The focus of most Civil Rights history is written about places like Alabama and Mississippi, as if few challenges occurred elsewhere. Tampa Bay remained racially segregated at the dawn of the Civil Rights era and many local institutions and establishments held out on integration for several years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Brown vs. the Board of Education.
Under "Jim Crow" every aspect of African American life in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and their surrounding cities was segregated. Restricted covenants were in place that segregated residential neighborhoods. African American children had to attend segregated schools that were under-funded and often in disrepair. Blacks could only be cared for at "Black only" hospitals, and other public and private establishments like restaurants and beaches were often segregated – if blacks were allowed in at all.
The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay may have had characteristics similar to other areas of the South but its stories are its own. This exhibition will illuminate our region's struggle with racial equality and shine a light on the local leaders who changed our cities.
The exhibition will be on display at The Florida Holocaust Museum from August 1 to December 1, 2015.