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Weekly Challenger African American Digital Newspaper Archive and Research Guide


During the late 1970s and early 1980s various St. Petersburg African-American communities are uprooted through eminent domain when Interstate 275 is extended into South St. Petersburg.


May 14, 1983

"Capital Action." (Print version only)  
By Florida Legislature Representative Douglas Jamerson.
The Weekly Challenger, May 14, 1983, page 3. 
"Education is the most important issue before the state legislature this session. As such, there are many crucial decisions facing lawmakers dealing with education and the trend toward change. 'High Tech' has become the new buzz phrase in academic circles. The implication for all is a trend toward math, science and computer literacy."


In 1984, two years after receiving approval from the St. Petersburg City Council, the downtown Gas Plant is dismantled and the surrounding African-American neighborhood displaced to build a future baseball stadium. Construction begins in 1986 and the Florida Suncoast Dome opens without a team in 1990. The name is changed to the Thunderdome from 1993-1996 when the Lightning hockey team plays there. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball franchise is awarded to the area in 1995 and their inaugural season at Tropicana Field is in 1998.


December 21, 1985
The Weekly Challenger wishes readers a Merry Christmas on the front page of the newspaper. 

"Merry Merry Merry Christmas.
From All The Little Elves At The Weekly Challenger Newspaper."
The Weekly Challenger, Dec. 21, 1985.
Names: "Cynthia Armstrong; William Blackshear; Calvin Adams; W.L. Jones; Elaine Hopkins; Mary Ann Nowicki; Lori Ann Mims; Liz Bradt; Richard Easley; Lonnie Donaldson; Mable T. Cooper; Charles Howard; Mamie Brown; Sabrina Quatice; David Burgess; James McAllister; W.F. Allen; Dr. Harte; Earnest Mathis; Deanie K. Victor; Andrew Hooper; Victoria Lawson; Cynthia Davis; Ernest Filliyau; Brenda Harris; Ms. Patterson; Cleveland Johnson."


February 8, 1986

"Hundreds Attend Milton's Funeral."
The Weekly Challenger, Feb. 8, 1986, page 9.  
"Hundreds of persons from all walks of life crowded in Faith Memorial Missionary Baptist Church to pay final respects to Attorney Morris Milton, a civil rights activist, who died early last Saturday morning....He headed the local NAACP chapter from 1974 until 1983...represented Blacks in a federal lawsuit against St. Petersburg contending there was discrimination against Blacks in hiring practices in the police and and fire departments. He also fought for the hiring of more Black teachers and the promotion of more Blacks to key school administrative jobs."


September 3, 1987
The St. Petersburg City Council votes to add the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to 9th Street. 


During 1988
The city names Bethel A.M.E. church's 1922 building a local historic landmark. This African Methodist Episcopal church, founded in 1894, gave name to "Methodist Town," one of the first St. Petersburg African-American neighborhoods. Other early African-American neighborhoods included the "Pepper Town," "Cooper's Quarters," "Gas Plant" and "22nd Street South" neighborhoods.