Date ArticleType
9/1/2020 Member News

The FHM Launches Three Digital Exhibitions Based on Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay

Experience new virtual exhibitions highlighting St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Sarasota

August 26, 2020 [St. Petersburg, FL] -- The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of three digital exhibitions based on the Museum's original exhibition Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts: The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay. The digital experience contains three different virtual exhibitions highlighting areas throughout Tampa Bay. The virtual experiences are divided between St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Sarasota. The three new digital exhibitions will be accessible beginning on August 28th online at

On August 28, 1963, the African American Civil Rights Movement reached its peak when Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The demonstrators came together in the nation’s capital to demand voting rights and equal opportunity for African Americans and to appeal for an end to racial segregation and discrimination.

Tampa Bay remained racially segregated at the dawn of the Civil Rights era and many local institutions and establishments held out on integration for several years after Brown v. the Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"These three virtual exhibitions highlight the foot soldiers who bravely acted and spoke out to end racial inequality throughout Tampa Bay. We are excited to share this valuable information about our region’s history with students and our community through these new online exhibitions," said Erin Blankenship, The FHM's Director of Collections and Interpretation.

Under "Jim Crow," every aspect of African American life in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and their surrounding cities was segregated. Restricted covenants were in place 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 Blacks were allowed in at all.

The Civil Rights Movement in Tampa Bay may have had characteristics similar to other areas of the south but its stories are its own. These digital exhibitions illuminate our region's struggle with racial equality and shine a light on the local leaders who changed our cities.

Please stay engaged with The FHM online through the Museum's virtual tour, virtual resourcesonline curriculumcollectionsHolocaust Survivor testimonies, and on its social media pages FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn

The Florida Holocaust Museum looks forward to announcing the reopening of the Museum. Please continue to visit for Museum updates.

About The Florida Holocaust Museum

One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit


Picketers protesting lunch counter segregation and showing their support for the boycott of retail stores, ca. December 1960.

Image courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times



View of 22nd Street South in 1969. Seen in this photo of the “Deuces” is a section of the 700 block showing several of the Black-owned businesses of the area including Hale’s Market, a laundromat, and a nightclub.

Image courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times



The Manhattan Casino on 22nd Street South was built in 1925 and housed retail businesses on the ground level with an event and nightclub space upstairs. The social center of the community, the Manhattan Casino gave James Brown his start and hosted headliners like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong (pictured here).

Image courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times



Fans watch a spring training baseball game from segregated seating at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. The original St. Petersburg Times caption from November 8, 1950 read, “Spectators above express complete contentment…”

Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times