New Florida Holocaust Museum exhibit tells story of Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay

Living Local

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – “Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay” tells the story of our region’s struggle with racial equality and shines a light on the local leaders who changed our cities.

The exhibit is now on display at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Pete.

The focus of most Civil Rights history is written about places in the deep south, such as Alabama and Mississippi. However, racially-segregated Tampa Bay has a story of its own.

Tampa Bay remained racially segregated at the dawn of the Civil Rights era.

Many local institutions and establishments held out on integration for several years after Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under Jim Crow laws, every aspect of African American life in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and the surrounding cities was segregated.

Restricted covenants were places 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 they allowed African Americans to go at all.

The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay may have had characteristics similar to other areas of the South, but the exhibit at the Florida Holocaust Museum soleLy focusses on our communities history.

The exhibition will be on display until March 1, 2020.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Florida Holocaust Museum.

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