Gov. DeSantis nixes funding for 1619Fest, Harry and Harriette Moore figures
Image via WUCF

Harriette and Harry Moore
The Black History projects were part of significant cultural spending vetoed by the Governor.

Gov. Ron DeSantis nixed funding for the Black History Month Celebration in Orlando, including for the 1619Fest Orlando and Rebel Run 5K.

The Legislature had set aside $200,000 for the event from general revenue sources.

Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, lobbied successfully in the Legislature for the funding. But it fell to the veto pen along with millions in other cultural grants and spending.

The Equity Council had requested the dollars, and argued in a state application the funding would satisfy requirements in state law to educate about Black history.

“1619Fest encouraged and organizes activities during Black History Month and throughout the year to expand understanding and appreciation of 400 years of African American History,” reads a request.

The organization, though, also bore a name derived from The 1619 Project, an education endeavor by The New York Times to critically examine America’s history and its ties to slavery. The effort sparked criticism from the Right, and was specifically cited when Florida lawmakers — at DeSantis’ urging — banned teaching critical race theory in state schools.

It’s not the only funding tied to Black History that DeSantis nixed.

He also killed $200,000 set aside for animatronic figures at the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Cultural Complex in Mims.

Rep. Tyler Sirois, a Merritt Island Republican, had sought that funding in the budget. The center is named for Florida civil rights martyrs from the community, and the application from the cultural complex said the figures would “educate guests on the history of this heroic couple’s remarkable accomplishments, prominent civil rights leadership and ultimately their deaths in 1951, which was the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.”

The Moores, local NAACP leaders, were killed when Ku Klux Klan members bombed their home.

DeSantis also axed $200,000 set for promoting Florida’s Black Music Legacy.

But he didn’t just nix funding tied to Black cultural grants. In fact, he vetoed $825,000 set aside for the Penny Lane Beatles Museum in his hometown of Dunedin.

The Governor also eliminated $500,000 for a digital concert hall for The Florida Orchestra and $75,000 for the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Terri

    June 15, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    He’s a racist SOB !

  • Dont Say FLA

    June 15, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    Rhonda is just a Ticketmaster kind of guy.

  • Marie Dolson

    June 15, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    Because if you are black, brown or gay in Florida you don’t exist.

  • PeterH

    June 15, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    Florida taxpayers would rather spend millions of dollars on flying migrants from Texas to California on chartered jets!

  • Michael K

    June 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    Why is Ron Dee so afraid of brown people, LGBTQ people and women? Sick little puppy has fever dreams of a new confederacy.

  • WiseOld1

    June 15, 2023 at 7:45 pm

    Gov. Ron DeSantis has proven over and over again his hatred towards Black and Brown people. He doesn’t try to hide it. I can recall twice that he had refused to denounce any hate groups, i.e., White Supremacists, Nazi’s. Look at what happen outside the entrance of Disney World. A former student indicated during his term as a teacher – he was always ‘hostile’ towards Blacks in the classroom. What about that Guantanamo Bay incident? And don’t forget about his continued fight wit Disney? Narcissism, coupled with this level of hatred he has in his heart – is a recipe for, not only disaster, but total ‘DESTRUCTION.’ Just think of how the USA would be if he becomes president.

  • Patricia

    June 18, 2023 at 7:49 pm

    While I am greatly bothered by this Gov. I am even more bothered that my Black and Brown sisters and brothers are sitting by and doing nothing they seem to just be standing in the corner eyes closed and not caring that this Gov. single handling trying to destroy our history and the blood sweat and tears that African Americans in this State endured to help this State along with building this Nation. I don’t understand why haven’t the Black and Brown attorneys filed lawsuits against him, why are my people so fearful have they become so boughie they are just to sit by and allow this racist Gov. to destroy our culture our heritage. And, who is he to judge anyone lifestyle he has no Heaven or Hell to put anyone in Seniors and other people in this State can bearly survive, Seniors and the low Income in this State are struggling to just pay rent does he care no he doesn’t that’s because most are Black and Brown people that’s why he doesn’t care.

  • Theodis J. Bob

    June 19, 2023 at 10:58 am

    The thing that disappoints me the most about Ron DeSantis is that he was a Commissioned Officer in the US Navy. I was an Officer in the US Army. I also have a BS Degree in Political Science. What I do know is that there is no better Leadership Training than the US MILITARY. We see Historically US Presidents were usually Military Leaders because of the great experience in decision making, problem solving abilities mixed with caring for subordinates. It seems that todays politicians just lie to get elected, then turn Dictators after elected. What happened to Character? Politicians are Public Servants, not self-serving Brats/Bullies.

Comments are closed.


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