Black Roots: From Dobyville to College Hill

An engaging historical journey on Oct. 6

On the evening of Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, the Tampa Bay History Center invites you to embark on a captivating historical journey titled “Black Roots: From Dobyville to College Hill.” This enlightening program will unfold at St. James at Encore, conveniently located at 1202 N. Governor Street, just a block east of Tampa’s historic Central Avenue. Admission is free and open to all, but we kindly request that you register here. For those unable to attend in person, the program will be live-streamed and available for later viewing. Free parking is provided at Encore.

Prepare to delve into the history of Tampa’s once-segregated communities, a poignant journey that harks back to the 1960s. The story begins a century earlier, in 1864, when “The Scrub,” the Central Avenue corridor, burgeoned as Tampa’s first and most expansive free Black community. Other such enclaves existed in Hillsborough County’s Port Tampa (later annexed into the City of Tampa), Keystone, Bealsville, Plant City, and Wimauma. Early Black families also settled in places like Sulphur Springs, Belmont Heights, Jackson Heights, “The Bottom,” Ybor City, Highland Avenue, West Tampa, Roberts City, Port Tampa, Carver City, and Lincoln Gardens. However, enduring redlining and a series of other restrictive policies maintained a century-long separation between white and Black communities. Dobyville and College Hill are key examples of that era.

Our distinguished panelists for this enlightening program at Encore include illustrious Tampa natives: Frances Jennings, Bishop Michelle Patty, Cynthia Keeton, Artie Fryer, Don Lee, Frank Reddick, and Emanuel James. The event will also showcase the remarkable spoken word artist Curtis Davis. Furthermore, we are honored to present a segment from the 2017 documentary “The Tampa Technique,” courtesy of University of South Florida Professor Dr. Travis Bell. Click here for more information and free tickets.