City StoriesFlorida

Tampa, FL

From East Tampa to West Tampa to North Tampa…

The city of Tampa, located in Florida’s Hillsborough County, has for years been known as “Trigga City” for the streets of the East Tampa and West Tampa ghetto.


Tampa Black History

To begin the Tampa black history story, African-Americans came into the city of Tampa during the early 1900s, in the height of Florida’s building boom of Central and South Florida communities.

Before the building boom, there was a small Tampa black population of freed and runaway slaves, blacks who were enslaved, and Afro-Cubans.

Neighborhoods like Central Avenue and Main Street would later be viewed as being similar to Harlem as entertainers like Ray Charles performed and created music in the communities.

east tampa black history

A mural in historic Central Avenue.

Outside the areas of Central Avenue and Main Street, blacks were placed in sections like Dobyville or College Hills, along with a few other neighborhoods.

After the construction of the highway and other urban renewal projects were constructed, most black areas were destroyed leaving only a few places, like College Hills.

With property being limited due to segregation, communities like Progress Village and Carver City were created strictly for blacks.

east tampa ghetto tampa black history

Progress Village

By the 1970s, with the help of the Tampa black population growing and white flight, blacks moved into neighborhoods like Ybor, Nuccio and other communities throughout the city of Tampa.

The Cuban residents played a huge role in the development of Tampa and at one time were the center of Florida’s Cuban population, long before Miami.

Most resided in Ybor City, founded between the late 1800s and early 1900s, a community that thrived with the cigar factories until the mid-1900s.

east tampa ybor city

Ybor City

Due to the Great Depression causing a decline in the production and profit of cigars, followed by urban renewal, Ybor City is not the once dominant Cuban community as it once was.

Currently in the city of Tampa, the community demographics are slowly changing as people are constantly moving in and out of certain neighborhoods like North Tampa or communities near Tampa’s downtown area.


Tampa ‘Hoods & Communities

Many neighborhoods date back to the 70s and 80s like 34th Manche in the Jackson Heights community or the Goyams of the old College Hills Projects.

east tampa ghetto

Jackson Heights of East Tampa

Some claim that before drugs had entered the streets of the Tampa ghetto, the community was not as active, outside of local fist fights and small time crime.

But with a lack of guidance and a good foundation, together with a better chance to earn money in the streets, the city would eventually become known as “Trigga City”.

east tampa ghetto

Moses White complex in Nuccio of East Tampa

Communities like the city’s housing projects were the most known and had the biggest reputation in the streets of the Tampa ghetto.

west tampa ghetto

The old Boulevard Homes of West Tampa

Nuccio changed after the Moses White projects were placed in the community, West Tampa became known for Robles Park and the Boulevard Homes, while East Tampa gained a reputation for College Hills and Ponce De Leon projects.

Currently in the city, all of the projects have been redeveloped or are on their way to becoming mixed-income apartments or multi-million dollar developments with less than half of the apartment units being replaced.

The rebuilt College Hills of East Tampa

Ponce De Leon and the College Hills projects of the East Tampa ghetto have become Belmont Estates, while West Tampa Boulevard Homes has begun the process of being demolish.

South Tampa’s Rambrant Gardens near Port Tampa has been torn down, and Central Park Village of East Tampa, which replaced the historic community of Central Avenue, is now becoming multi-million dollar complex called Encore.

Cross Fowler community of North Tampa

The destruction of the housing projects has made apartments like Tampa Park or complexes in North Tampa like the Cross Fletcher/Fowler and 15th Street area as the modern day housing projects.


Check out more on Tampa and other communities in the state of Florida.

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.