Monday, February 5, 2018

Take HART to Black History!

From Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, to the "Freedom Rides" throughout the South, public transportation has played a historic role in African American history.

Public transportation also happens to be a great way to visit local African American historic sites in Tampa.

Hop on, as HART Takes You to Black History!
People gather at La Union Mari-Maceo in 1944

Sociedad La Union Mari-Maceo

Just across the street from the HART Administrative Building in Ybor City, is a building which represents the melting pot that is Ybor - Sociedad La Union Marti-Maceo building. The Cuban club was founded by Afro-Cubans in 1900, and served both white and Afro-Cubans excluded from other Cuban and Spanish clubs, until the club was forced to segregate due to local laws. The facility became more than a social club housing events, morphing into a mutual aid society, with self-help activities and a school.

Sociedad La Union Mari-Maceo is located at 1226 East 7th Avenue in Ybor City and is accessible by Route(s) 8,9,12 and the TECO Line Streetcar System.

Central Park
The LIFETILES installation at Perry Harvey Sr. Parl

One of the most culturally and historically rich neighborhoods in Tampa, the area once housed the likes of Ray Charles (he wrote "I found my baby there," in Central Park area,) Jackie Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald, and more! The neighborhood was a vibrant African American business and entertainment district with restaurants and clubs such as the Cotton Club, Apollo Theatre, etc.

The district would later fall into disrepair, due to racial unrest and disruption. However, the Central Park district is now home to Encore! Apartments. Encore! has paid homage to the heritage of the district with a number of public art installations throughout the complex, as well as, at near by Perry Harvey Sr. Park.

The Central Park District and Perry Harvey Sr. Park are located at 900 E Scott St, Tampa, FL 33602, and are accessible via Route(s) 9,12 and MetroRapid. Marion Transit Center is also just a block away.

Black History & Art Museum

Located inside the Paradise Missionary Baptist Church, the Black History & Art Museum is home to hundreds of historical photos, documents, and artifacts.

The museum is located near Perry Harvey Sr. Park, at 1112 East Scott Street. The site is accessible via Route(s) 9,12, and MetroRapid.

Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library
A new Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Library opened in 2014!

Named in honor of Robert W. Saunders, Sr. a civil rights activist and former Field Secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The library is one of just two African-American research libraries in the state of Florida. The library is hosting a number of Black History Month events, such as an "Introduction to African American Genealogy" and a Black Heritage Celebration. A bronze bust of Saunders is featured in the lobby.

The Saunders Library is located 1505 N. Nebraska Ave. and can be reached by Route(s) 9,12, and MetroRapid.

Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory/ the Bryan Glazer Family JCC

Dr. King Jr. speaking at the Ft. Homer Armory
The Bryan Glazer Family JCC was formerly known as the Ft. Homer Hesterly Armory. The building has seen historic figures from Teddy Roosevelt, to JFK grace the hall. On November 19, 1961, a crowd of 4,200 waited out a bomb threat to see Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in the hall.

"We are standing on the border of the promised land of integration," Dr. King promised, undeterred by the early bomb threat.

The facility recently underwent substantial renovations, which include a Visual Arts Center, an event center, a food bank, and more.

The Bryan Glazer Family JCC is accessible via Route(s) 14 and 30.

Tampa is full of African American history. Explore it on HART!

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