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Aug. 28 Is A Significant Day In Black History. Here's How To Recognize It Across Tampa Bay

Officers stand by in 1955 as religious leaders from Chicago demonstrate outside the White House in Washington over the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.
Officers stand by in 1955 as religious leaders from Chicago demonstrate outside the White House in Washington over the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till.

Saturday is a historic day in African-American history. Here are some significant local events, as well as related events.

Saturday is a historic day in African American History. Aug. 28 is known as the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

But according to the African American Heritage Association of St. Petersburg, it also marks other significant events, from the tragic kidnapping and murder of Emmett Till to the 2008 nomination of the first black man for president: Barack Obama.

More recently, August 28, 2020, also marked the loss of superhero and Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who lost his battle with colon cancer.

Locally, the date, and the week around it, holds some significance, too.

August 1968: The "Courageous 12" was a group of St. Petersburg African-American police officers sued the city for discrimination. The lawsuit was filed on May 11, 1965 and the officers won the case on appeal in August 1968.

August 30, 1968: St. Petersburg’s four-month sanitation workers strike, which began on May 6, 1968, comes to an end. More than 40 marches took place during those 116 days, often starting at the Jordan Park Community Center and ending at City Hall.

Aug. 29, 1998: African-American Minister Peggy M. Peterman retired as a columnist and editorial writer with the St. Petersburg Times in Florida after 31 years as a journalist.

August 20, 2017: St. Pete City officials and community visionaries gathered to rededicate the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum. The three-year battle to save the museum is over.

On Aug. 28, 2020: The St. Pete Catalyst reported no one will lose their home when the Florida Department of Transportation widens Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg. Residents feared taking the Deuces Live property would thwart economic development efforts in the historic Black community.

Things To Do:

Tampa Bay History Center’s Central Avenue Black History Walking Tour

Tour “the Harlem of the South,” Tampa’s Central Avenue district. Learn about life in Tampa’s African-American community from the 1890s through the late 1960s. This outdoor trek begins at the Tampa Park Plaza and explores the social, political, musical and religious traditions of Black life in Tampa.

An Evening With Green Book of Tampa Bay

The Green Book of Tampa Bay is a black-owned business directory that serves Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. It builds upon the history of the “Negro Motorist Green Book” during the days of segregation.

This even features a talk with artists who are part of the Green Book’s latest exhibit, a brief discussion of the history of Green Book, plus performances from rapper Shadcore and singer Sun De.

A self-guided tour of the African American Heritage Trail

The African American Heritage Trail of St. Pete chronicles the first 100 years of African American culture, community, and contribution to the city. Thanks to a nearly $60,000 grant from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and a partnership with the Florida Holocaust Museum, the African American Heritage Trail will be available as a guided, app-style digital tour and a YouTube series. View a sneak peak of the digitization of the trail here.

Visit the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum

The museum presents the historic voice of St. Petersburg's Midtown community from the perspective of local, regional, and national history, culture, and community. It is another demonstration of the commitment to revitalize Midtown.

You can also schedule tours through the African American Heritage Association of St. Petersburg on the African American Heritage Trail.

Visit the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art

Visit the museum’s temporary exhibit – REVERBERATIONS: Black Artists On Racism & Resilience.

Presented by the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, REVERBERATIONS shares artwork from emerging and established Black artists who live and work in Tampa Bay and across the southeastern United States. Through each artist’s own perspective, this exhibition will challenge viewers with stories of structural racism and oppression, as well as celebrate hope and resilience.

Dig through the archives of St. Petersburg African American History at the University of South Florida Nelson Poynter Memorial Library

The Weekly Challenger has documented the history of St. Petersburg's African American community since the newspaper was established by Cleveland Johnson Jr. in September 1967.

In 2013 an agreement between the USF Nelson Poynter Memorial Library and the Johnson family allowed the library to become the home for existing print issues of The Weekly Challenger.

This research guide is part of the USF Libraries African American Experience in Florida (AAE) online portal.

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