Featured Collections

Photo Gallery of Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson collection

800 617 tcollinson

The papers in this collection related to Jacqueline Woodson’s professional career and include typescripts, correspondence, and sample dust covers for published works.

Dates: 2001-2003
Extent: 3 boxes

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

read more

Jordan Park collection

1024 791 tcollinson

Named for African American developer Elder Jordan, Sr., the Jordan Park public housing subdivision in St. Petersburg, Florida was constructed between 1939 and 1941. The community’s development is documented in site maps, construction photographs, and newspaper clippings.

Dates: 1884-ca.1980s
Extent: 3.80 linear feet

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

read more
Photo of Ernest Ponder

Ernest Ayer Ponder collection

914 1024 tcollinson

Ernest Ponder was a teacher at Gibbs High School (St. Petersburg, FL) between 1945 and 1969. This collection, donated by Ponder’s wife Clara M. Ponder, includes family documents, articles, speeches, and publications produced by Pinellas County Schools.

Dates: ca. 1950s-1990s
Extent: 2 boxes, 1 scrapbook, and 1 folder of oversized materials

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

read more
Jackson Rooming House

The Jackson Rooming House

700 700 tcollinson

The Jackson Rooming House in downtown Tampa, Florida is the last of an era of homes used as segregated boarding structures for African Americans before the 1965 Civil Rights Act.  The house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed in stages from circa 1901 to 1920. USF Libraries Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections, in partnership with the Tampa Bay History Center, created this 3D pointcloud for joint digital preservation and exhibition efforts.

Click here to access the digital model »

read more

Welcome to the African American Experience in Florida Portal

In 2020, soon after the world learned of the death of George Floyd, USF Libraries Dean Todd Chavez wrote in an email that “Anyone watching the recent protests and demonstrations has to wonder, how will we solve the deep, ingrained problem of systemic racism? The Dean’s message continued by stating that the USF Libraries would contribute to the solution by leveraging existing collections to “promote peaceful solutions and promote social justice for all.” The USF Libraries Special Collections in Tampa and St. Petersburg are supporting that initiative by creating this portal.

Stories of racism against African Americans, ranging from narratives of the formerly enslaved to news reports about Black Lives Matter protests, are preserved in the USF Libraries archival collections that serve as the foundation for this portal. These collections are not only about the history of injustice, but also the regular daily lives of individuals, families, businesses, culture and communities during the state’s long history.

The portal you are visiting is just the beginning of a long-term project to highlight current and future materials that advance the conversation about the African American experience in Florida. We look forward to preserving and sharing those stories with you.





Black-Owned Businesses


The Arts




General African-American History


Latest Blog Entries

AA Sheet Music Cover Image

Expanding Access to the Bank of America Black American Music Collection

779 1024 Tomaro Taylor

Music by J. Eubie Blake The USF Libraries’ Bank of America Black American Music Collection, commonly referred to as the African American Sheet Music Collection, was acquired in 1988. Approximately 4,000 sheets and scores comprise the collection, which spans nearly two centuries of popular music. The collection features pieces written, produced, published, and performed by…

read more

Booker T. Washington High School

150 150 Tomaro Taylor

Excelsior:  the senior class annual of Booker T. Washington High School.  Floridiana Collection, USF Libraries – Tampa Special Collections, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.  The first graduating class (1927) of Booker T. Washington High School saw massive changes during their four years at the first high school in Hillsborough County, FL available to African…

read more
Photo of Anti-Violence Display

Black Women Anti-Violence Activists Display at the USF Tampa Library

768 1024 Tomaro Taylor

In honor of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, the USF Tampa Library has partnered with the USF Center for Victim Advocacy & Violence Prevention to create an interactive display showcasing Black Women Anti-Violence Activists. From Harriet Ann Jacobs to Kimberlé Crenshaw, the display shines a light on activists that address the violence and…

read more