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Weekly Challenger Chronology/Index & Tampa Bay African American History Research Guide

2000

January 15, 2000
Stories:

"Letter From Birmingham." (Print version only)
(Reprint of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s April 16, 1963 letter from a Birmingham jail.)
The Weekly Challenger, Jan. 15, 2000, page 1.
Excerpt:
"My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities 'unwise and untimely.' Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas.
....I am in Birmingham because injustice is here...."

2001

August 2, 2001
Stories:

The Weekly Challenger, Aug. 2, 2001, page 1.
Excerpt:
"The black community lost one of its stalwarts on Sunday when Cleveland Johnson, publisher of The Weekly Challenger, died at Bayfront Medical Center where he was hospitalized for about two months. Mr. Johnson, 73, had published the paper independently and continuously since 1967 after acquiring it from M.C. Fountain, who owned the only black printery in Pinellas County at the time. Mr. Johnson had worked as an advertising salesman from the early 1950s for the Weekly Advertiser, a shopper that preceded The Weekly Challenge, which was financed by the non-profit Community Service Foundation, according to advertising manager William Blackshear." 

October 2001
The Royal Theater at 1011 22nd Street South is designated as a local historic landmark.
Stories:

2002

August 22, 2002
Stories:

"Remembering Cleve Johnson: A Memorial Tribute." (Print version only)
By Roger K. Clendening, The Weekly Challenger, Aug. 22, 2002, page 1.
Excerpt:
"....Cleveland Johnson Jr. the Thomasville, GA native but St. Petersburg-groomed publisher of this great little newspaper, would have celebrated his 75th birthday on Aug. 9, 2002 had he not been called Home last year on July 29. We, this community, family members, and those associated with The Challenger, would have helped him celebrate his specialness, a characteristic manifested in his love of music, people who made music, and people who labored to accomplish something in life."

ADDITIONAL STORIES FROM 2002

2003

August 7, 2003
Stories:

"From the desk of The Weekly Challenger:
Be in Control of Your Own Destiny." (Print version only)
Editorial, The Weekly Challenger, Aug. 7, 2003, page 2.
Excerpt:
"....The Weekly Challenger has survived the good and bad, starting from the bottom, reaching the top. Based in the tradition of a strong philosophy, Mr. Johnson's dream has been preserved, and now serves as an example of what can be accomplished by reaching for that goal of freedom. 'There is a reason to read The Weekly Challenger.'"

ADDITIONAL STORIES FROM 2003

2004

March 4, 2004
Stories:

April 8, 2004
Stories:
"St. Petersburg Remembers Brown v. Board of Education." (Print version only)
The Weekly Challenger, Apr. 8, 2004, page 3.
Excerpt:
"Chaired by Vivian Fueyo, dean of the USF St. Petersburg College of Education, a group of community partners have planned a series of community conversations through September to explore the character and legacy of this landmark decision. Community partners include USF St. Petersburg, the City of St. Petersburg, NAACP, Pinellas County Schools and the St. Petersburg Bar Association. May 4 "Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education in the St. Petersburg Schools," Gibbs High School, 6 p.m. Panel discussion featuring: - Vivian Fueyo, PhD, USF St. Petersburg Dean of Education - Goliath Davis, PhD - Emmanuel Stewart, former Gibbs High School Principal prior to desegregation - Herman Allen, Principal, Gibbs High School."

2005

May 12, 2005
Stories:

"The Weekly Challenger Newspaper.
We Value Diversity. We Value Education. We Value History." (Print version only)
Editorial, The Weekly Challenger, May 12, 2005.
Excerpt:
"A knowledge of history brings a feeling of fellowship that runs through the ages, be it a territory, a village, a district, or a nation. To live without history is likened to living with out a form of memory. To be without history is to live without roots or a past, with the present having no real foundation, and very little meaning for the future...."

ADDITIONAL STORIES FROM 2005

"Devil Rays Salute Negro Leaguers." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, August 25, 2005, Page 5.

"Introducing Doc Dot." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones. 
The Weekly Challenger, September 15, 2005, Page 3.
 
"Remember the PORCH People's Social Club?(Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, October 20, 2005. Page 4.

"How The Library Changed My Life!(Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, November 3, 2005, Page 4.

"Florida Classic Is More Than A Game." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, November 17, 2005, Page 3.

2006

September 21, 2006
Stories:

"Enoch Davis Center Celebrates 25 Years Of Service." (Print version only)
By Sharon T. Melville, The Weekly Challenger, Sep. 21, 2006.
Excerpt:
"During the 70's an advisory committee known as 'Module 16' urged St. Petersburg City government to build a community center in the Midtown neighborhood. Citizens recall that during this period, no assembly places for the African American community existed that would accommodate more that 100 persons coming together to dialogue about issues directly affecting black citizens. Dorthy Gilliam, a member of the Module 16 Advisory Committee recalls that 'On a warm fall day in the late 1970's, after much sweat and tears, ground was broken to begin construction on the Module 16 Project.' Finally, on September 13, 1981, the Center opened as the Enoch D. Davis Center...."

ADDITIONAL STORIES FROM 2006

"The Sports and African American Culture Road." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones. 
The Weekly Challenger, January 5, 2006, Page 3.

"MLK Day As I See It." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, January 12, 2006, Page 4.

"Masonic Lodge Prince Hall's 113th Fundraising And Scholarship Banquet." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, January 19, 2006, Page 3.

"The Initial Official St. Petersburg Black History Month Festival." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, February 23, 2006, Page 2.

"Patti Austin Performs With Florida Orchestra." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, March 2, 2006, Page 3.

"Women of Jazz Performed At The Palladium." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, March 23, 2006, Page 3.

"It's Time for Us To Support Our Team; What A Difference A Year Has Made." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, March 30, 2006, Page 3.
 
"Midtown Enjoys Major League Art & History." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones. 
The Weekly Challenger, April 6, 2006, Page 6.

"Remembered Streets, Avenues and Businesses in the Gas Plant Community." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, May 18, 2006, Page 6.

"St. Petersburg Links, Inc. Donate $5,600 to Local African American Museum." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, June 22, 2006, Page 1.

"Now Is The Time To Have A Gas Plant Reunion." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, July 6, 2006, Page 5.

"The First Annual Gas Plant Reunion." (Print version only)
By Norman Jones.
The Weekly Challenger, September 14, 2006, Page 6.
 

2007

February 1, 2007
Stories:

"Park Dedicated In Honor Of 'DeII' Holmes." (Print version only)
By Paul Mueller, The Weekly Challenger, Feb. 1, 2007.
Excerpt:
"Children flooded the playground at Dell Holmes Park Saturday, moments after city officials cut the navy blue ribbon. The 20-acre park is the largest of its kind in Midtown, featuring picnic shelters, grills and a fitness trail in a place once home to drug activity. Now the park boasts the only boundless playground in the city, which gives access to handicapped children....The opening ceremony followed a dedication remembering long-time St. Petersburg Parks Director Litdell Holmes Jr., who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2003 at the age of 58."

2008

November 27, 2008
Stories:

"Happy Thanksgiving
From The Staff Of The Weekly Challenger." (Print version only)
By Ethel L. Johnson, Publisher, The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 27, 2008, page 1.
Excerpt:
"In September, The Weekly Challenger celebrated 41 years as a voice for the African-American community of St. Petersburg, and during this season of Thanksgiving, we pause to say thank you our readers, advertisers and all of our faithful supporters. The Weekly Challenger is a success story that both inspires and enlightens.
The late Cleveland Johnson, publisher, 1967- 2001, was a successful entrepreneur who stressed 'selling over buying.' Johnson’s vision for the African- American community was financial freedom through the selling of goods and services.
Through the years, despite market fluctuations, The Weekly Challenger has prevailed. Many of our readers and affiliates have been with the paper for all 41 years. Over the years, The Challenger has been a training ground for many talented writers, reporters and photographers. It has also provided either a supplemental or primary income to many writers, photographers, carriers, and sales people throughout the years.
In moving forward during these times of economic meltdowns, The Challenger will need your support more than ever to assure that this voice remains a strong and vital business in our community."

2009

January 20, 2009
Barack Obama is inaugurated as the first African-American president of the United States.
Stories:

"In Racially Inclusive Inaugural Ceremony: President Obama Expresses Hope To ‘Remake’ America." (Print version only)
By Hazel Trice Edney, NNPA Editor-In-Chief, The Weekly Challenger, Jan. 22, 2009.
Excerpt:
"WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Barack Hussein Obama - a black man - was inaugurated the 44th President of the United States on Tuesday before a historic crowd of at least 1.5 million people.
....Obama consciously used the same Bible as his hero, Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Emancipation Proclamation that led to the end of American slavery, Jan. 1, 1863, only 146 years ago. 'We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things,' Obama said. 'The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.”

February 26, 2009
Stories:

"The Art of Communication Black History Tribute." (Print version only)
The Weekly Challenger, February 26, 2009, Page 1.
 

August 6, 2009
Stories:

"Rosalie Peck, The Weekly Challenger’s Executive Editor Emerita Gifted Writer, Lover of Life, Dies." (Print version only)
By Blanche L. Ganey, The Weekly Challenger,  Aug. 6, 2009.
Excerpt:
"Gracious, dignified, and elegant are words that come to mind when describing 82 year old Rosalie Peck, who died Friday, July 31. Born and raised on 25th Street, and 10 Ave. S. in St. Petersburg, young Rosalie, who often played teacher with neighborhood childhood friends, knew early she had a passion for words. Former executive editor of the Weekly Challenger newspaper, Ms. Peck liked everything about words; the rhythm, the power and emotion they evoked.
....Ms. Peck, gifted writer and visionary co-authored 'Learning to Say GoodBye: Dealing with Death and Dying.' She wrote 'Threshold: First Book of Poetry'; and co-authored 'St. Petersburg’s Historic 22nd Street South' and 'St. Petersburg’s Historic African American neighborhoods' with former St. Petersburg Times writer, Jon Wilson.
....In spite of the racial restrictions in place in St. Petersburg in the 40s and 50s, Peck wrote about a segment of St. Petersburg where black businesses thrived and families were intact. She wrote about the heyday of the Manhattan Casino, on 22nd Street, where the likes of James Brown, BB King, Ella Fitzgerald and other up and coming artists and established entertainers regularly visited in the African-American community.
Even though the Manhattan Casino sits empty, a mere shell of the former popular dance spot, Ms. Peck’s books have captured that time and left it behind for generations who might not ever have had a chance to see and hear the wonder and splendor as she did."