For many years, John Donaldson and his wife, Anna Germain, were the only black people on the peninsula, which is now St. Petersburg. The ex-slaves came here in the late 1800s with their employer Louis Bell Jr. after the civil war. They puchased 40 acres on Tangerine Avenue S and became successful farmers.
Like the Donaldsons, many black pioneers -- early settlers as well as conteporaries -- played a significant role in the settlement of St. Petersburg.
In 1888, when Peter Demens hired about 100 black laborers to finish the Orange Belt Railroad, the seeds were sown for the start of a rich black community.
This exhibit, which was assembled by the St. Petersburg Historical Society details the triumphs and struggles of the city's black residents.
Please click one of the buttons on the right to navigate your way from the turn of the century through the 1980s.
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