Mayor commemorates 40 years of Black History Month at City Hall

By Laura Mulrooney, Neighborhood News Bureau

ST. PETERSBURG – History was made Mon., Feb. 1 over city hall. Mayor Rick Kriseman raised a flag over city hall commemorating 40 years of Black History Month.

The flag featured the likeness of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History Month.”

Terri Lipsey Scott, featuredAfter the flag was raised accompanied with applause, whoops, and laughter Terry Lipsey Scott, chair of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum paid respect to Kriseman for his momentous gesture.

“Mayor Kriseman, today you have done what no mayor, governor, or even president has ever done, which was to acknowledge and commemorate the contributions that African Americans have made to this nation by flying, over a government institution, a flag in honor of not only Dr. Carter G. Woodson but African American history,” said Scott.

Kriseman responded humbly.

“One of the many things that makes our community so special is our black history and the countless contributions that black individuals and families have made and continue to make in our community” acknowledged Kriseman.

The significance of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum is now well recognized throughout the city since Kriseman intervened with the museum’s potentially disastrous fate.

Last January, the St. Petersburg Housing Authority board voted 4-3 to sell the museum.

Since then the city has announced a plan to purchase the building with the intent to keep it as a cultural landmark, museum and now city building.

Scott quoted Woodson, “if a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” in reference to Kriseman’s actions recognizing the city’s diversity and the importance of keeping its history alive.

This is not the first time Kriseman has made steps to unify the community and demonstrate St. Petersburg’s inclusiveness.

In 2015 during Pride week, Kriseman flew the LGBT Pride Flag over city hall and served as the parade’s honorary grand marshal.

Laura Mulrooney is a reporter in the Neighborhood News Bureau at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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