Gary R. Mormino


In October 1939, the Jacksonville Journal published a story describing a federally-funded project going on in Florida that would have a far-reaching impact on future scholarship. “On disks that time can’t destroy, a sapphire needle scratches the songs of the longshoreman and waterfront workers which, because of mechanical equipment and the jook organ, are fast disappearing.“ The paper not only detailed the technology that was being utilized, it pointed out the importance of the technicians, in this case, Stetson Kennedy of Jacksonville and Robert Harrison Cook. Representatives of the Federal Writers’ Project, Kennedy and Cook had honeycombed the hinterland and bayous in search of vanishing Floridians— turpentiners, muleskinners, and jook artists.