TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The City of Tampa debuted a new arts and heritage trail on Wednesday that tells the history of the city’s Black communities and highlights art from contemporary Black artists.
The Tampa Soulwalk is approximately 46 miles long, according to a news release from the city, and includes 100 stops in 25 neighborhoods. Museums, landmarks, cemeteries and other notable features are listed as stops, like the last remaining Reconstruction-era Scrub Houses.
The trail will serve as the backdrop for activities throughout the year, like panels, art and history workshops, and cooking-focused events. The city said over two dozen new art instillations will be added to the Soulwalk route in 2023 and 2024.
“Tampa Soulwalk is an incredible opportunity for our community to come together and learn about the rich and diverse history of Tampa,” Mayor Jane Castor said. “It will not only bring to light the contributions and creative resiliency of our city’s Black communities, but also provide a platform for discussions about equity, inclusion, and cultural diversity. We are excited to share this trail with visitors and invite everyone to come explore and learn about the unique history that makes Tampa the vibrant and diverse city it is today.”
Tampa residents and visitors can traverse the trail by foot, bike or car, and are encouraged to follow along with the digital guide to learn more. Tampa Bay History Center historians developed the guide alongside the city.
“Soulwalk not only educates visitors about Tampa’s rich Black history, but also serves as a reminder that our past and present are intricately connected,” Sherri Brown, Vice President of Multicultural Sales and Development at Visit Tampa Bay said. “It’s a vital tool in understanding the diversity and cultural richness of our city, and we are proud to support and showcase it to the world.”
The city commissioned two essays from University of South Florida professors to provide additional context to the trail.
“Soulwalk tells some of Tampa’s most uplifting stories,” said Cheryl R. Rodriguez, Professor of Africana Studies and Anthropology at the University of South Florida. “This history is a source of pride for everyone.”
To view a map of Soulwalk sites or learn more about the project, visit the Tampa Soulwalk website.