University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus

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Weekly Challenger African American Digital Newspaper Archive and Research Guide


January 2, 2020

January 24, 2020

February 14, 2020

February 21, 2020

February 27, 2020

March 13, 2020

March 26, 2020

April 16, 2020

April 30, 2020

May 14, 2020

June 4, 2020

June 12, 2020

June 22, 2020

July 2, 2020

July 9, 2020

July 18, 2020

July 31, 2020

August 3, 2020

August 7, 2020

August 21, 2020

"Gibbs 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony."
By Raven Joy Shonel, The Weekly Challenger, Aug. 21, 2020.
"For more than a quarter of a century, the Gibbs Gladiator Alumni Association has been celebrating extraordinary athletes and inducting them into the Gladiator Hall of Fame. Earlier this year, 16 outstanding athletes were honored for athleticism.
The ceremony took place days before the passing of Minson Rubin, Gibbs Gladiator Alumni Association, Inc. president. He spent countless hours ensuring that the legacy of Gibbs High School would never be forgotten."

"Kudos to Kriseman and the Edge Central Development Group."
By Goliath J. Davis, III, Ph.D., Contributor, The Weekly Challenger, Aug. 21, 2020.
"The recent press release by Mayor Rick Kriseman regarding the impending development at the site of the old police complex is good news on two fronts.
It announced the mixed-use complex slated for the site and the upcoming monument for the Courageous Twelve, a group of African-American police officers responsible for the full integration of the St. Petersburg Police Department. Their lawsuit changed the face of law enforcement in St. Pete, the Tampa Bay area, the State of Florida and the nation."

"Tote bag sheds light on Black connection to the ocean and taking care of the earth."
By Nicole Slaughter Graham, The Weekly Challenger, Aug. 21 2020.
"Black Lives Matter. Sustainability. Empowerment of women. Human connection to the water.
With the creation of a single tote bag, Gigi Lucas and Brianna Kilcullen hope to bring awareness to these and other issues in society."

"The 2021 summer and fall application process is underway at USF St. Petersburg."
By Serge W. Desir Jr., USF St. Petersburg, Director, Orientation and Enrollment Marketing Services, Aug. 21, 2020.
"....I also want to take a minute to emphasize our commitment at USF’s St. Petersburg campus to welcoming students from south St. Petersburg. I am a proud graduate of Gibbs High School, and I want to do everything I can to help others from my community find success at USF St. Petersburg.
There are multiple pathways to gain entry to our university, from transitioning in as a transfer student to applying for the spring semester. We’re always available to talk to you about your options, so please don’t hesitate to reach out."


September 4, 2020

"St. Pete High students call for the ‘decolonization’ of Pinellas County curriculum."
By Nicole Slaughter Graham, The Weekly Challenger, Sep. 4, 2020.
"In early June, a petition authored by three St. Petersburg High School students started circulating on Instagram. The petition, which has more than 200 signatures, called for the “decolonization” of the curriculum in Pinellas County and was addressed directly to School Board Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego." 

"Progress for whom?"
By Goliath J. Davis, III, Ph.D., Contributor, The Weekly Challenger, Sep. 4, 2020
"As far back as the call for urban renewal, Black communities have been victimized by programs and economic development initiatives implemented in the name of progress for Black folks but have, in reality, had the opposite effect. In many ways, the programs have been Trojan Horses, masquerading as African American improvements when, in fact, they have been forerunners to gentrification and white prosperity."

"USF St. Petersburg task force on diversity and inclusion seeks campus-community collaboration to address racial inequities."
The Weekly Challenger, Sep. 4, 2020.
"In the wake of a series of police shootings and racial injustice incidents that ignited a national civil rights movement, USF’s St. Petersburg campus is working to bridge efforts between the university and the greater community to address pervasive racial inequities." 

September 12, 2020

"Clearwater community investigates Black graves left behind." 
By J.A. Jones, The Weekly Challenger, Sep. 12, 2020.
"When a Clearwater resident went looking for a family member’s gravestone at an area cemetery and couldn’t locate it, a decades-old theory proved true. 
The St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church cemetery was relocated in the 1950s. However, many Clearwater residents suspected dozens of unmarked graves were left behind rather than reinterred at the Parklawn Memorial Cemetery for African Americans in Dunedin, as recorded. Today, at least part of the land that once held the cemetery has become the location for human resources company FrankCrum’s national headquarters, 100 S. Missouri Ave."


September 18, 2020

"Decorated civil rights historian and campus champion Ray Arsenault to retire."
The Weekly Challenger, Sep. 18, 2020.
"Historian Ray Arsenault was taken aback the first time he arrived on the USF St. Petersburg campus in 1980.
....Over the next four decades, Arsenault compiled a remarkable record as a teacher and historian of civil rights and the South, while playing a vital role in transforming the USF campus by the bay. He plans to retire from USF at the end of the 2020 fall semester."


October 2, 2020

"Mayor updates city on COVID and protests."
By Frank Drouzas, The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 2, 2020.
"....Kriseman also addressed the nightly protests that have been taking place in St. Pete, noting that the city has not seen the mobs or violence that have descended upon other cities across the country. Yet in recent days, 'things are happening at once now that have raised the temperature and have brought some attention to St. Pete,' he said."

"USFSP PATHe counselors guide students through coronavirus and virtual learning."
The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 2, 2020.
"....The PATHe program is a partnership between St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus that was launched in 2018 with support from the Florida Legislature. The intent is to expand educational access and assist Pinellas County students who want to earn a college degree."

October 9, 2020

"Family Resources provides a full range of services."
By Nicole Slaughter Graham, The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 9, 2020.
"Fifty years ago, local radio DJs noticed an influx of children calling into the stations, looking for help in St. Petersburg. Some of them were having trouble at home; others were experimenting with drugs or were homeless. To help their community, a small group of these DJs started the 'hotline,' which was a fully volunteer-staffed phone line open from 5-11 p.m. daily.
The hotline grew and changed over the years, morphing into a full-service help center for children and their families, and is known today as Family Resources."


October 16, 2020

"Out-of-town agitators confront St. Pete BLM protesters."
By Deirdre O’Leary, Staff Writer, Oct. 16, 2020.
"Ashley Green, an organizer with Dream Defenders, was recently interviewed on WMNF radio by where she spoke of clashes with right-wing counter-protesters in downtown St Pete. Although Black Lives Matter protesters have been peacefully marching since George Floyd’s murder, all along they have encountered physical harm. Motorists have slammed into protesters in intersections, and few, if any, have been cited by police."

"Yuengling and Brewing Arts program team up to enhance diversity with new scholarship at USF."
The Weekly Challenger, Oct.16, 2020.
"D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. is sponsoring a $5,000 diversity in brewing scholarship for a student from an underrepresented group to cover the cost of tuition to USF’s St. Petersburg campus Brewing Arts program for the spring semester. 'With the current social and political events around racial justice, Yuengling reached out to us and wanted to do something that addresses these issues and improves diversity in our industry,' said Jennifer Sedillo, program director of the Brewing Arts program."


October 22, 2020

"AAHA partners with Tombolo Books for monthly ‘Community Conversations.’"
By Nicole Slaughter Graham, The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 22, 2020.
"Last month, Gwendolyn Reese, president of the African American Heritage Association St. Petersburg, kicked off a virtual event on St. Petersburg’s Black history by reciting the late Rosalie Peck’s poem, 'Remembering 22nd Street the Way We Were.' Rich in imagery and memory, the poem paints a picture of the historic 22nd Street South during segregation, when it was the Black community’s hub for business and entertainment."

"You said something; they did something." (Police body cam issue)
By Goliath J. Davis, The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 22, 2020.
"....As you know, in July, I wrote a column entitled 'Say Something!' as well as other columns advocating for enhanced police and community accountability through the department’s deployment of body-worn cams.
....I am pleased to announce Assistant Chief Antonio Gillium made a presentation to the city council on Oct. 15, recommending the purchase of body cams for 500 St. Petersburg police officers and received unanimous approval. The 500 cameras will be supplemented with dashboard cameras for the vehicles."

October 30, 2020

"History immortalized: City of St. Pete unveils bronze statue of Elder Jordan Sr."
By Nicole Slaughter Graham, The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 30, 2020.
"Wednesday afternoon saw a sizable crowd of people gathered just south of the historic Manhattan Casino for the unveiling of the long-awaited statue of Elder Jordan Sr., one of St. Petersburg’s original Black pioneers.
Speakers at the event included Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Veatrice Farrell, executive director of The Deuces Live, Rev. Basha Jordan, Elder Jordan Sr.’s grandson and John Hair, the local artist commissioned to create the bronze statue.
'Elder Jordan Sr. was a man who didn’t just build a dance hall or fight to get a school constructed; he built opportunity,' said Mayor Kriseman. 'He paved the way for much progress here in St. Pete. We thank him, and we thank his family. Now he will be immortalized forever, welcoming all to the Deuces.'"

"St. Pete’s infamous green benches."
By Gwendolyn Reese, The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 30, 2020.
"I have many memories of St Petersburg in the 1950s. I remember the colored and white water fountains, the colored and white restrooms, the racist portrayal of Black people in a mural on the wall in City Hall, sitting at the back of the bus and not being able to purchase food and sit down to eat in Kress or McCrory’s department store.
I also remember not being able to go to the Florida Theater to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but my most vivid memory is of the green benches."

"USF RISES to gather student opinions on disproportionate school punishment of African Americans."
The Weekly Challenger, Oct. 30, 2020.
"Multiple studies have shown that African American students are disciplined at a disproportionate rate compared to their peers, which can significantly impact their ultimate ability to succeed. Now a team of researchers from the University of South Florida is talking to students and families affected by this disparate treatment to get their opinions on how schools should address this corrosive problem."


November 6, 2020

"Civic groups join together to save the historic Melrose Clubhouse."
By Deirdre O'Leary, The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 6, 2020.
"The historic Melrose Clubhouse was the subject of last month’s virtual 'Community Conversation' sponsored by Tombolo Books. Event organizers and speakers included Gwendolyn Reese, president of the African American Heritage Association of St. Petersburg, Veatrice Farrell, executive director of Deuces Live Redevelopment Corp. and Monica Kile, local historian and former executive director of Preserve the Burg.
The Melrose Clubhouse was dedicated in 1942 at the height of the Jim Crow era by a group of African-American women, including prominent civic leaders Fannye A. Ponder and Olive B. McLin.  It served as a meeting place for several groups such as a women’s club, a war nursery, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women and the Colored YMCA."

"Residents weigh in on the south St. Petersburg 22 I-MIX Redevelopment proposal."
By Nicole Slaughter Graham, The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 6, 2020.
"On 22nd Street South, between First Avenue and Sixth Avenue South, large parcels of land -- mostly vacant -- sit unchanged, as they have for decades.
The land is currently zoned for industrial use. Unlike commercial use zoning, industrial zoning only allows for businesses such as packaging and manufacturing, which means manufacturing plants and packaging businesses are the only options for the vacant land.
Joe Furst, a private developer and the founder and managing principal of Place Projects, is hoping to change that. He recently purchased right around seven acres of the vacant land on 22nd Street South.
'Until there’s a zoning change, there’s no business or residential or office opportunity,' he said."

November 7, 2020

"Biden Wins the 2020 Presidential Election; Kamala Harris breaks boundaries as Vice-President."
The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 7, 2020.
"After four days of waiting, the U.S. finally has a new president.
The Associated Press has called the election: President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. crossed the threshold for necessary electorate votes winning Pennsylvania and Nevada, and current electorate votes total 290 (270 were needed). His most recent voting total at time of printing is 74,857,880 votes (50.6%). Trump’s total remained at 214, with 70,598,535 votes (47.7%).
His running mate, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, broke a number of boundaries in her election, becoming the first female, first Black, and first South Asian vice-president.
Vice-President-Elect Harris spoke to the moment in a closed room acceptance speech. 'Years from now, this moment will have passed, and our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and they’re going to ask us. Where were you when the stakes were so high, they will ask us what was it like, and we will tell them. We will tell them, not just how we felt we will tell them what we did.'"

November 12, 2020

"USF expands partnerships with local high schools to enhance access for disadvantaged students."
The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 12, 2020.
"The University of South Florida has expanded a program that guarantees admission to any of its three campuses to students who attend local high schools that serve historically underrepresented families."


November 24, 2020

"Gun violence claims a young mother’s life, and council members turn to community."
By J.A. Jones, The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 24, 2020.
"The crowd was solemn on Nov. 17, in the 1400 18th Ave. S parking lot and mall of Food Max and other businesses.
City Council members Lisa Wheeler-Bowman and Deborah Figgs-Sanders called together clergy, city officials and community members to send an urgent message to the people and the Creator.
'For weeks, we’ve seen protesting on Beach Drive because a Black man was killed by a white police officer. Will we now see that same level of passion for another Black life taken by one of our own,' asked Wheeler-Bowman."


"Grant will fight food insecurity in south St. Petersburg through urban farming."
The Weekly Challenger, Nov. 24, 2020.
"A $25,000 grant to USF’s St. Petersburg campus from the Ford Motor Company Fund is going towards a project that will promote food security in south St. Petersburg by producing up to 150 pounds of fresh vegetables for the community each month.
The campus is one of only seven higher education institutions across the nation to receive a grant through the 2020 Ford College Community Challenge."


December 10, 2020

"Faces of COVID: Studio@620’s Bob Devin Jones on hospitalization."
By J.A. Jones, The Weekly Challenger, Dec. 10, 2020.
"'I didn’t know at the time that losing your taste buds was a sign; I definitely lost my taste buds,' said Studio@620’s Artistic Director Bob Devin Jones, recalling how he came to suspect he had contracted COVID-19."


"Local groups work with St. Pete to declare racism a public health crisis."
By Nicole Slaughter Graham, The Weekly Challenger, Dec. 10, 2020.
"....For example, Wisconsin’s order acknowledges that racism directly contributes to inequities in housing, education and job opportunities. The declaration and subsequent measures would hold the city accountable for ensuring opportunities across all spectrums are equal.
Now, the Black Health Equity Alliance, Inc. and the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg are asking the City of St. Petersburg to do the same. Representatives of both organizations, Gwendolyn Reese and Linsey Grove, respectively, worked together to write the declaration and secure city buy-in. The two women also reached out to several community organizations and businesses for support."


"Emerging Scholar Timothy Garner has his eyes set on ophthalmology."
The Weekly Challenger, Dec. 10, 2020.
"Timothy Garner has always been driven by a desire to improve the lives of others. At Gibbs High School, the St. Pete native proved himself to be an outstanding student, graduating early and working hard to make a difference for those around him. He was accepted to USF’s St. Petersburg campus for fall 2018 and selected as an Emerging Scholar, a program that provides a tuition scholarship and mentorship for high-achieving local students."


December 23, 2020

"Research project to recover, engage public on lost history of Black burial grounds in Tampa Bay."
The Weekly Challenger, Dec. 23, 2020.
"In Tampa Bay and across the nation, many African-American burial grounds and cemeteries have been lost to history, neglected, abandoned, even paved over and developed on. A research project funded by a University of South Florida anti-racism initiative seeks to recover and reimagine the forgotten history of these sacred places.
Consisting of faculty, staff, graduate students, and community partners from fields such as anthropology, business, English and the arts, the African American Burial Grounds & Remembering Project will identify and preserve these cemeteries in Tampa Bay."


"Desegregating pioneers of Pinellas County Schools."
By Frank Drouzas, The Weekly Challenger, Dec. 23, 2020.
"Through its partnership with Tombolo Books, the African American Heritage Association St. Petersburg held its latest Community Conversation on Dec. 16, discussing Pinellas County Schools’ desegregation. Gwendolyn Reese, president of AAHASP, was joined by some of her old classmates, all of whom were among the first Black students to attend all-white schools in St. Pete."


"Bayfront honors Dr. Paul McRae."
By Raven Joy Shonel, The Weekly Challenger, Dec. 23, 2020.
'"I really appreciate the fact the community respected him so much,' said Donna McRae about her husband Dr. Paul McRae at the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to him in the hall of the endoscopy unit at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.
Since Dr. McRae’s death on Sept. 13, 2019, Bayfront had been planning to honor him, but then COVID struck.
'We meant to do this many months ago, but because of COVID, we had to delay it,' explained Dr. Marc Reiskind, former chief of medical staff at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. 'He served this hospital with all of his heart and all of his intellect.'"