Florida’s Purge: The Johns Committee Witch Hunt

Dublin Core

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Title

Florida’s Purge: The Johns Committee Witch Hunt

Alternative Title

The Committee

Subject

Education--Florida
Civil rights--Florida
Gainesville (Fla.)
Tallahassee (Fla.)
Colleges
Universities
Homosexuality--Florida

Description

Florida’s Purge: The Johns Committee Witch Hunt, known colloquially as The Committee, is a short film about the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee's investigation of communism and homosexuality amongst students and faculty at Florida colleges and universities. Commonly known as the Johns Committee, the committee was led by state senator and former governor Charley Eugene Johns (1905-1990). The committee was established in 1956 and originally focused on the investigation of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, an historically African-American university, for its faculty's and staff's involvement of the Tallahassee Bus Boycott (1956-1957). However, as the committee expanded its McCarthy era anti-communist witch hunt, it came to focus on the homosexual lifestyles of many faculty members and students at colleges and universities. After growing public critique of the committee's activities, it was eventually disbanded on July 1, 1965.

The Committee centers on the anti-homosexual investigations of the Johns Committee. The film was produced and directed by University of Central Florida professor Dr. Robert A. Cassanello and Dr. Lisa Mills. Other producers include Slyvana Fernández and Logan Kriete, and Monica Monticello serves as associate producer. The screenplay was written by Monica Monticello, Kathryn Paulson, and Amy Simpson, with research conducted by Alex Boyce and Shay Cambre. Ben Taylor and Alex Wood were the cinematographers and the arts and graphics were created by Patrick Fenelon and Adrien Mills. The film was edited by Aaron Hosé, with the aid of assistant editors Chelsea Echols and David Mariutto. The Committee includes interviews with Ruth Jense-Forbell, a lesbian student interrogated by the Florida State University Police Department in 1964-1965; Chuck Woods, a homosexual student interrogated by the University of Florida Police Department while attending the university from 1959 to 1965; John Tileston, Sr., a UF police officer who investigated various faculty members and students, including Woods; Dr. Karen Graves, a professor of education at Denison University and the author of And They Were Wonderful Teachers: Florida’s Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers; Dr. Judith Poucher, a professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville; Bob Graham, a graduate of UF, the 38th Governor of Florida (1979-1987), and former U.S. Senator for Florida (1987-2005); and Dr. Fred Fejes, a professor of multimedia studies at Florida Atlantic University. Florida’s Purge: The Johns Committee Witch Hunt won various awards and accolades, including an Emmy Award.

Creator

Cassanello, Robert A.
Mills, Lisa
Fernández, Slyvana
Kriete, Logan

Source

Original 23-minute and 58-second motion picture produced by Dr. Robert A. Cassanello, Dr. Lisa Mills, Slyvana Fernández, and Logan Kriete: Florida's Purge: The Johns Committee Witch Hunt, RICHES of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, 2013.

Date Created

2013-2014

Date Copyrighted

2014

Contributor

Hosé, Aaron
Monticello, Monica
Paulson, Kathryn
Simpson, Amy
Taylor, Ben
Wood, Alex
Brown, Timothy
Hosé, Brigitte
Echols, Chelsea
Mariutto, David
Boyce, Alex
Cambre, Shay
Fenelson, Patrick
Mills, Adrien
Jensen-Forbell, Ruth
Woods, Chuck
Fejes, Fred
Graham, Bob
Graves, Karen
Poucher, Judith
Tileston, John, Sr.
Jensen-Forbell, Elizabeth

Is Part Of

General Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Format

application/website

Medium

23-minute and 58-second motion picture

Language

eng

Type

Moving Image

Coverage

Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida
Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City, New York

Accrual Method

Item Creation

Mediator

History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher
Geography Teacher

Provenance

Originally produced by Dr. Robert A. Cassanello, Dr. Lisa Mills, Slyvana Fernández, and Logan Kriete and published by RICHES of Central Florida.

Curator

Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

External Reference

Cassanello, Robert A., Lisa Mills, Slyvana Fernández, and Logan Kriete. Florida's Purge: The Johns Committee Witch Hunt. RICHES of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, 2013.
Graves, Karen. And They Were Wonderful Teachers: Florida's Purge of Gay and Lesbian Teachers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.
Beutke, Allyson A., et al. Behind Closed Doors The Dark Legacy of the Johns Committee. Gainesville, Fla: University of Florida, Dept. of Journalism, Documentary Institute, 2000.

Locations

Categories