Oral History Program (OHP)

Glossary of Terms relevant to Oral Histories with a focus on Florida

Florida Glossary

Our Oral History projects have also resulted in glossaries and documentation that the users of certain collections may find helpful.  Our Florida Glossary, accessed via the menu on the left, covers laws and events, people, organizations, and places that have been discussed in our Oral Histories. 

Court cases and laws

Court Cases
  • Manning Case: Manning v. Board of Public Instruction of Hillsborough County, Florida, our version of Brown v. Board of Education. This case was argued by Thurgood Marshall.
  • Buckman Act: The Buckman Act, passed in 1905, created the first system of higher education in Florida, three universities which were to be governed by the Florida Board of Control. Written by legislator Henry Holland Buckman.


Tampa/Hillsborough County
  • 1933 Treasure Coast Hurricane: This hurricane formed on August 31st and dissolved on September 7th, and reached the Tampa Bay area on September 7th. This hurricane dropped more that seven inches of rain on the city of Tampa and caused the collapse of the Tampa Electric dam. With the collapse of the dam several areas experienced severe flooding, most notable was Sulphur Springs.
  • Central Avenue (Tampa) Riot: This riot took place in June 1967. A young African American man, Marvin Chambers, died after being shot by the police, who believed him to be fleeing from the scene of a robbery. This led to several days of rioting in the Central Avenue area.
  • College Hill Riot: February 1987: Tampa police had used a carotid neck-hold on a young African American man with schizophrenia, leading to his death. The day after this man died, a report was released clearing Tampa police of misconduct in the 1986 arrest of baseball player Dwight Gooden. The combination of these events caused the riots. This is the riot where Otis Anthony went down to talk to the kids and got taken hostage.
  • "Tale of Two Cities, A": "A Tale of Two Cities" is the name of an event that Gary Mormino and Ray Arsenault have moderated several times, most recently in 2009, in which the two cities' history and culture are discussed.
  • Tampa City Council Bribery Case: A 1963 incident in which three members of the City Council (Lee Duncan, Dick Bacon, and Fletcher Stribling) were indicted for bribery in a probe of liquor zoning practices. The indictments came shortly before the election for mayor, which Julian Lane lost to Nick Nuccio. All three councilors were acquitted. Duncan was later reelected to the City Council and served several more terms.
  • Tampa Flood of 1960: March 1960 flood caused by a combination of heavy rain and the breaking of the Lake Magdalene dam. Several thousand people were affected by the flood.
  • Tilt of the Maroon and Gold: The Tilt of the Maroon and Gold was an annual football game in Tampa, which was played by Bethune-Cookman and other black colleges.
  • Florida Teachers' Strike: A statewide teachers' strike in February and March of 1968. In 1967, the Florida Education Association (the teachers' union) lobbied the state legislature for higher salaries and more school funding, which was approved. However, Governor Kirk vetoed the proposed budget, causing spot strikes throughout the state. Kirk called for a special legislative session in January 1968, which raised taxes for school and teacher funding, a proposal the governor approved. Most teachers felt that the increases were not enough, and the FEA announced that it would support teachers if they went on strike.
  • Groveland Case: In 1949, a white woman accused four black men of rape. One of the men fled the county, and several days later was shot by a sheriff's posse. The three others were arrested, causing a mob to attack Groveland's black neighborhood. All three were convicted, and two were sentenced to death. After the Supreme Court overturned the death sentences, Sheriff Willis McCall was assigned to transport the two men for retrial. McCall shot both prisoners, claiming that they tried to overpower him. One man, Walter Irvin, survived and stated that McCall shot them in cold blood, but McCall was not punished in any way for his actions. In his second trial, Irvin was represented by Thurgood Marshall, and once again sentenced to death. Governor LeRoy Collins commuted his sentence to life in prison. Irvin was released in 1968 and died in 1970. McCall remained sheriff until 1972, when he finally lost the election, and died in 1994.
  • Johns Committee: The Florida Legislative Investigation Committee or the Johns Committee, named after former governor Charley Johns, was established in 1956. The committee undertook a wide-ranging investigation of potentially subversive activities by academics, civic rights groups, and suspected communist organizations, and also attempted to eliminate homosexuals from state government and public education.
  • Kefauver Committee: The Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, headed by Senator Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.). The committee traveled across the country from 1950 to 1951 investigating corruption and organized crime.
  • "Labor Day" Hurricane: The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, which made landfall in the Florida Keys as a category 5 hurricane on September 2, 1935. As of 2009, it is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States, and the third strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricane on record.
  • "Redneck Speech": In an April 5, 1950 article called "Florida: Anything Goes," Time magazine reported that George Smathers gave a speech to a rural audience, in which made the following statements about Claude Pepper, against whom he was running for senator. "Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law, and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper before his marriage habitually practiced celibacy." This was a hoax; Smathers never delivered any such speech.

VIPs (Non-political figures only)

  • Allen, John: John Allen (1907-1982) was the first president of the University of South Florida, serving from 1957 to 1970. He was also interim president of the University of Florida from 1953 to 1955.
  • Avellanal, José: Dr. José Ramón Avellanal. He also co-founded La Gaceta and owned a cigar company.
  • Clara Frye: Born in Albany, NY in 1872 and trained as a nurse in Alabama. Clara moved to Tampa in 1908 and opened up a clinic in 1923 after whitnessing an African American patient was denied an operation due to a lack of African American facilities.
  • Claxton, Leon: Leon Claxton was a wealthy black vaudeville producer who lived in Tampa. Harlem in Havana was part of the Royal American Shows, and traveled across the country.
  • Cuscaden, Arthur: Arthur Weston Cuscaden, who came to Tampa in 1878 and planted one of the first orange groves in the city. He served several terms on the City Council and School Board, and was mayor pro tem during James McKay's administration (1902-1904). Cuscaden’s family donated the land where Cuscaden Park was built in 1937.
  • Dunn, Hampton: Hampton Dunn was managing editor of the Tampa Daily Times, and was a noted local historian. His research collection is housed at the USF Tampa Library.
  • Esteve, Pedro: Esteve (1866-1925) was a prominent Spanish anarchist who edited several radical newspapers and other publications.
  • Favors, Otha: African American activist in 1960s and 1970s. Changed his name to Askia Muhammad Aquil.
  • Gilder, Robert: Bob Gilder, who died in 2003, was a former president of the Tampa NAACP who also served as WTMP’s general manager.
  • Graham, Billy: (1918-present) A Baptist minister who has been a religious advisor to twelve U.S. presidents (Harry Truman to Barrack Obama).  Graham attened and graduated from the Florida Bilble Institute, located in Temple Terrace in 1940.  Graham wote in his autobiography, that he "recieved his calling on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club..." The Florida Bible institute is now Trinity College and was located in Temple Terrace at the current site of Florida College. Trinity College has since moved to New Port Richey, Florida.
  • Knight, Peter O.: Peter O. Knight (1865-1946) was one of the founding members of the Holland & Knight law firm, who held several political offices in the state and county, including mayor of Fort Myers, state senator, and Hillsborough County State Attorney. He was also the founder of Tampa Electric Company, and was involved with numerous businesses and charitable organizations.
  • Lumia, Jimmy: Gangster. Lumia was killed on June 5, 1950, shot while seated in his car.
  • Lykes Family: The Lykes are a very prominent Tampa family who were at one point the largest landowners in Florida. They were also the owners of Lykes Brothers Steamship Company. Noted members: Howell T. Lykes, Louise Lykes Ferguson, Chester Ferguson.
  • Martí, José: José Martí (1853-1895) was a writer and political activist who was one of the main leaders of the Cuban War of Independence. He often traveled to the United States and spent a great deal of time in Tampa. Sociedad la Unión Martí-Maceo, the Afro-Cubans' club, is named for him.
  • MacInnes, William: William MacInnes, a.k.a. "Mr. Mac," was president of TECO; he had a number of very influential positions and memberships including leading the Chamber of Commerce and the Committee of 100, and serving on the Exchange National Bank’s board.
  • Moon, Charlie: African American nightclub owner during the 1930s, probable bolita/less than legal connections. Shot by Pearl McAden.
  • Pacheco, Ferdie: Dr. Ferdie Pacheco is a writer and artist who was also Muhammad Ali’s personal physician.
  • Palermo, Onofrio: Onofrio Palermo was the only Italian lector in Ybor City (all the rest were Spaniards). His grandson, Nelson Palermo, has contributed interview to the Ybor City Oral History Project; see DOI Y10-00082.
  • Panepinto, Lorenzo: Panepinto (1865-1911) was a teacher, union leader, and socialist in Santo Stefano, Sicily, whose political and philosophical views influenced many of Tampa’s Italian immigrants.
  • Rodriguez, Francisco Jr.: African American attorney who argued many civil rights cases. Father of Dr. Cheryl Rodriguez.
  • Shimberg, James: James Shimberg, Sr. (1923-2007) was a developer and philanthropist who was also chairman of the Hillsborough County Charter Review Board.
  • Smith, William Reece: William Reece Smith is a prominent Tampa Bay attorney, who was interim president of the University of South Florida from 1976 to 1977. He has also served as Tampa’s City Attorney and as president of the American Bar Association.
  • Stephens, Wade: Wade Stephens was a former Tampa Tribune editorial writer whom Sandy Freedman appointed director of strategic planning. He resigned four months after his appointment. Both Stephens and Freedman said in interviews that his "style" was a problem, without offering specifics or more explanation.
  • Wall, Charlie: Charlie Wall was the reputed kingpin of Tampa's illegal bolita operations.

Miscellaneous Concepts

  • Bolita: A type of lottery, very popular in Tampa during the early twentieth century.
  • Guayabera: The white shirt that is traditionally worn by Cuban, Spanish, and Latin men.
  • "Raper Report": A Study of Negro Life in Tampa, a 1927 report about African Americans in Tampa compiled by Arthur Raper, Benjamin Mays, and J.H. McGrew. Copies in SPC.
  • Whydah: Slave ship that the City of Tampa wanted to have as a museum. Big controversy.


  • Barrio Latino Commission: The Barrio Latino Commission, part of the City of Tampa's Historic Preservation and Urban Development Department, is responsible for preservation and design in the Ybor City Historic District.
  • Burgert Brothers: Tampa photography studio in business from 1899 to 1963, which took many photographs of the city and local community.
  • Circulo Cubano de Tampa, El: Ybor City club for the white Cubans.
  • Clara Frye Hospital: Hospital for African Americans, founded by Clara Frye, a nurse who took care of people out of her home. Closed in the 1960s.
  • Environmental Protection Commission: The Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) of Hillsborough County was created in 1967 by special act of the Florida Legislature to control and regulate activities which cause or may reasonably be expected to cause pollution, contamination, or excessive noise.
  • Holland & Knight: Prestigious law firm founded by Spessard Holland and Peter O. Knight.
  • La Resistencia: Early cigar maker union. The union’s official name was La Sociedad de Torcedores de Tampa, but members called it La Resistencia. It was not the first union formed in Ybor City, but was the first effective one.
  • Lily White Lodge: The Lily White Lodge was an African-American organization that provided burial benefits and health care. The Andrews family was highly involved, and C. Blythe Andrews, Sr., was the state organization’s grand president in the late 1950s.
  • Sociedad la Union Martí-Maceo: Ybor City club for the black Cubans.
  • TECO: Tampa Electric Company. Founded by Peter O. Knight.
  • WDAE: WDAE 620 AM is a radio station based in Tampa, which has been in operation since 1922. It is thought to be the first radio station ever to broadcast out of Florida.


Tampa/Hillsborough County
  • A.A. Gonzalez Clinic and Hospital: Became a clinic in 1935 and closed in 1968.  The clinic located on N 14th Street and E 8th Ave. in Ybor City and is now the Don Vicente Historic Inn.
  • Almeria Hotel: The Almeria Hotel, located at the corner of Washington Street and Franklin Street, was built in 1886. It was the first three-story building in Tampa. The hotel was named for Almeria McKay Lykes, matriarch of the Lykes family and daughter of James McKay, Sr., mayor of Tampa from 1859 to 1860. Later, the building became the headquarters for the Lykes Brothers shipping line.
  • Ballast Point Park: A Park located in South Tampa and a local attraction.
  • Central Avenue (Tampa): African American business district during mid-20th century.
  • Clara Frye Hospital (West Tampa): Opened in 1923 this African-American Hospital. In 1930 the hospital was taken over by the city of Tampa.  The hospital was closed and demolished in 1967.
  • Curtis Hixon Hall: This was a special events center located at 600 Ashley Drive, built in 1964 and torn down in 1993. This site is where the Curtis Hixon Park is now located. Named for former mayor Curtis Hixon.
  • F.W. Woolworth Co.: Famous for their lunch counter and the 1960's civil rights protests that occured there. Located on Franklin Street.
  • Faylor's: A well known drive-in restaurant in Tampa, Florida.
  • Gary, FL: Gary was a town east of Ybor City, which was incorporated in 1915. In 1919, the state legislature dissolved the town, and in 1923 it became part of Tampa.
  • "Hellhole of the Gulf Coast": I.e. Tampa. This is from the book America's Cities of Sin, written by Noah Sarlat and published in 1951.
  • J.J. Newberry Co.: Five and Dime store located on Franklin Street, Tampa.
  • Kress: S. H. Kress Department Store on Franklin Street in Tampa.
  • Lilly White Hospital (Tampa):An African-American hospital that opened up in 1950.
  • Maas Department Store: Located on Franklin Street, Tampa.
  • Margaret Ann's Grocery Store: Bought out by Winn-Dixie.  Was located in Sulphur Springs at Bird and Nebraska.
  • Maves: A 5 10 and 25 cent store, located in the Sulphur Springs Arcade.
  • Neuwirth Department Store:
  • Palace Skating Rink: The skating rink located in Sulphur Springs.
  • Quad Block: The Quad Block was a construction project during the 1970s, which redeveloped several blocks of land in downtown Tampa.
  • Quinby Electric: A Tampa electric company.
  • Rattlesnake, FL: Community located on the Hillsborough end of the Gandy Bridge. The name comes from George End's business hunting and selling rattlesnake meat and products.
  • Sanders Drug Store: Located in the Arcade of Sulphur Springs.
  • S. H. Kress Department Store:Located of Franklin Street, Tampa.
  • Tampa Bay Hotel: Tampa Bay Hotel is now Plant Hall at the Henry B. Plant Museum, a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
  • United Market: A grocery store located in the Sulphur Springs Arcade before the 1933 flood.
  • W.T. Grant Co.: 25 cent store, two locations: 7th Ave. Ybor City, and Franklin Street.
  • Woolworth's: F.W. Woolworth Co. located at Franklin Street.  Also hosted the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins.
  • Flavet Village: Flavet Village was a section of housing at the University of Florida, reserved for married veterans and their families.
  • Florida State Hospital: The state's first hospital for mental illness, located in Chattahoochee and sometimes referred to by the town's name. It was originally constructed as a prison, and was converted into a hospital in 1876; it remains in operation as of 2009.
  • Liberty City: Liberty City is a predominantly African American neighborhood in Miami.
  • St. Marks Railroad: Prior to the Civil War, the railroad was a vital link connecting Florida’s capital of Tallahassee with the port of St. Marks on the Gulf Coast. It was later abandoned by the Seaboard Coast Line in 1983. The historic Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad is now a state park.

Political and governmental figures

Tampa/Hillsborough County
  • Baach, Bud: Maurice "Bud" Baach was appointed by Governor Reubin Askew in 1972, to fill Rudy Rodriguez's seat on the Hillsborough County Commission. Rodriguez was suspended after being charged with conspiracy and bribery in a scandal involving equipment from the Shoup Voting Machine Company. Rodriguez was found not guilty and was later reinstated as county commissioner.
  • Bondi, Bob: Hillsborough County Commissioner (1974-1979), lost mayoral race in 1979.
  • Chancey, Robert E. Lee: Robert E. Lee Chancey (1880-1948) was mayor of Tampa from 1931 to 1943.
  • Cheney, Richard: Richard Cheney was chairman of the Tampa City Council, and served as acting mayor for two months in 1974 after Dick Greco left. Cheney died in office, and was replaced by Lloyd Copeland, who had succeeded him as chairman. Copeland then served as acting mayor for the remaining four months until the election.
  • Culbreath, Hugh: Hugh Culbreath was sheriff of Hillsborough County from 1941 to 1952. The Kefauver Committee indicted him on five charges, including one for bribery; four were dropped and he was acquitted of the fifth. Governor Fuller Warren suspended him for two months, after which he returned to office and finished his term.
  • Duncan, Lee: Lee Duncan was a longtime member of the Tampa City Council, serving nine terms from 1951 to 1991. See Tampa City Council Bribery Case.
  • Farrior, Rex: J. Rex Farrior was Hillsborough County's State Attorney from 1942-1948.
  • Freedman, Sandy: Sandy Freedman was mayor of Tampa from 1986 to 1995.
  • Garcia, Henry: Tampa city councilor from 1941-45 and 1947-55.
  • Greco, Dick: Dick Greco was mayor of Tampa from 1967 to 1974, when he resigned. He was later reelected in 1995, and served until 2003.
  • Griffin, James Arthur: (1874- 1958) In 1895 he accepted a job as a clerk at the Exchange Bank of Tampa where he then worked his way up and became president of the bank in 1923.  He served as president of the bank until the end of his life.  In addition Griffin served as president of both the Tampa Investment and Securties Co. and the Florida Bankers' Assoication.
  • Hatton, Luther: Luther M. Hatton, Jr. was Hillsborough County Sheriff for nine months in 1929, before being suspended by Governor Doyle Carlton.
  • Hixon, Curtis: Curtis Hixon (1891-1956) was mayor of Tampa from 1943 to 1956. A pharmacist by trade, he was also on the Tampa City Council and the Hillsborough County Commission.
  • Howell, A. Clewis: (1924-2009) President and chairman of Marine Bank, Flagship Bank of Tampa and Barnett Bank.  He also served as President of the Florida Bankers' Assoication and the director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Iorio, Pam: As of 2009, Pam Iorio is the current Mayor of Tampa, having served in that office since 2003. She was also on the Hillsborough County Commission and the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections.
  • Joughin, Robert: Robert T. Joughin was Hillsborough County Sheriff from 1929 to 1933.
  • Karl, Frederick: Fred Karl has held numerous political offices, serving in the Florida Senate, the Florida Supreme Court, Hillsborough County Attorney, and Tampa City Attorney.
  • Lane, Julian: Lane was mayor of Tampa from 1959 to 1963.
  • Liggett, Richard Ambler: Chairman of the board of the First National Bank of Tampa during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • McKay, Donald Brenham: Donald Brenham McKay (1868- 1960) served two terms as mayor, 1910-1920 and 1928-1931. He was also the publisher of the Tampa Times. He was appointed County Historian in 1949 and wrote numerous historical articles for the Tampa Tribune.
  • McLeod, Jerry: McLeod was Hillsborough County Sheriff from 1935 to 1941.
  • Nuccio, Nick: Nick Nuccio (1901-1989) served two terms as mayor of Tampa, from 1956 to 1959 and from 1963 to 1967. He also served on the Tampa City Council and the Hillsborough County Commission before being elected mayor.
  • Platt, Jan: Jan Platt served on the Tampa City Council and the Hillsborough County Commission.
  • Poe, Bill: William Poe was mayor of Tampa from 1974 to 1979, and the founder of Poe & Associates Insurance Co.
  • Wall, Perry: Perry Wall (1867-1944) was mayor of Tampa from 1924 to 1928. He also served on the Tampa City Council and the Hillsborough County School Board, and was Tampa Harbormaster from 1932 to 1936.
  • Young, Junie Lee: Junie Lee Young, Jr. was acting mayor of Tampa in 1956 after Curtis Hixon died.
State and Federal
  • Boyd, Allen: Allen Boyd is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's Second Congressional District, which consists of most of the eastern Panhandle, including Wakulla County and Tallahassee. He was first elected in 1997 and, as of 2009, is still in office.
  • Broward, Napoleon Bonaparte: Broward (1857-1910) was governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909. He was also a member of the Florida House of Representatives, and was sheriff of Duval County.
  • Burns, Haydon: Burns (1912-1987) was governor from 1965 to 1967. He was also mayor of Jacksonville from 1949 to 1965.
  • Caldwell, Millard: Caldwell (1897-1984) was governor from 1945 to 1949. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1933 to 1941, and was a Florida Supreme Court justice from 1962 to 1969.
  • Carlton, Doyle Jr.: Doyle Carlton, Jr. (1922-2003) was a state senator from 1952 to 1960, and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1960. Son of Doyle Carlton, Sr.
  • Carlton, Doyle Sr.: Doyle Carlton, Sr. (1885-1972) was governor of Florida from 1929 to 1933. See Doyle Carlton, Jr.
  • Chiles, Lawton: Lawton Chiles (1930-1998) was governor of Florida from 1991 to 1998. He also served in the U.S. Senate, the Florida Senate, and the Florida House of Representatives.
  • Christian, Floyd: Florida Commissioner of Education from 1965 to 1973.
  • Collins, LeRoy: LeRoy Collins (1909-1991) was governor of Florida from 1955 to 1961. He also served in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate.
  • Danahy, Paul: Paul Danahy was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1966 to 1974.
  • Dickinson, Fred: Fred O. Dickinson, Junior, Comptroller of the State of Florida.
  • Dzialynski, Morris: Morris Dzialynski (1841-1907) was mayor of Jacksonville from 1881 to 1883. He held several other political offices in Jacksonville-Duval County, including city council, city treasurer, and municipal judge.
  • Gibbons, Sam: Sam Gibbons was a U.S. Representative for various Hillsborough County districts from 1963 to 1997, and was chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. He also served in both houses of the Florida Legislature.
  • Graham, Bob: Governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987, and U.S. Senator from 1987 to 2005.
  • High, Robert King: Robert King High (1924-1967) was mayor of Miami from 1957 to his death in 1967, and in 1966 was the Democratic candidate for governor.
  • Holland, Spessard: Spessard Holland was governor of Florida from 1941 to 1945, and was senator from 1946 to 1971. Co-founder of Holland & Knight law firm.
  • Kirk, Claude: Claude Kirk (b. 1926) was governor of Florida from 1967 to 1971. He was the first Republican elected to the office since 1877.
  • Martinez, Robert: Robert Martinez was mayor of Tampa from 1979 to 1986, when he resigned to run for governor of Florida. Martinez was elected governor in 1987 and served until 1991.
  • Matthews, John E. Jr.: John E. Matthews, Junior, state senator from Jacksonville.
  • McCarty, Dan: Daniel McCarty was governor for nine months in 1953. After his death, Senate President Charley Johns became acting governor for the rest of his term. LeRoy Collins won the 1954 election and was governor until 1961.
  • Moffitt, H. Lee: H. Lee Moffitt was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in the 1970s and 1980s. The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute at USF is named for him.
  • Pepper, Claude: Claude Pepper (1900-1989) served in both houses of Congress: the Senate from 1936 to 1951, and the House of Representatives from 1963 to 1989.
  • Sessums, Terrell: T. Terrell Sessums was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1963 to 1974, and was Speaker of the House during his last term.
  • Sholtz, David: David Sholtz (1891-1953) was Florida’s governor from 1933 to 1937. He also served one term in the Florida House of Representatives, and was State Attorney from 1919 to 1921.
  • Smathers, Bruce: Bruce Smathers was a state senator and FL Secretary of State in the 1970s. He was the son of Senator George Smathers.
  • Trammell, Park: Park Trammell (1876-1936) was governor of Florida from 1913 to 1917, U.S. Senator from 1917 to 1936, and held numerous other political offices including Mayor of Lakeland, State Representative, State Senator, and Attorney General.
  • Warren, Fuller: Fuller Warren (1905-1973) was governor of Florida from 1949 to 1953.