Thank you for considering to support the Tampa Technique documentary that explores key racialized moments in Tampa’s history through the lens of Central Avenue, which was the historically black business district that was physically and symbolically demolished in 1974. The "Tampa Technique" was a strategic, bi-racial approach to integration different from other Southern cities that centered on economic goals through an organized, methodical approach that was praised nationally but backfired locally during key moments of disruption. This story focuses on seminal moments for blacks in Tampa ranging from lunch counter sit-ins to school integration to a 1967 civil disturbance to urban renewal that displaced and disrupted the city’s minority communities. Central Avenue was constructed through segregation and destroyed through integration, which is why it will be the hub of the story.
I am an instructor at the University of South Florida in mass communications and was a broadcast journalist for 12 years before moving into the university in 2012. This documentary is part of my dissertation project for my Ph.D. However, this story has become more than a project for me over the past year thanks to the remarkable people I have met who persevered through the civil rights movement as well as institutional, systematic, and structural forms of racism.
The contributions to this project will help cover three primary expenses (copyright, production costs, festival distribution). First, copyright material through the local newspapers and television stations will help provide the visual elements missing from this film through the eyes of journalists. These materials are expensive. For example, one-minute of video of the 1967 civil disturbances costs $2,500. Copyright-protected music is also necessary for this project. Second, production costs will go toward a co-worker who is currently helping me for free with this project because of what the story can do for the local community and the impact we think it can have on local knowledge shared by people who lived it. A small amount of production costs cover equipment, primarily memory cards to record the interviews. Third, to ensure that this story reaches a wide audience, we would like to submit it to several local, national, and international film festivals to share the story and get it distributed. One significant cost for festivals is marketing and promotional material, which include the DVDs and film post cards that you could receive as thanks for your contribution.
What We Need & What You Get
The estimated expenses we hope to cover in this project will focus on direct copyright expenses ($8,000), production costs ($5,000), and festival distribution and promotion ($2,000). I realize in the long run it will cost more than this. I just hope to cover the largest potential overhead costs to ensure the best visual product. Any money that is raised beyond the $15,000 will cover additional overhead expenses for more copyright material and festival distribution, but more important, I will contribute 10% of any excess contributions to the Saunders Foundation, which is named in honor of Robert W. Saunders. Mr. Saunders was the NAACP Florida field secretary from 1952-1966 and was a Tampa native.
For your contribution, you will receive at least a personal shout out on the Tampa Technique Facebook page. Beyond a minimum $5 contribution, you are eligible for credit in the film, a Tampa Technique DVD, admission to a documentary screening, or recognition as an executive producer of the film! Additional description for what you receive for your support are outlined in the campaign details.
This story is significant because of how the city of Tampa approached racial integration compared to other cities across the South. The Tampa Technique is unique for its methodical and orchestrated approach that was embraced by the white and black elites. However, the technique did not positively influence most of the city’s black residents. While it avoided national negative headlines, locally it backfired during the 1967 civil disturbance.
This narrative of underrepresented voices in the civil rights movement is like many other cities across the South. Tampa is not lumped into the national conversation regarding race relations. However, the Tampa Technique is what should be discussed based on its overall effectiveness in race relations with the goal to maintain economic upward mobility for a burgeoning Southern city at the expense of many minority residents.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are not able to help with a financial contribution but you like the story we want to tell, we ask that you help spread the word through social media to anyone you think would like to help. Indiegogo allows you the share this campaign in a variety of ways. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.