Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Terri Lipsey-Scott, Chair of the Executive Board for the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum

By : Samuel Johnson, Tampa Bay freelance reporter and Watermark contributor
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Samuel Johnson

Sometimes finding the balance between administration, civic engagement and social curator can seem like alchemy. Adding the right amounts of each will yield gold; one false step in the process and you’re left with a lump of coal. Terri Lipsey-Scott has discovered that magical equilibrium. Her title—chair of the executive board for the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African-American Museum—belies just what she embodies for the St. Petersburg community.

The museum is located in the neighborhood The Deuces; arguably the most famous of the city’s historic black neighborhoods. The building in which the museum is situated was the flashpoint for the civil rights movement in St. Petersburg in the late 1960s. Yet, when the St. Petersburg Housing Authority wanted to sell the property, Terri Lipsey-Scott sounded the alarm bell. Grassroots organizations and community leaders drummed up vocal opposition to the measure, eventually allowing this historic landmark to remain.

“Preserve, present and interpret African-American history”, is the museum’s motto. This is true for both the museum and its progressive leaning chair.

In 2017, the museum marked the re-inauguration of Black Gay Pride after a six-year hiatus. The anchor of Gay Black Pride was the exhibit “As Black as They Were Gay: The Harlem Renaissance,” which consisted of a series of wall displays commemorating the LGBT icons of the Harlem Renaissance. The museum also honored several outstanding LGBTQ members of the St. Petersburg community during the festivities.

Terri Lipsey-Scott is mom, grandma, and civic leader; not only for the African-American community, but for everyone who calls St Petersburg home or a vacation destination. Her determination and dedication are only equaled by her effervescent, wonderful demeanor. I’m glad to call her a friend and thankful for all that she does. St. Petersburg is lucky to have a person like Terri Lipsey-Scott.

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