Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2010/11 Florida Conversations Lecture Series at the Tampa Bay History Center Welcomes Florida Political Icon

The Tampa Bay History Center begins its 2010/11 Florida Conversations Lecture Series on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. with former Florida Supreme Court Justice, State legislator, Hillsborough County Administrator and Tampa City Attorney, Fred Karl, who will discus his recently-published autobiography, The 57 Club: My Life in Florida Politics.

One of 39 legislators elected to serve in the Florida House of Representatives in 1957, Karl was part of the famed 57 Club, a group of mainly Democratic freshman members of the legislature who bravely challenged the “Pork Chop Gang” of rural North Florida. Karl’s political career spans nearly 50 years and his autobiography recalls the turmoil of Florida’s transformation away from its rural, racially segregated, Deep South roots to a modern Sun Belt state.

Frederick B. Karl was born in 1924 in Daytona Beach. At the age of 18, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and saw action as a tank platoon leader in Europe. Wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. He later served eight years as a state representative and four years as a state senator.

Karl became Florida's first public counsel in 1974 and was the last elected Justice of the Florida Supreme Court two years later. After resigning in 1978, he returned to government service--first as county attorney, then as county administrator of Hillsborough County. He was asked to take over the helm of Tampa General Hospital in 1994. After leaving this post, he was appointed city attorney by newly elected Tampa mayor, Pam Iorio. In 2004, at the age of 80, he officially retired for the fourth and final time.

Thursday’s talk will mark the opening of the 2010-11 Florida Conversations Lecture Series at the Tampa Bay History Center. Co-sponsored by the USF Libraries Florida Studies Center, Florida Conversations features authors and presenters covering a variety of Florida topics, from politics to fiction, history to environmental issues.

Florida Conversations is free and open to the public. Public parking is available at the Channelside garage and other city-owned lots. For more information, contact the Tampa Bay History Center at 228-0097.

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