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
Erected 1996 by the Tampa Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1974.
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. Located on the grounds of Perry Harvey, Sr. Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 N Orange Ave, Tampa FL 33602, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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). Touch for a list and map 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). University of South Florida Library (Submitted on July 3, 2010, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 3, 2010, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 2,351 times since then and 21 times this year. Last updated on April 24, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. Photos: 1. submitted on July 3, 2010, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. 2. submitted on April 24, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 3, 2010, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. 10. submitted on January 12, 2012, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.