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A clause entitled “Segregation of Races” was inserted in the St. Petersburg City Charter in 1931. It wasn’t until 1936, however, that the clause gave rise to the first segregated housing zone within the city. In this report we provide evidence to suggest that it was the Federal Government and not the St. Petersburg city council, as has been claimed, that was responsible for the implementation of this clause and the segregated commercial district that developed along 22nd Street South. We then document the rise of this commercial district and present further evidence that city council showed little interest in preventing white store owners from operating businesses in the district long past the time when the segregation clause should have prevented them from doing so. Finally, we examine the reasons for the demise of the district in light of federal legislation that banned segregation in the 1960s, and the suggestion that highway I-275 may also have played a role in contributing to this demise.


This report is the second of two prepared for the St. Petersburg Museum of History to mark the anniversaries of the United States Supreme Court and the Congressional rulings that banned racial segregation in American. The first report was titled “Growing up Black in the Jordan Park District: The St. Petersburg African American experience during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s/1970s.

Correspondence concerning either report should be sent to Marvin L. Simner.

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