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StoryCorps Tampa Bay: There's Thunder Somewhere


In this installment of StoryCorps  Tampa Bay, Al Campbell tells the story of a high school tragedy that helped pull a city together.

Al was head coach of the Gibbs High School football team in 1970. The district had attempted to close the school down, but opposition from the African American community led to an about-face. Some saw the attempted closing as a slight against the black population in downtown St. Pete.

The day before school was to start, Al Campbell was holding a football practice when several players in a huddle were struck by lightning. Two died.

The event helped vastly different schools come together and put aside racial tension, at least for a time.

“We Too Shall Rest” by Olafur Arnolds, from For Now I am Winter
“Villa del Refugio” by This Will Destroy You, from This Will Destroy You

StoryCorps Tampa Bay airs every Monday on WUSF 89.7 at 8:35 a.m. during Morning Edition and at 5:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

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