Alachua County. The workers had their passports taken from them in Miami, they were driven to Steven Davis Farms in Alachua County, and forced to work without compensation, health care, or adequate food or shelter for more than a year. The museum highlights similar cases in the last five years from the potato and cabbage farms around Palatka and Hastings and the tomato fields near Immokalee.

The Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum has toured Florida extensively and was also hosted by the U.S. State Department and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The museum is endorsed by 10 leading human rights and anti-slavery organizations.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Santa Fe library and SF's Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities departments, and was made possible by Gainesville's Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice. For more information, please visit the museum's website at www.ciw-online.org/museum/index.html, or contact at 395-5150.

~ This press release was written by Amanda Hernandez, Communication Specialist, College Relations

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