Central Avenue

Yoselis Ramos

Tampa community leaders gathered Tuesday morning for a groundbreaking at the Perry Harvey Senior Park in downtown Tampa. 

The park celebrates the history of Central Avenue- the hub of black-owned businesses that flourished during segregation along that street, the black entertainers who passed through, and the local civil rights activists who left their footprints in Tampa.


Dorothy Harvey Keel is one of Perry Harvey's daughters. "I wish that he was here to experience it so that he would know people were appreciative," she said.

Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

The city of Tampa has been planning a redevelopment of Perry Harvey Sr. Park for years. In the same park sits a 35-year-old skate bowl, which recently made it on the National Register of Historic Places. Because the facelift would require federal money, the city has to plan how to take care of both the new park and figure out what to do with the Bro Bowl.

New Group Instills Hope to Save Jackson House

Nov 1, 2013

A group of historic preservationists is stepping up to see what can be done to save the 24-bedroom Jackson Boarding House--a piece of Tampa's history from when Central Avenue was the hub of African-American businesses. The house needs to be shored, a $50,000 job, and insurance has to be bought to protect the city from any claims.

The Jackson House: Still an Unpolished Gem

Oct 13, 2013
WUSF/Yoselis Ramos

There have been a few projects geared to create a renaissance of the rich African-American history that is part of the bedrock of Tampa.

WUSF/Yoselis Ramos

Central Avenue was once the "Harlem of Tampa," where black-owned businesses flourished. The historic Jackson House – a boarding house – rented rooms to stars like Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway. Former Florida NAACP director, civil rights activist Robert W. Saunders was born and raised just around the corner.