|The FHM to Highlight The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa BayOpening Reception to include panel discussion about the history of Tampa Bay’s African American communities in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota|
|July 31, 2019 [St. Petersburg, FL] — The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) is pleased to present an original exhibition Beaches, Benches and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay. The exhibition opening reception will take place at the Museum on Saturday, September 7th at 7:00 p.m. and is free to the public, with reservation. The program will include a panel discussion about the history of Tampa Bay’s African American communities in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota. The discussion will be moderated by Judge Charles Williams and panelists will include Fred Hearns, formerly of Tampa, Gwendolyn Reese of St. Petersburg, and Victoria Oldham of Sarasota.|
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 Brown v. the Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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 illuminates our region’s struggle with racial equality and shine a light on the local leaders who changed our cities.
The exhibition opening reception is free and open to the public. Seating is limited! To reserve your seat, please call 727.820.0100, extension 301.Beaches, Benches and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay opens to the public on Saturday, September 7, 2019 and will be on display through Sunday, March 1, 2020 at The Florida Holocaust Museum.
The Florida Holocaust Museum is located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
For additional information, please visit: https://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/explore-2/exhibits/beaches-benches-and-boycotts-the-civil-rights-movement-in-tampa-bay
About The Florida Holocaust MuseumOne of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.org
About the Speakers
Gwendolyn Reese was born in St. Petersburg and is a proud graduate of Gibbs High School and St. Petersburg Junior College. She is the current president of the African American heritage Association of St. Petersburg. Under her leadership the organization developed a walking trail through the historic neighborhoods of the city and captured oral histories of it African American residents.
Fred Hearns grew up in Tampa and the once flourishing African American community of Central Avenue. He is a graduate of Middleton High School in Tampa and went on to receive his B.A. degree in English journalism from USF and his M.A. degree from Springfield College. For the city, he worked on several notable projects including the revitalization of the Perry Harvey, Sr. Park. In 2005, he started a tourism business offering bus and walking tours of Tampa’s African American history and published his autobiography Getting It Done: Rebuilding Black America Brick by Brick.
Victoria Oldham, M.F.A. has been a journalist and media and public relations strategies for over 25 years. She is a consultant and community scholar, and is well known as a former broadcast journalist and ‘daughter’ of Newtown. In 2015 she was hired by the City of Sarasota to document over 100 years of history related to the communities of Overtown and Newtown trough an initiative called “Newtown Alive.”
Judge Charles E. Williams was born in North Carolina, raised in St. Petersburg, Florida and graduated from Howard University in Washington D.C.; He earned his law degree from the University of Florida. He is a Circuit Court Judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit which includes Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto Counties, Florida.