#1 - The BeginningJohn and Anna Donaldson were the first African-American settlers on the Pinellas peninsula when they arrived in 1868. Relegated to separation by a series of racial segregation laws known as Jim Crow Laws, African Americans created their own community along a dirt trail known as 22nd Street S. Jim Crow was a way of life in which blacks were relegated to the status of second-class citizens. They could not shop, find entertainment, receive professional services, or even attend most churches. The exclusion fostered need and energized the rise of streets such as 22nd Street S., which became the commercial, professional, and entertainment thoroughfare for black St. Petersburg.
#2 - In the Name of "Progress"
Because black residents were required to stay in their own neighborhoods, they created their own businesses to serve their needs. These businesses provided opportunities for self-employment not available a generation earlier and allowed for success even without an education or advanced training. By 1977, many of these businesses closed or relocated, and the buildings were demolished for interstate construction.
#3 - Manhattan Casino Hall
Originally known as the Jordan Dance Hall, this building was constructed in 1925 by Elder Jordan Sr., one of the first African-American businessmen, and his sons. The building, a stop on the infamous Chitlin' Circuit, was the focal point of culture and entertainment in the community for more than 40 years and was instrumental in the development of blues, gospel, jazz, and big band music in the south during the period of segregation.