The Tampa Soulwalk will pay tribute to the city's rich Black history
The 46-mile trail will traverse 25 neighborhoods and feature public art. It will highlight some of Tampa's most historic Black landmarks — including churches, cemeteries, and other sites.
The city of Tampa is celebrating the area's Black heritage with a trail that will spotlight area landmarks and tell the stories of people and events that help shaped the city's rich Black history.
According to a news release, the Tampa Soulwalk will be a 46-mile route that will encompass 25 neighborhoods and take visitors on a tour of some of Tampa's most historic Black landmarks — including churches, cemeteries, and other historic locations.
"Tampa Soulwalk is an incredible opportunity for our community to come together and learn about the rich and diverse history of Tampa," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in the release. "It will not only bring to light the contributions and creative resiliency of our city's Black communities, but also provide a platform for discussions about equity, inclusion, and cultural diversity.
"We are excited to share this trail with visitors and invite everyone to come explore and learn about the unique history that makes Tampa the vibrant and diverse city it is today."
The Soulwalk, which opens in the spring, will originate in downtown Tampa and traverse locations across the city — including Ybor City, Sulphur Springs, East and West Tampa.
It will include more than 100 stops, along with more than two dozen art installations that will be in place by the end of the year.
Visitors can use a digital guide, which includes a map and photos at the locations, and printed maps of the walking routes to learn more about the historic locations throughout the city.
- The Historic Harlem Academy, built in 1868 and served as the city's first public school for Black children
- The two remaining original houses from The Scrub, the city's first Black neighborhood which was established after the Civil War
- The Jackson House, built in 1899 and served as a boarding house for Black travelers
- Several churches, including Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church on Central Avenue and part of The Scrub neighborhood
During a news conference Wednesday, Castor said the Soulwalk will offer a glimpse of Tampa's history while serving as a learning experience.
"People sometimes would ask what is the importance of history, I know when my children when they had to study history, 'Why are we learning this? Why are we learning what occurred in the past?" Castor said.
"It is critically, critically important to our future that we know and understand our history so that we can celebrate the past, but also to ensure that we don't make the same mistakes that we made in the past."
The Soulwalk is a collaboration with the city and organizations including the Tampa Bay History Center, University of South Florida, Visit Florida, and the Florida Humanities Council.
Community events are being planned around the Soulwalk, including discussion panels and workshops by local artists and historians.