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Florida Matters: Telling Tampa Bay Stories – Midtown

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.  

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Miss the broadcast? Listen to the show here.

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.

Lottie Watts is our Florida Mattersproducer, and she also covers health and health policy for.
Carson Cooper has become a favorite of WUSF listeners as the host of "Morning Edition" on WUSF 89.7 since he took the job in 2000. Carson has worked in Tampa Bay radio for three decades.
I’m the lucky one who guides the WUSF News team as it shares news from across Florida and the 13 amazing counties that we call the greater Tampa Bay region.
I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.
Almost every day, I come before the microphone with the same enthusiasm as the Dani Rojas character in the “Ted Lasso” television series. I do 100 pushups, take some laps around the house, thank my supervisors and audience for giving me the opportunity to do what I love, bellow “Radio is liiiife” from the back steps, and bound back to my garret and get to work.