More from Dean of the USF Libraries
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.
The Weekly Challenger newspaper has documented the history of St. Petersburg, Florida’s African American community since the paper was established by Cleveland Johnson Jr. in 1967. In March 2013, an agreement between the USF Nelson Poynter Memorial Library and the Johnson family allowed the library to become the home for existing issues of The Weekly Challenger. Since that time, the library and newspaper have worked in partnership to create The Weekly Challenger Newspaper Digital Archive. Many students and researchers don’t know enough about the newspaper and local history to search The Weekly Challenger digital archive effectively. To meet that need, a detailed research guide has been created as a way to introduce news topics and history to students, including a new section with Black Lives Matters related stories.
El Centro Asturiano is one of Tampa’s early Spanish social clubs. The club, founded in 1902, catered to Latin males, most of whom were immigran workers in Ybor City’s cigar factories. Members paid a monthly fee for health insurance, use of club facilities, and guaranteed burial. The Centro Asturiano de Tampa Collection in USF Libraries Special Collections consists of club and hospital records, meeting minutes, photographs, ephemera, zarzuelas, playbills, financial records, memorias, sheet music, and cemetery records. Included in the ephemera, are flags, trophies, printing plates, and various artifacts related to the club.
Digitization of the collection began with a collection of membership record portrait snapshots.
Collection of scholarship from USF faculty and students relating to the Black Lives Matter movement. Covers a broad range of disciplines and topics. New items are added each year.
Special Collections digital collection of written interviews of elderly African Americans who were enslaved during their childhood and teenage years. The narratives are presented with the permission and cooperation of the Florida Historical Society, owner of the original set of typed documents.
Digital repository of transcribed oral histories conducted between 1977 and 1978 as a part of the Black History of Tampa Project, sponsored by the Tampa Urban League and the Hillsborough County Museum, under the direction of community activist Otis R. Anthony.
In 1994, Anthony donated the collection to the USF Department of Anthropology, to support its Central Avenue Legacies Project. The Department of Anthropology conducted additional interviews, focusing primarily on Central Avenue and the Afro-Cuban community.
This is an open collection with interviews from other sources, to which more content will be added over time.
The Holocaust and Genocide Studies Collections formed with the vision to contribute to interdisciplinary global education and action to understand and prevent genocide through research, with particular emphasis on the Holocaust, Armenia, and the Great Lakes region of Africa. The collections encompass book and archival research materials that cross international boundaries to engage specialists, scholars, educators, students, analysts, and activists. Collection is a combination of digital and physical objects.
This collection includes interviews with several of Florida’s civil rights leaders who were active at the height of the civil rights movement in the United States and in Florida during the 1950s and 1960s. The personal narratives provide details about local, regional, and national civil rights issues. Interviews were conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida and other Florida universities. The Florida Civil Rights Oral History Project is an open collection, to which more content may be added over time.
USF Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Physical Collections
Norman E. Jones was a conservative African-American newspaper columnist and publicist from the 1950s through the early 1970s who opposed integration and preached economic self-sufficiency and self-determination during the Civil Rights era. He wrote a column for black newspapers called “Let’s Talk Politics” where he shared his contrarian and conservative political views, including his active support of George Wallace’s segregationist presidential campaign. He moved to Tampa in 1950 and later settled in St. Petersburg in 1955, where he lived until his death in 1990.
Cody Fowler (1892-1978) was a prominent attorney who played a major role in furthering nonviolent racial integration in Tampa during the turbulent Civil Rights era of the 1960s. Dr. Steven F. Lawson is former professor at the University of South Florida. Together, Fowler’s and Lawson’s papers document Tampa’s Bi-Racial Committee, the city’s Commission on Community Relations, as well as the numerous issues faced by African Americans in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The late Dr. Robert W. Saunders was a staunch political activist whose professional career included work as Field Secretary for the Florida NAACP, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the southeastern region of the Office of Equal Opportunity, and Director of the Hillsborough County Equal Employment Opportunity Office. An active member of the NAACP’s Tampa Branch, Dr. Saunders served in various posts, including that of president. His wife, Helen Strickland Saunders, served as secretary of the NAACP Tampa branch from 1964-1976 and as branch president from 1976-1981.
The USF Libraries’ Special Collections is determined to expand its collection of historically significant lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) materials in monographic, audio-visual, ephemeral, and archival formats. Our focus is on collecting materials that document LGBTQ history, culture, politics, community relations, and public health. While the Tampa Bay region remains an important focus, these collections are international in scope. LGBTQ collections provide valuable research material for scholars across disciplines—History, Law, Sociology, Political Science, American Studies, etc.
Florida Humanities Project in Collaboration with USF Libraries
Florida Humanities is committed to using the humanities to better understand racism and injustice and how to curb their influence in society. We support programs, whether in print or on video or on the radio which explores the African American experience, particularly in Florida. With the assistance of the USF-St. Petersburg Library, who hosts this collection, Florida Humanities has created the African American History Archive. We present it here for your review and use.
This robust compilation of information will deepen our knowledge of African American history and culture and by doing so, help us all understand the historic roots and current implications of racism, both overt and covert. Only by better understanding each other can a diverse and free nation thrive.