Tampa’s Cuban History
Tampa Cubans and Their Club, 1886 to the Present
In January 2008, the USF Libraries’ Florida Studies Center, in partnership with the Tampa Bay History Center and USF Humanities Institute, learned that its grant to the Florida Humanities Council had been funded. “Interpreting Cultural Heritage: Tampa Cubans and their Club, 1886-present” serves as a pilot project with the historic Circulo Cubano de Tampa, an Ybor City mutual aid society.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, the Cuban Club building at 2010 Avenida Republica de Cuba is a well-established architectural landmark. The community served by the club dates to the nineteenth century and constitutes one of Tampa Bay’s most significant ethnic groups for understanding the region’s evolution and cultural heritage.
In an effort to educate Floridians and visitors alike about the economic, cultural, and social life of the immigrant world of Ybor City, the project will create an introductory video of approximately 10 minutes featuring José Martí actor Chaz Mena, who will introduce Cuban history in Ybor City (1889-1895) through the lens of his nearly two-dozen visits to the city in the 1890s. The video will be shown in the Cuban Club and made available on the Internet via links from the TBHC web site. Ten 3-4-minute walking tour video segments, presented to Cuban Club visitors on an iPod device, incorporate technology in innovative ways to educate visitors about the cultural history of the Cuban Club and its members (1889-present) by taking them room by room through the building’s interior.
Grant project director Dr. Mark I. Greenberg, with assistance from a talented group of advisors, expect to complete “Interpreting Cultural Heritage” in March 2009 and will hold a public event at the Cuban Club to share their work with the public.
Interpreting Cultural Heritage Grant
In January 2007, the USF Libraries Florida Studies Center, Tampa Bay History Center, and USF Humanities Institute received the following grant from the Florida Humanties Council Circulo de Cubana Tampa