Throughout February, Tampa Bay Times reporters and photographers have been committed to sharing Black History Month stories.
We’ve uncovered untold stories, from the latest updates on Black cemetery news to the harrowing tale of a hidden St. Petersburg lynching. We’ve also profiled individuals making history today, like the leader of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum and the Gibbs High graduate who just reached the highest rank at America’s most prestigious ballet.
Check out these stories and more below.
Telling Black histories
History of a St. Petersburg lynching was hidden. Not anymore.
In 1914, John Evans was attacked by an angry mob and killed before a jury or judge weighed in.
An engraved metal plate commemorating where he was lynched ended up in a file drawer at the city’s Historic Preservation Office. No one seems to know who placed it or when.
This month, with help from community groups, a new memorial was erected to recognize a dark chapter in St. Petersburg’s past.
Meet the Black Floridians behind these Tampa Bay landmarks
They brought change around Florida. Now their names are on streets and landmarks around Tampa Bay.
Read the stories of a fearless female stunt pilot, a man who helped bring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Tampa, a formerly enslaved woman-turned-business owner, and more.
Tampa Bay civil rights leader knows, 50 years later, that he was targeted by FBI
The FBI surveilled Askia Muhammad Aquil — then known as Otha Favors — as part of its Counterintelligence Program of domestic organizations. His only “crime,” he said, was being Black and a vocal leader in the civil rights movement. “So, I was harassed.”
Is St. Pete really that progressive? A familiar face says maybe not.
Terri Lipsey Scott is everywhere — holding events, raising money for a $20 million African American museum. When it comes to racial equity, the executive director of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum says the city could be doing more.
Uncovering and remembering Black cemeteries
Historic marker honors Black cemetery erased during construction of MacDill
Port Tampa Cemetery disappeared when the base was constructed in the late 1930s. The headstones were removed, but the graves remain under still-undeveloped land that is part of the base near the corner of Interbay Boulevard and Manhattan Avenue.
Grave markers found at the former site of a Black cemetery in Clearwater
It was previously believed that only unmarked graves were left behind when the cemetery was moved in 1954. Caskets are there, the archaeologists said, but that is not all they found.
Hillsborough School District unveils proposed memorial to lost Ridgewood Cemetery
The District showed proposed renderings of a walkable memorial to honor those buried in Ridgewood Cemetery for the indigent and unknown — and to ensure it will neither be forgotten nor lost again. The presentation came 15 months after it was announced that at least 145 unmarked graves belonging to Ridgewood were on Tampa’s King High campus.
Black history and the arts
Pinellas native reaches highest rank at America’s most prestigious ballet
Gibbs High alum Calvin Royal III is now a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre in New York. He is the second Black man to attain the rank of principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre, and the first in decades.
Art provides a rare glimpse at Tampa’s historic Black neighborhoods
Karl Moseley’s drawings depict what life was like in the Scrub and Garrison neighborhoods in the 1930s. They are now more than artwork. They are history lessons for Tampa’s long-gone pioneering Black neighborhoods.
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