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After becoming a federal holiday last year, Juneteenth in Tampa Bay takes on a new significance

A smiling man is sitting at a table in a map library.
Matthew Peddie
WUSF Public Media
Fred Hearns, curator of black history, in the map library of the Tampa Bay History Center.

Even though June 19 is the date of the federal holiday, Florida’s emancipation day is celebrated on May 20.

This week on Florida Matters, we learn about the history and impact of Juneteenth in the Tampa Bay area.

Juneteenth, which recognizes the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, only became a federal holiday last year.

Florida’s emancipation day is celebrated on May 20 but the federal holiday is a major step forward in acknowledging the history of Black citizens.

We’ll talk with members of the Black communities in Tampa and Sarasota about how Juneteenth has grown in significance among the wider community.

Later in the show we’ll hear from Walter Gilbert with the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition, about plans for a new cultural center in the city’s historic Newtown neighborhood.

But first: a conversation with Fred Hearns, the Tampa Bay History Center’s curator of Black History.

We met with Hearns at the history center, where he’s working on a new exhibit showcasing the achievements of the region’s Black community.

You can listen to host Matthew Peddie's conversations with Hearns and Gilbert by clicking on the “Listen” button above. Or you can listen on the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.”

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.