This fall the video team at the Tampa Bay Times launched a new series: Florida’s Hidden Histories. The first two episodes are available below, with more to come this winter.
Episode 1: Why St. Petersburg’s Black voters beat national averages
The first episode explores the life of Chester James Sr., a leader in St. Petersburg’s Black community, who was instrumental in registering people to vote during the civil rights era.
The city’s Black voter turnout is 10 percent over the national average. That’s been true for generations. James' story helps explain why.
Episode 2: Selling the Sunshine State
This episode looks at 100 years of image curation by Florida’s government. The state’s civic boosterism began in Tampa Bay, in 1919, when St. Petersburg hired the first city publicity agent in U.S history.
Billed as the place “no worries exist” — even through the Great Depression and civil unrest — the sand-coated image undeniably established the state’s identity.
Once the smallest state in the American south, Florida is now the nation’s third largest by population, and its theme parks are among the most-visited places in the world.
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