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Pensacola State College's WSRE and The University of West Florida Present an Original Production Celebrating Pensacola's Rich Spanish Heritage and Rarely Discussed Vital Role in The American Revolution

Yo Solo: Bernardo de Gálvez on the Stage of the American Revolution" Premieres July 2 on WSRE

Bernardo de GalvezBernardo de Gálvez. Oil painting, property of the
De Haya-Galvez Family, Malaga, Spain.

Pensacola, Fla. — WSRE – a service of Pensacola State College and The University of West Florida present an original television production – Yo Solo: Bernardo de Gálvez on the Stage of the American Revolution – premiering on WSRE Monday, July 2 at 8 p.m. (encore presentation on Thursday, July 5 at 8 p.m.). Chaz Mena, actor and Florida Humanities Council Scholar, enacts the role of Bernardo de Gálvez in a one-man stage performance. Filmed before a live television studio audience, the documentary includes an introduction and afterword by David Hartman.

Through reenactment of the events leading up to the eventual surrender of the British at the crucial Battle of Pensacola, Mena introduces you to Bernardo de Gálvez, the man. Intertwined with archival photographs, the documentary tells the unfamiliar story of one of the most significant engagements of the American Revolution – pitting Spain, who was allied with the Americans, against the British. Mena’s riveting performance brings Bernardo de Gálvez to life. The vibrant story of Pensacola’s and Florida’s role in the American fight for independence is one that stirs the imagination.

“It’s going to be a story that tells us about our past and also tells us, in many ways, who we are as Floridians,” said Margo Stringfield, the UWF archaeologist and Florida Humanities Council board member who spearheaded this project. “This project, along with several others, will lead us into 2013 when we formally commemorate Florida’s rich heritage,” she said.

“The story of Bernardo de Gálvez is monumental to our nation’s history, yet the pivotal role of Pensacola is so rarely discussed that most Floridians are unaware of its significance,” said Sandy Cesaretti Ray, General Manager of WSRE-TV. “WSRE is proud to play a part in the production of this project to help shine a light on Pensacola’s part in our country’s independence.”

DVDs of this original program will be available through WSRE in August. More information is available at wsre.org/Galvez.

Bernardo de Gálvez, who was a highly decorated Spanish military leader, served as Governor of Louisiana in 1777, and in the fall of 1779, began an eastward campaign originating in New Orleans to drive British forces from the Mississippi River Valley and from the Gulf Coast. After taking Baton Rouge, Natchez, and Mobile, Gálvez set his sights on Pensacola, a vital port and British stronghold on the Gulf Coast.

The Battle of Pensacola was one of the most significant engagements of the American Revolution. Gálvez commanded a diverse army of approximately 7,500 troops against heavily manned British fortifications. On May 10, 1781, the British surrendered to Gálvez, which allowed American Revolutionary forces a clear western front, and enabled General George Washington to concentrate his efforts against the British along the Eastern seaboard.

Today, the quiet landscape of the Historic North Hill neighborhood in Pensacola carpets the battlefield of the 18th century. In backyards and parks, and under modern streets, archaeological remains of complex defensive earthworks provide the physical documentation of the military operation that is so eloquently recounted by Gálvez in his diary.

In March, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner honored Bernardo de Gálvez with the Great Floridian Award designed to recognize and record the achievements of Floridians, living and deceased, who have made major contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.

For Educators
The program will be made available to all Florida teachers, along with a comprehensive packet of educational materials, to incorporate Gálvez into history curriculum. Resources can be requested through the office of Margo Stringfield at the University of West Florida.

About Chaz Mena
Chaz Mena earned an MFA in Drama from Carnegie-Mellon University and a BA in English Literature from Barry University in South Florida. His one-person treatments of the lives of José Martí and Pedro Menéndez de Avilés travel the country frequently. Both were commissioned with a grant from the Florida Humanities Council. Mena researched his Bernardo de Gálvez character utilizing resources at the University of West Florida while he was a UWF John C. Pace Visiting Eminent Scholar.

About David Hartman
David Hartman has produced, directed, written and hosted scores of award-winning television documentaries for networks, public television and cable. His awards include two National News and Documentary Emmys and the Aviation and Space Journalism Award. In 1975 Hartman was the original host of Good Morning America, a position he held for more than eleven years. He has conducted more than 12,000 interviews with heads of state, national and international leaders, people from all walks of life and families in the American heartland.

Funding for this project is provided by the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners through the Pensacola Archaeological Society in partnership with The University of West Florida, Florida Humanities Council, WSRE, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, North Hill Preservation Association and VIVA Florida.

About WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast
WSRE is a PBS member station that is locally owned and licensed to the Pensacola State College Board of Trustees operating as a service of Pensacola State College. The public broadcasting station has been serving the needs of the Gulf Coast community through programming, educational services and outreach since 1967. WSRE produces, acquires and distributes programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of its audience. The Educational Services unit for WSRE serves as the connection to teachers, parents, caregivers and children to extend the rich resources found in public television. For more information about WSRE, its services, programs or available resources, visit wsre.org.

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Media Note: For graphics, pictures, and other associated press releases visit WSRE's Pressroom at http://www.wsre.org/pressroom.

 

 




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