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Former Gibbs H.S. football coach Alfonso “Al” Campbell and Eliza Bettinger
There's Thunder Somewhere

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Al Campbell tells the story of a high school tragedy that helped pull a city together.

Al was head coach of the Gibbs High School football team in 1970. The district had attempted to close the school down, but opposition from the African American community led to an about-face. Some saw the attempted closing as a slight against the black population in downtown St. Pete.

The day before school was to start, Al Campbell was holding a football practice when several players in a huddle were struck by lightning. Two died. The event helped vastly different schools come together and put aside racial tension, at least for a time.

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Music:
“We Too Shall Rest” by Olafur Arnolds, from For Now I am Winter
“Villa del Refugio” by This Will Destroy You, from This Will Destroy You

StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews from more than 80,000 participants, and this past January StoryCorps spent a month in St. Petersburg recording the stories from your Tampa Bay friends and neighbors. Please visit: http://storycorps.org/

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StoryCorps Tampa Bay

StoryCorps Tampa Bay

StoryCorps® is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Since 2003, StoryCorps® has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews from more than 80,000 participants, and this past January StoryCorps® spent a month in St.

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