5 African American Heritage Landmarks in Bay County
By Florida Division of Historic Resources Staff
Hillsborough County's Glover School and Black History & Art Museum are historical African American Heritage landmarks.
Florida has a rich and diverse history. African American Heritage landmarks and legacies exist in various locations throughout the state. The following historical African American Heritage sites can be found in Bay County. While some of these sites can be visited, other listings are marked "private" and are not open to the public.
Bing Rooming House
205 South Allen Street
The Bing Rooming House was built in 1926 by Janie and E.L. Bing and operated by Mrs. Bing until 1975. During segregation, this boarding house served as the most prominent hotel for blacks in Plant City, including the visiting Negro Baseball League teams and players such as Satchel Paige. 813-704-5800.
5104 Horton Road
Seven miles south of Plant City, the Bealsville area was settled in 1865 by freed slaves who built their homes of logs from the trees cleared for future farmland. Bryant Horton and Alfred Beal planted orange seeds, starting the heritage of orange production in Bealsville. The first of five churches, Antioch Baptist, was established in 1868, and included a school. Residents raised funds to build the wood-framed school building in 1933. A concrete block addition was built in 1945 and a wooden building was added in 1949. 913-757-6760.
Helping Hand Day Nursery
Original building was torn down; now located at 6406 N. 43rd St. and 12535 Tinsley Circle
Opened in 1924 by Mrs. Von Charlton and run by Inez Boyer, the school's previous students include former Florida State Senator James Hargrett, Tampa City Council Chair Gwen Miller and the late Sylvia Rodriguez Kimbell, former Hillsborough County Commissioner. It is one of the few businesses that survived 1960s urban renewal.
Historic Oaklawn Cemetery
Morgan and Jefferson Streets
Oaklawn opened in 1850 as Tampa’s first public cemetery. The first person buried here was an unnamed slave who was owned by the Lesley family. A slave burial ground is located in the center, along with grave sites of prominent citizens Nancy Ashley, Benjamin and Fortune Taylor. (813) 274-8615.
Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library
1505 North Nebraska Street
The Ybor City Library was renamed in 2003 for Robert W. Saunders, former Field Secretary of the NAACP. Saunders followed in the footsteps of Harry T. Moore who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan on Christmas night 1951. In this difficult and dangerous role Saunders guided the state through challenging years, working with Roy Wilkins at the NAACP, and serving as Chief of Civil Rights for the southeast region. (813) 273-3652.