Hillsborough NAACP wants to organize to save Tampa's historic Jackson House

04/03/14 Seán Kinane
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Tags: NAACP, Tampa, Jackson House, African-American history, music

A dilapidated historic house in downtown Tampa may get a second chance at renovations. The Jackson House was built in 1901 and served as a boarding house. During decades of racial segregation it was one of the only places blacks could find accommodation. The Jackson House hosted celebrities such as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie.

Carolyn Collins, president of Hillsborough Branch NAACP, told Tampa City Council Thursday her organization was trying to find a way to preserve the historic building.

"We want you to know that we are involved on this, we're asking for you to give us some time. Our pursuit is in a campaign in excess of $2 million, we're projecting $3 million to hold on to the last historical site that is actually identified both locally, state, and nationally which is the Jackson House. Our premise is based on Tampa's Comprehensive Plan that was passed by the City Council January 29th, 1998. We've looked at that plan in addition to all of the architectural renderings. We know exactly what has been done, we appreciate what you've done and we're asking you, now, to give us the opportunity to move forward with this community, people of all colors, all nationalities, all ethnicities, have called us and it doesn't pass one day that I go into the office, as yesterday, and I have another message pad with some one saying, 'we've heard what you guys are doing, we want to come on board.' We're soliciting your support in doing so."

City staff pointed out that there is no order to demolish the Jackson House and the most immediate critical need is stabilizing the structure.

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