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Tampa Bay History Center author - Fred Hearns

Fred Hearns headshot

About Fred Hearns

Curator of Black History

Fred Hearns was born in the Bronx, N.Y., and quickly found his roots in Tampa, Fla., where he attended public schools in Hillsborough County and graduated from George S. Middleton High School in 1966. Possessing a fervor for narrative craftsmanship, he attained a B.A. in English and journalism from the University of South Florida (USF). Subsequently, he pursued advanced studies, culminating in an M.S. in organizational management and leadership from Springfield College and an M.A. in Africana studies from USF.

Hearns’ professional trajectory commenced as a newspaper journalist for esteemed publications such as the Florida Sentinel Bulletin, St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune, and Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. In 1975, he began a 32-year tenure with the City of Tampa Department of Community Affairs, reaching the pinnacle as the department’s director in 2007. Post-retirement, he undertook the leadership of Black history tours in Tampa’s historic communities, showing a steadfast commitment to preserving and disseminating cultural narratives.

Since October 2021, Hearns has served as the History Center’s Curator of Black History. In this capacity, he channels his efforts toward curating exhibits and developing programs, not solely at the Tampa Bay History Center but also at Chinsegut Hill Historic Site in Brooksville, Fla., and St.James @ Encore: Tampa’s future Black history museum. Beyond his professional commitments, Hearns is deeply engaged in various community organizations, presiding as the Zion Cemetery Preservation and Maintenance Society, President Emeritus of the Tampa Chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Additionally, he maintains affiliations with his alma mater, serving as the G. S. Middleton High School Alumni Association historian and actively participating as a member of the Pi Iota Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. As a father of four adult children and five grandchildren, Hearns resides in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has been an avid Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan since 1976.

Media Contact

Billy Somerville: (813) 675-8985; [email protected]

Articles by Fred Hearns


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