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Vinik family donates $1 million to historic Jackson Boarding House

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It’s a house that was once filled with music, joy and dreams, and although it looks crumbled and sad today, the Jackson House on East Zack Street is finally on its way to new life. Tampa Bay Lightning Owner, Jeff Vinik, and his family donated $1 million toward funding efforts for the house.

“As Tampa continues to grow and change, it is critical that we invest in preserving the unique and valuable history of those who laid the foundation for our progress,” said Jeff Vinik. “Tampa’s diversity is our most valuable asset.”

Dr. Carolyn Hepburn Collins, former NAACP president and Chair of the Jackson House Foundation Board was on site to talk about the donation.

“We are thrilled that Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Vinik are working with us and putting the funding forward to the tune of around a million dollars,” Collins said.

The money will help to restore the house that was once one of the only places where African Americans could stay while visiting Tampa. It was built in 1901 by Moses and Sarah Jackson and operated as a boarding house for African Americans and other travelers during the era of racial segregation. It also hosted entertainers such as Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald when they visited. Martin Luther King paid a visit to the Jackson House in 1961.

Plans for the home are still up in the air. It’s likely it will be turned into a museum to showcase its rich history in Tampa Bay.

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