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.