ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — February 1 marks the start of Black History Month, and in St. Petersburg several community members are on a mission to bring African American history to the forefront.
Community members are making an investment towards the expansion of the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in South St. Pete.
Tuesday, they kicked off a fundraising campaign to invest in black history and help raise money for the $27 million construction of a new museum, which aims to showcase Tampa Bay’s rich African American history.
Terri Lipsey Scott heads up The Woodson African American Museum of Florida and is on a mission to elevate untold stories.
“There are so many extraordinary stories of celebration, of contributions with regard to things that African Americans have done to ensure the success of this great nation,” she explained.
The current Woodson Museum is just 4,000 square feet in South St. Pete and is constantly running out of room for new artifacts, artwork and for events that celebrate the community.
“Here in the city of St. Petersburg, we show off the collection of museums in this city and it grieves me and others on more occasions than not that we find ourselves interpreting and presenting African American history in a former public housing community center. What this expansion will do is place the African American story on par with all the other extraordinary museums in this city,” Lipsey Scott added.
Across the entire state of Florida, Lipsey Scott said there isn’t a single African American museum that hasn’t been repurposed from another building. Scott hopes to change that with the new Woodson African American Museum, which will be across from the Manhatten Casino on 22nd Street South.
So far, the community has raised over $2 million. Woodson Museum leaders hope to reach their funding goal by the end of 2022 and start construction in South St. Pete along 22nd Street South in 2023.
“The need for accurate history that talks truthfully about the history of our community is vitally important,” Mayor Ken Welch added.
Scott hopes it will be a place to bring history alive by celebrating the adversity and contributions of African Americans in Tampa Bay.
You can learn more about the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum of Florida and the proposed expansion by visiting woodsonmuseum.org.