LARGO - As part of the Speaking of History lecture series, Jonathan Tallon will present the Equal Pay for a Classroom Day: The Florida State Teachers Association’s Struggle to Level the ‘Paying’ Field, 1938-1948, Sunday, March 17, 2 p.m. in the Pinellas Room at Heritage Village.
Under Florida’s 1885 state constitution, provisions were made for separate educational facilities based upon race. White and non-white students attended segregated schools and their teachers also were limited to serving in schools of their own race. Although these separate facilities were supposed to be equal, wide discrepancies existed between the physical facilities, length of school terms and the funding of educational activities. Under the law, even unions acted as segregated bodies.
While the Florida Education Association supported white teachers, African-American teachers belonged to the Florida State Teachers Association. By the mid-1930s, FSTA leaders began to press state officials to remedy large pay disparities that its members faced in comparison with their white counterparts. Tallon describes the decade-long struggle to achieve equal pay and places this battle within the context of the civil rights movement in Florida.
A native of St. Petersburg, Tallon claims to know the Sunshine City like “an old friend who occasionally borrows money and passes out on your couch.” As a Berkeley Preparatory School coach and former athlete, Tallon enjoys researching in the field of sports history. He took great pride when his junior varsity teams at Berkeley Prep in Tampa won the Florida West Coast League titles in 2007 and 2008.
He plans to continue his studies by focusing on the field of public history. Tallon is an alumnus of the Florida Studies Program from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
Heritage Village is located at 11909 125th St. N. in Largo. For more information about Heritage Village visit www.pinellascounty.org/heritage or call 582-2123.