Year

2020

Season

Fall

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Department

History

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of History

First Advisor

Dr. Denise Bossy

Second Advisor

Dr. Alison Bruey

Third Advisor

Dr. Felicia Bevel

Department Chair

Dr. David Sheffler

College Dean

George Rainbolt

Abstract

Between 1885 and 1930 visitors and residents in St. Augustine, Florida were treated to a historical pageant, the Ponce de León Celebration. Presented over the course of several days in spring, the Celebration featured a historical pageant and other forms of entertainment. While there were repeated claims from event organizers of historical accuracy, the scenes presented during the pageant represent largely fictionalized views of early Florida, Native American, and African American history. Over the years, organizers carefully crafted St. Augustine’s founding myth through a process of glorification, misrepresentation, and erasure. Each chapter will examine one of the methods PDLC organizers used during their creation of St. Augustine’s founding myth, from the glorification of the city’s Spanish heritage through Ponce de León to the misrepresentation of Native Americans and the erasure of African Americans from the historical narrative. Utilizing primary source research conducted at several archives in Florida, this paper will look at the three eras of the celebration.

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