Voices From the Past Return

USF Professor Cheryl Rodriguez was instrumental in digitizing the original tapes
USF Professor Cheryl Rodriguez was instrumental in digitizing the original tapes
TAMPA (2009-09-17) -

The crackly voices come from out of the past. They talk about music, honky-tonk bars, churches and first-person accounts of Ray Charles when he got his start in Tampa. The everyday life of a long-gone era.

And these urban snapshots would have been gone permanently if it weren't for Otis Anthony. The former USF student interviewed about ninety civil rights pioneers and members of Tampa's black community for the Tampa Urban League. But after his interviews in 1977 and 78, the casette tapes were relegated to Anthony's garage.

They stayed there for nearly 30 years.

It took several years for USF's special collections department to get enough money have them digitized. The unveiling of the African-American Oral History Project will be held at 2 p.m. Friday on the fourth floor of the main USF library.

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