Black History Museum Task Force Refines Selection Criteria

Black History Museum Task Force Refines Selection Criteria

There are 16 communities vying to be the home of the Florida Museum of Black History, and now they have a clearer set of selection criteria to make their pitches to the Task Force charged with making recommendations to state officials.

At a meeting of the Florida Museum of Black History Task Force earlier this month, the evaluation criteria were narrowed from 12 items to seven on a 110-point scale.

“It’s very important for Task Force members to have some understanding of how some of these things relate to one another,” said Johnathan Grandage, assistant director of the Florida Division of Historical Resources.

The categories include historical significance of the community, appropriateness of proposed location, regional economy of the area, regional demographics, transportation infrastructure, funding commitments and support, and educational resources. There are several sub-sets within the categories where items were combined, Grandage said.

Of the seven categories, four – historical significance of the proposed location, funding commitments and support, educational resources and appropriateness of the proposed location are weighted at 20 points and the remaining three are worth 10 points apiece.

The category of appropriateness of location was initially set at 10 points, but was changed after Task Force member Howard Holley, who is also publisher of EVOLVE News, raised concerns.

“It seems to me availability of the land and those things are pretty important,” Holley said. “I’m pretty surprised at a weight of 10. If the land isn’t available or a building isn’t available, why wouldn’t we weigh that as high as historical significance?”

Task Force Chair State Sen. Geraldine Thompson said some of the categories are focused on “purely data,” such as the state of the regional economy, regional demographics and transportation infrastructure and are not subjective issues.

“I think the sentiment of those here is that (appropriateness of location) should have a higher weight in terms of everything,” she said.

Thompson also raised a concern about the funding commitment category in the event some applicants have not taken action on public and private support.

“How are we going to then assess whether there is true commitment, that’s part of my quandary,” she said.

Grandage said that was a “valid and important question.”

In addition to approving the streamlined criteria, the Task Force agreed to put a deadline for any additional presentations as the next Task Force meeting on February 19th.

For more information about the Florida Museum of Black History Task Force, including member bios and links to recordings of past meetings, visit

A public survey is available online through Feb. 29, for residents to give their input. Responses received from the public will be included in the Task Force’s report to the Florida Legislature.