Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that “At the heart of all that civilization has meant and developed is ‘community’ — the mutually cooperative and voluntary venture of man to assume a semblance of responsibility for his brother.” In many ways, the history of African Americans in the Tampa Bay area is the history of communities.

There is nothing quite as inspiring as a community of teachers and students. The Citrus Park Colored School collection includes historical resources about an African American school built in 1924 on Gunn Highway in Citrus Park.

Downtown Tampa’s Jackson Rooming House was located close to the thriving business district and nightlife areas in Tampa’s African American community. Famous performers like Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald are said to have stayed at the house. An important part of that history has been preserved with the use of 3D modeling by USF Libraries Digital Heritage & Humanities Collections (DHHC) and the Tampa Bay History Center.

The Jordan Park collection includes materials about the construction of the St. Petersburg Jordan Park housing development just before World War Two. It would be in and around those new homes that a close community of neighbors would form during the 1940s and 1950s. The Hillsborough County Progress Village collection also preserves the early history of a housing development community founded during the middle 20th century.

A number of years ago the journalism department at the USF St. Petersburg campus created a “Neighborhood News Bureau” to report and write about St. Petersburg’s African American community. The NNB has donated a collection of old photographs about the history of the community they cover.

Community Collections

Citrus Park Colored School

Citrus Park Colored School collection

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The materials in this collection were assembled to document the historical and cultural role of the Citrus Park Colored School, which operated from 1925 to 1948.

Dates: 1921-1966
Extent: 2 boxes

Click here to access the collection’s finding aid »

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Jordan Park collection

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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 »

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Progress Village Community

Progress Village records

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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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Group Photo of AABG Team

The African American Burial Ground & Remembering Project

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The African American Burial Ground Project (AABGP) aims to recover and re-interpret African-American cemeteries in Florida. Learn about the project through oral history interviews and a timeline of African-American cemeteries in St. Petersburg, FL.

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