Travails & Triumph Exhibit Showcases Black History in Tampa
Photo Credit: Photo credit: Stacey Koenitz R

Photo Credit: Photo credit: Stacey Koenitz R

Travails & Triumph Exhibit Showcases Black History in Tampa

Jasmine Osby
Jasmine Osby Aug 17, 2023

Visitors and locals in Tampa Bay can experience Black history at the Tampa Bay History Center, which is currently hosting the Travails & Triumph exhibit. Showcasing 500 years of Black culture in the area, the exhibit shines a light on Tampa’s Black community. 

“It’s such an important part of all of our history, and it’s being told in a way that helps inform all of us as to how all people got to the Tampa Bay area and what their history is and what challenges they faced,” Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio told WFTS News.

500 Years of Black History

The exhibit traces centuries of life, struggle, and ascension of Black locals. Visitors can take a stroll down Central Avenue, the “Harlem of the South.” In October, there’s a public discussion of the Tampa’s history during Jim Crow and the war against Black communities during the 1700 and 1800s. The exhibit will showcase Tampa’s first Black church, Mt. Sinai African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

“This is the first Black history museum component to this magnitude that we’ve ever had in Tampa,’’ Fred Hearns, Curator of Black History at the Tampa Bay History Center, told digital magazine 83 Degrees Media. 

Photo credit: Edgar

According to WFTS, over 100 artifacts are on display telling the story of the Black people who lived there. Hearns spent 25 years researching Black history in Tampa. Artifacts in the exhibit include a handwritten lease for a 37-year-old female slave, a patient registry from the Tampa Negro Hospital, and a map from the Civil War showing slave placement in the US. 

A Permanent Fixture

Tampa has been a longtime favorite for American travelers. The city is home to some of the most iconic spring break parties. It attracts visitors from around the country all year long. The Travails & Triumph exhibit highlights the city’s rich Black history.

“And it starts by talking about the first people of African descent that traveled across the Atlantic and came to the [Tampa Bay area],” Brad Massey, a historian at the Tampa Bay History Center said.

Moving forward Travails & Triumph will be a permanent exhibit at the museum. The exhibit aims to educate visitors on the Black Americans who thrived in the area. Museum staff hope the exhibit inspires people to look deeper into the city’s Black history. 

“And, so, this will be here for the coming years for all members of our community to come and see,” Massey said.

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