Featured Collections

Papers of Norman E. Jones, Sr.

800 533 tcollinson

The papers of Norman E. Jones, Sr. include selected recordings, correspondence, documents, newspaper clippings, and photographs documenting his controversial opinions on racial integration, civil rights, the Black Power Movement, and Black Studies.

Dates: ca. 1960s-1970s
Extent: 7 boxes

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Helen Saunders, Robert Saunders, and Steve Lawson

Robert W. and Helen S. Saunders papers

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The Robert and Helen Saunders Collection contains historically significant materials dealing with Civil Rights. Although the collection primarily centers on Tampa, Florida, materials relating to the Federal government’s efforts to deal with poverty through the Economic Opportunities Act also are included.

Dates: 1950 – 2001
Extent: 46 linear feet (77 boxes)

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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

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Bank of America Black American Music collection

868 632 tcollinson

The Bank of America Black American Music Collection consists of approximately 4000 pieces of published sheet music created, performed, or published by African Americans or that portrays African American themes throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the United States.

Dates: 1818 – late 1980s
Extent: 54 linear feet (35 boxes)

Click here to access catalog records for scores in the collection »

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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