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Florida Matters: Telling Tampa Bay Stories – Midtown

Jul 25, 2016

WUSF News has embarked on a new storytelling mission called "Telling Tampa Bay Stories," where our journalists will be visiting some of the region’s lesser-known spots to record interviews with members of those communities.

We're beginning with  stories from the historic African-American community in south St. Petersburg known as Midtown.  

Recently, WUSF News staff and University of South Florida St. Petersburg journalism students met with dozens of residents at the Dr. Carter G. Woodsen African-American Museum in St. Petersburg. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 17 at 7:30 a.m.), we bring you stories from:

·         Shirley Smith-Hayes, who recalled leaving her job in a grocery store deli to work in insurance.

·         Starlin Martin, an artist from Tampa who crafted two of the sculptures on display at the Woodsen Museum, including one of the museum’s namesake, and one of Elder Jordan, Sr., a developer who was instrumental in construction on 22nd Street South in the 1920s and 1930s.

·         Leonard Waller, who talks about his mother and father, and how he still dreams of his childhood in Midtown.

·         Elihu Brayboy, who witnessed 22nd Street South during its heyday, as well as during its decline in the 1980s. He is now part of the revitalization of the neighborhood.

·         Paul Stewart, whose grandmother boarded African-American professional baseball players when segregation prevented them from staying at St. Petersburg hotels.

·         Ruby King-Shannon and her brother, Fred Frederick, who grew up in the neighborhood where Tropicana Field now sits.

USFSP students Tatiana Cubas, Tracy Karp, Sarah Mason, Samantha Sotos, Miranda Borchardt, Marla Korenich, Laura Mulrooney, Katie Callihan, Esteban Rodriguez, David Stoner and Darja Perisi worked alongside WUSF News staff to conduct the interviews in February 2016.

Their coursework in the Neighborhood News Bureau is led by Dr. Bernardo Motta, a professor with USFSP's Department of Journalism and Media Studies.