Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
From the late 19th century until the mid 1970s, Central Avenue was the principal business and entertainment district of Tampa's African American community. In 1974, Urban Redevelopment razed all but a few of the buildings and converted the area into a park. Before it was destroyed, this section contained schools, churches, lodges, a library, physicians, lawyers, dentists, grocery stores, barbershops, drug stores, insurance companies, newspapers, restaurants, a hotel, movie theaters and more than a score of bars and nightclubs, some featuring major headliners of the black entertainment circuit. Celebrities, such as Ray Charles, James Brown, B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Nate and Cannonball Adderly, all played on Central when they were just getting started.
On Saturday afternoons and evenings the sidewalks and store-fronts of Central were jammed with people strolling, shopping, socializing, taking in the sights and sounds. During segregation, when African Americans were not welcome in most commercial and recreational establishments in Tampa, Central Avenue provided a necessary alternative. The African American businesses that grew to fill this need offered economic opportunities for proprietors, alternative employment for workers, and needed goods and services for consumers, within a friendly and familiar atmosphere.
Location. 27° 57.254′ N, 82° 27.337′ W. Marker is in Tampa, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker is at the intersection of North Orange Avenue and East Harrison Street, on the right when traveling north on North Orange Avenue. Click for map. Located on the grounds of Perry Harvey, Sr. Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 N Orange Ave, Tampa FL 33602, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Perry Harvey, Sr., Park Skateboard Bowl (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Brooke Mass Grave (about 500 feet away); Tampa Native Americans (about 500 feet away); U.S.S. Sagamore (about 500 feet away); Confederate States Soldiers and Sailors (about 600 feet away); 29 Sea Captains and Mariners (about 600 feet away); Victims of the Yellow Fever (about 600 feet away); Kennedy (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Tampa.
More about this marker. The marker was temporarily removed while this area was undergoing redevelopment. With the completion of the park this marker has been re-erected at the original location.
Also see . . . Inside the Watts Sanderson's Central Terrace Beer Garden (1942). (Submitted on July 3, 2010, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.)
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 2,174 times since then and 37 times this year. Last updated on , by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. Photos: 1. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. 2. submitted on , by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. 10. submitted on , by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.