TAMPA, Fla. —  Black History Month is celebrated every February to honor the contributions and legacies of Black and African Americans across U.S. history. It was first celebrated in 1976, and since then it's been used to educate others and celebrate the achievements of pioneers, from Harriet Tubman to Katherine Johnson.

Here’s a list of Black History celebrations happening in the Tampa Bay area.

What You Need To Know

Hernando County

Hillsborough County

Manatee County

Pinellas County

Polk County


Some Black History Month Facts...

Did you know:

  • The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, an African American historian, scholar, educator and publisher. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
  • According to the Pew Research Center, the Black population of the United States is at an estimated 47.9 million people as of 2022, making up 14.4% of the country’s population. This marks a 32% increase since 2000, when there were 36.2 million Black people living in the U.S.

  • Often referred to as "The Black National Anthem," the song Lift Every Voice and Sing was originally hymn written as a poem by NAACP leader and Jacksonville, Fla. native James Weldon Johnson in 1900. His brother, John Rosamond Johnson, composed music for the lyrics. The song was first performed at the once-segregated Stanton College Preparatory School in Jacksonville to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

  • Eatonville, Florida is the oldest black-incorporated municipality in the United States. Incorporated in 1887, it is the first town successfully established by African American freedmen. 

  • In 1738, when more than 100 Africans had arrived in Florida, the Spanish established the fort and town of Fort Mose (pronounced “Moh-say”) in St. Augustine’s northernmost border, the first legally sanctioned free Black settlement in what is now the United States. 

  • Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs was the first African American to serve on the Florida Cabinet when he was chosen as Secretary of State in 1868 by Gov. Harrison Reed. As superintendent of public instruction in 1873, he established the state’s first public school system. 

  • The Historic Harlem Academy School was the first public school built for African American children in Tampa. Known as 'The Mother of African American Schools,' the school was located at Harrison and Morgan Streets in what is now known as downtown Tampa. 

  • The Florida Sentinel Bulletin has been serving the Tampa community since 1945 and is the only African American publication in Florida that prints twice weekly and owns all its own printing equipment.