As we celebrate Black History Month, it's a good time to learn more about the African-American experience in our own community and throughout the country. A great place to do that is at the Family Heritage Museum on the campus of the State College of Florida.
"People can come and learn about the history of this country as performed by African-Americans," says museum specialist Kathie Marsh, who says there's information here you may not find anywhere else.
"Unfortunately, some of the history of this country that we perform has been left out of the books," she says.
Ninety-year-old Fredi Sears Brown and her late husband founded the museum.
"We had a little meeting room in a trailer on the campus of Head Start, and we kept accumulating things and people would bring in items, and it just kept growing," Brown says. It got so big the museum moved the collection into it's own building. They also take programs into local schools.
"We did a programs to show how much African-Americans participated in not just World War II, but World War I, the Civil War and the Revolutionary war," Marsh says. They also took along local African-American veterans to talk about their experiences.
The museum also focuses on history of the African-American community here on the Suncoast,. though one popular exhibit shows inventions of African-Americans.
"We have a table in the rear of the museum that has replicas of many inventions by blacks, and most people don't know that black people have had quite a long list of inventions," Brown says.
For her all these years the museum has been a labor of love.
"I just feel it's a blessing for me to be able to achieve this, and I hope it proves to be a blessing for other people," Brown says.
The family heritage house museum is free and open to the public.