|Opening Reception to include panel discussion about the history of African American communities in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota|
|August 29, 2019 [St. Petersburg, FL] — Leon Jackson, the last living member of the Courageous 12, will be honored with The FHM’s Upstander Award during the opening reception for The Florida Holocaust Museum’s 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 FHM’s Upstander Award was created to honor those who have helped better our community by speaking out and standing up to injustice. No better example of this is the Courageous 12, whose actions not only changed St. Petersburg for the better but changed the way law enforcement agencies throughout our country looked at and utilized officers of color. As the last surviving member of the Courageous 12, The FHM is honored to bestow the Upstander Award to Officer Leon Jackson.
The Courageous 12 were a group of black police officers from the St. Petersburg Police Department who took a stance against racism and injustice in the 1960s. For them, becoming police officers allowed them to make a difference in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Courageous 12 was made up of police officers Leon Jackson, Adam Baker, Freddie Crawford, Raymond DeLoach, Charles Hollands, Robert Keys, Primus Killen, James King, Johnnie B. Lewis, Horace Nero, Jerry Styles, and Nathanial Wooten.
As black police officers, they were not able to work in white neighborhoods and could only arrest black citizens. In addition, black police officers had to use separate water fountains, lockers, and cars from other police officers. They were not allowed to work behind the front desk of the police station. Because of these restrictions, the officers filed a lawsuit, putting everything on the line. They wanted to be fully integrated into the police department.
On August 1, 1968, the officers won their case. In November 1968, Jackson was the first black officer assigned to the police van that investigated accidents. In spring of the following year, Jackson became the city’s first black officer assigned to an all-white neighborhood in northeast St. Petersburg.
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 Exhibition
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.