Tampa adding historical marker to honor end of segregation

By Dalia Dangerfield, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, February 08, 2018

A historical marker will soon be added to a street corner in downtown Tampa to remember the organized sit-in that helped end segregation in the city.

  • Marker will be placed in front of old F.W. Woolworth building
  • Marker funded via community, Hillsborough County
  • Dedication ceremony for marker Feb. 24

The marker's placement is part of the Tampa Woolworth Project. Through that project, the community raised money to add the marker in front of the old F.W. Woolworth’s building on Franklin and Polk streets.

Back in 1960, a group of young African Americans marched to Woolworth’s and then sat at the “whites-only” lunch counter to protest segregation in the city. Former state senator Arthenia Joyner was part of that peaceful protest -- she was in the 11th grade.

“It was something that I never forgot because there we were students, making our statement and not knowing what would happen,” Joyner said.

The organized sit-in led the way towards desegregation in Tampa.

Fifty-eight years later, the marker will celebrate and share that civil rights story with those who walk by the building.

“This community needs to know that we, too, played an important role in the civil rights demonstrations in the ’60s,” Joyner said.

The marker will cost $3,580. The community contributed $1,300 in donations through a GoFundMe effort. Hillsborough County donated $1,800 for the marker, as well.

The community will have a dedication ceremony for the marker on the corner of Franklin and Polk streets on Feb. 24.