ST. PETERSBURG – The University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s Neighborhood News Bureau’s
(NNB) is launching its new local black history project on Wednesday, October 3, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
at the Enoch Davis Recreation Center as part of the “Story Days in Tampa Bay” festival.
The event “From Pepper Town to Midtown: 150 Years of African-American History” presents the
rich history of St. Petersburg’s African-American neighborhoods through a series of multimedia projects, oral
histories, news stories and a new clearinghouse database.
The event is named after a new digital mapping and timeline tool that allows journalists, historians,
storytellers and educators to tell history-based stories through multiple historical maps and aerial
photographs of St. Petersburg. Developed by Hack4Impact for NNB, “From Pepper Town to Midtown: 150
Years of African-American History” digital maps and timeline give the community access to photos, points
of interest, storylines, videos and other multimedia elements directly from the historical maps and photos.
The Olive B. McLin Community History Project, another main feature of the new project, was
developed in the 1990s by Professor Jay Sokolovsky and it presents oral histories, photographic material
and stories about members of the local African-American neighborhoods. A partnership between Sokolovsky,
NNB and Professor Trey Conner’s class in Client Communication in 2017 expanded the series with new
resources and stories. The project is now being moved to NNB’s new black history website, and will be
updated by NNB reporters and interns every semester.
NNB is also developing a comprehensive local black history database compiling all available
information and resources related to the history of St. Petersburg’s African-American neighborhoods.
This database is the pillar of all NNB’s black history projects and provides the community, students, and
journalists with full access to resources, links, and contact information relating to the African-American
history of the city.
Since 2016, NNB has also been assisting and facilitating the production of historical and journalistic
documentaries. Following Vanya Tsvetkova’s “The Spa Beach Controversy,” in 2016, and the Boston Brothers’
“Black Pioneers of the Sunshine City”, released in 2018, the event will have the pre-premiere of a new
documentary, titled “St. Pete & The Burg: A City Divided”, by co-directors Eillin Delapaz and Jabaar
Edmond. The documentary will start at 12:30 p.m. and the co-directors will participate in a Q&A after.