USF Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Resources

Online Exhibits

Embracing Past & Future: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage in Special Collections

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 and the national theme of “Be Proud of Your Past, Embrace the Future,” USF Libraries – Tampa Special Collections presents an introduction to their more than forty collections documenting the history of local Hispanic and Latin American communities.

The History of Minstrelsy

This exhibit explores the history of minstrelsy, its significance in American history and theatre, and its enduring legacy.

Speaking Out About Genocide

Throughout the 20th century, genocides were perpetrated across the globe

Swing Along!

This exhibit was created to showcase a selection of music that was digitized from the USF Libraries African American Sheet Music Collection to celebrate African American History Month in 2019, and to illuminate the authors behind the music.

Portraying Courage: Holocaust Survivors in Voice & Image

In the Fall of 2010, the USF Tampa Library Department of Special and Digital Collections partnered with the Florida Holocaust Museum to present an exhibit entitled “Art and Autobiography: Holocaust Survivor Portraits by Nava Mentkow.” The library contributed selections from the Holocaust Survivors Oral History Project, a collection of over 40 bay area Holocaust survivor oral histories recorded from 2009-2011, in collaboration with USF Communication professor Dr. Carolyn Ellis. In this powerful collaboration uniting autobiography and portraiture, museum visitors were invited to view a collection of the artist’s evocative work while listening to the subjects’ compelling oral histories recounting their experiences during the Holocaust. This digital exhibition is presented as a lasting effort not only to share Nava’s sensitive and poignant portraits, but to preserve each survivor’s history and provide a meaningful multimedia experience.

Native American Land Acknowledgement

Beginning in 2019 the St. Petersburg campus library began working with campus and community partners to create a lank acknowledgment for the St. Petersburg campus. After careful consideration and feedback from the Seminole tribe, whose ancestors lived on the land that is now our campus we came up with the following. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg wishes to acknowledge and honor the Indigenous communities who lived and took stewardship of this land. The university recognizes that this campus was built on the Indigenous homelands and resources of the Seminole, Miccosukee, and Tocobago people as well as their ancestors going back over 10,000 years. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from their territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous people still connected to this land on which we gather. This is a call for all of us to commit to continuing to learn how to be better stewards of the land we inhabit. There will be programming in April 2021 for American Indian/Indigenous People’s week where the campus will unveil the land acknowledgment officially.


African American Experience in Florida

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.

Weekly Challenger African American Newspaper Collection

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.

Centro Asturiana de Tampa Collection

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.

African American Experience in the US

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.

Florida Slave Narratives

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.

Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida Oral History Project

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.

Holocaust & Genocide Studies Collections

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.

Florida Civil Rights Oral History Project

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

Papers of Norman E. Jones

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.

The Civil Rights Papers of Cody Fowler and Steven Lawson

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.

Robert W. and Helen S. Saunders Collection

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.

LGBTQ Collections

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

African American History Archive: An Audio, Print, and Video Bibliography

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.

Reading Lists

The library has a huge collection of books and articles. We have created guides and reading lists to help our patrons find resources related to antiracism as well as diversity, equity and inclusion. The guides are linked on the left side of the page as well as here.