Racial Violence

Lynching in St. Petersburg

Florida’s History of Racial Violence

From Reconstruction until the Civil Rights movement, White people carried out lynchings as a way to terrorize, punish, and control Black people. According to the NAACP, between 1900 and 1930, Florida had the highest ratio of lynchings of any state in the country based on the size of its Black population and Tampa had the most lynchings of any Florida city or county during the same period.

On the Streets of St. Pete

At least three extrajudicial lynchings were carried out on the streets of St. Petersburg between 1905 and 1926. Mobs of White men, women, and even children participated in the lynchings of Black men who were accused of crimes. Two of the men were captured out of police custody before they were murdered and no one was ever arrested or charged for any of the lynchings.


John Evans Memorial

Memorial at the site of the 1914 lynching of John Evans, Dr. MLK Jr. St. and 2nd Ave. S.


Modern Day Lynchings

These documented lynchings are likely not the only ones that occurred. The death of so many Black people today at the hands of law enforcement and self-styled vigilantes reminds us that that fight for equal rights and the equal value of Black lives is far from won.

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Your History Matters to Our Future

A History of Civil Rights and Social Change in Pinellas County was researched and co-curated by local historians Gwendolyn Reese and Jon Wilson.

Far from an exhaustive account of Pinellas County’s history, this overview is an evolving project that serves as an entry point for education, understanding, and further exploration.

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