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Florida Negro papers

Identifier: F37

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

Topics covered include religion and social life, customs and celebrations, civil rights and legal status, language and literature, education, folklore, music, and song. Other subjects include occupations, labor, and the Reconstruction era. Highlights of the collection include interviews with formerly enslaved African Americans in Florida conducted by field workers between 1935 and 1939.


  • Created: 1936-1948
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1933-1938
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1991


Conditions Governing Access

The contents of this collection may be subject to copyright.  Visit the United States Copyright Office's website at more information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Florida Historical Society is the owner of this collection and retains its rights regarding publishing and credit ownership.

Biographical or Historical Information

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal program. The primary function of the WPA was to create jobs for the millions of Americans unemployed as a result of the Great Depression. Through a series of projects called Federal One, the WPA became the largest federal relief program, employing nearly one-third of the nation’s jobless. WPA Projects included the Federal Arts Project, Federal Music Project, Federal Theater Project, and the Federal Writers’ Project. During World War II, the focus of the WPA shifted toward national defense and, eventually, into war preparation. WPA agencies were closed in 1943. Brewer, Jeutonne P. The Federal Writers’ Project: A Bibliography. Metuchen, New Hampshire: Scarecrow Press, 1994. McDonald, William F. Federal Relief Administration and the Arts. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1969. Penkower, Monty N. The Federal Writers’ Project: A Study in Government Patronage of the Arts. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1977. Powell, Evanell K. WPA Federal Writer’s Project with Emphasis on the Florida Writers and Carita Doggott Corse. Lake Panasoffkee, Florida, 1990. Schoyer’s Books. The American Guide Series: Works by The Federal Writers’ Project. Pittsburg: Arthur Scharf, 1990. Tidd, James Francis. The Works Progress Administration in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, 1935 to 1943. M.A. Thesis. University of South Florida: Tampa, Florida.

Note written by Unknown; edited Jean McAllister, 2011


4.50 Linear Feet

9 boxes

Language of Materials



The Florida Negro Papers consist of photocopied correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and interviews with African American, Native American, and Hispanic American residents of Florida. Originally intended for publication, these materials were generated by the Federal Writers’ Project under the Works Progress Administration in an effort to document Florida folk life and culture. The oral history interviews, folktales, songs, and other ethnographic materials gathered by fieldworkers provide first-hand accounts of daily life in Florida during the Civil War era.

Arrangement Note

Alphabetically by subject and type of material.

Custodial History

The Florida Negro Papers are the property of the Florida Historical Society. In 1991, the Society gave permission to the USF Libraries Special Collections Department to photocopy the collection for the purpose of making it available to researchers.

Related Materials

Florida Folklife Collection, Florida State Archives, Florida Department of State, Tallahassee, Florida. Florida Slave Narratives, Special Collections Department, Tampa Library, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Stetson Kennedy Papers, Special Collections Department, Tampa Library, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Zora Neale Hurston Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Other Descriptive Information


Processing Information


Florida Negro papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USF Libraries - Special Collections Repository

4202 East Fowler Ave.
Tampa FL 33620-5400 US