Featured Collections

Heart of St. Petersburg Map

Winifred S. “Winnie” Foster research collection

600 565 tcollinson

Winifred S. Foster’s commitment to social justice and civil liberties, as well as her interest in and work with state and local political organizations, is chronicled in clippings, newsletters, correspondence, ephemera, and related materials.

Dates: 1964-2004
Extent: 7 boxes

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

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Al Hackett papers

407 342 tcollinson

The Al Hackett papers consist of assorted documents collected or produced by Al Hackett on the topics of Florida wildlife, historic sites, and tourism.

Dates: 1961-1980
Extent: 1 box

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

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St. James Parish School photo

USF Department of Anthropology African Americans in Florida research project

700 700 tcollinson

The collection includes materials for the USF Department of Anthropology’s African American in Florida research project, the department’s Central Avenue Legacies Project, and materials originally created and/or collected by the CETA Black History of Tampa Project.

Dates: 1930-1980
Extent: 10.5 linear feet (22 boxes)

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

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Progress Village Community

Progress Village records

1024 702 tcollinson

These records outline the planning and construction of the Progress Village community in Hillsborough County, Florida.

Dates: 1957 – 1977
Extent: 2.25 linear (3 boxes)

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

Click here to access collection contents online »

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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


Latest Blog Entries

Customers seated at the Progress Village Diner

Black Culinary Traditions in Tampa

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The menu of African American Tampans was remarkably resilient, preserved in part by the celebration of “soul food” and Black pride, both of which flowered in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Single page entry from the Federal Writers Project

Federal Writers Project records

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The Federal Writers project (FWP) was begun in 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) and continued until 1942 when funding was diverted for WWII (Kennedy, 1990; Dolinar, 2016). The project set out to produce a series of guidebooks, one for each state, that captured the customs and lore of…

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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…

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