Kennedy headed the Florida Folklife program at the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. There he headed the collection of oral histories of freed slaves; he also worked with writer Zora Neale Hurston. In the 1940s he went undercover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia. The information he gathered was sent to Drew Pearson’s national radio program and resulted in Kennedy's book, THE KLAN UNMASKED. He was also a protégé of Alan Lomax and Woody Guthrie. Kennedy was in town to speak about his experiences to students at Eckerd College.

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