Featured Collections

Image of Ruth Perry and unnamed gentleman

Ruth Perry papers

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The Ruth Perry papers include letters, documents, and articles pertaining to the Johns Committee as compiled by the NAACP’s Miami branch.

Dates: 1951 – 1968
Extent: 1 box

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The Weekly Challenger photograph collection

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The Weekly Challenger has documented the history of St. Petersburg’s African American community since the newspaper was established by Cleveland Johnson, Jr. in September 1967.

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B.P. Brown Enterprises collection

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The B.P. Brown Enterprises collection documents the history of African American families and churches in Tampa, Florida as represented through publications produced by the printing company.

Dates: 1984 – 1994
Extent: 12 linear feet (21 boxes)

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An excerpt from the Florida Negro Papers

Federal Writer’s Project collection

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The bulk of the materials, which cover a variety of topics, consists of interviews with African American, Native American, and Hispanic residents of Florida. The first-hand accounts provided by formerly enslaved individuals offer a glimpse into Southern daily life during the Civil War era.

Dates: 1936 – 1948
Extent: 4.5 linear feet (9 boxes)

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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.

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Black-Owned Businesses

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General African-American History

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Latest Blog Entries

Booker T. Washington High School

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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…

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Photo of Anti-Violence Display

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

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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…

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Researching the History of Florida’s African American Newspapers

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It has been almost a year since a team of us here at the USF Libraries launched the African American Experience in Florida (AAE) portal. One of the best parts of working with the AAE portal is helping researchers create something new out of something old, even when the “something old” is old news. As…

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