South St. Pete leaders set to travel to Durham, North Carolina

June 21st – June 23rd 2018

Travel confirmations required by May 30th 2018, 8PM

AmericanUnderground Photo by Hal Goodtree

So far, 24 community and city leaders have confirmed that they will travel to Durham, North Carolina, this June 21st through 23rd to visit the famous American Underground business incubator and other sites along historically black corridors of the city.

They’ve set sights on replicating the American Underground in South St. Petersburg as one of “10 Big Ideas to Transform the Economy of South St. Petersburg,” an area identified by officials as the largest concentration of poverty in Pinellas County, Florida.

The Underground facility houses 257 firms and, in 2015, pledged to become the world’s most diverse entrepreneurial hub. As of its last report, 75 resident entrepreneurs are female and 73 are minority.

The “10 Big Ideas” are a focal point of the emerging One Community Plan, which will be unveiled in April 2019 as a 10-year comprehensive economic growth plan for South St. Petersburg, the 25-square miles south of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, where nearly 80% of the city’s African American population resides.

The One Community Plan team is organizing the two-day trip in collaboration with Durham’s Conventions & Visitors Bureau, aided by American Underground’s Executive Director Doug Speight.

Other stops on the city tour will include a black-led incubator, an affordable housing development, the CAARE health/holistic services compound, and a visit to the city’s legendary “Black Wall Street.”

The trip also structures two “knowledge-sharing” and networking meals with Durham city and community leaders for in-depth discussion of past and present strategies for economic equity.

As an end-cap, the group will sample the city’s entertainment offerings with an evening of live music at a community-owned venue.

At least a dozen travelers are pitching in to cover part or all of their travel costs. Community fundraising will cover the expenses of 2020 Emerging Leader interns and some non-profit leaders joining the excursion.

To Book Travel or with Travel Questions

Travel confirmations required by May 30th 2018, 8PM

To check availability, ask questions about air travel or hotel, or to confirm or pay for your booking:

Dr. Kentaya Beeler (One Community Plan Development Committee Member)

Owner, Tranquil Pathways Travel

To Financial Contribute to Travel Costs 

This $22,000 trip is partially paid for by community contributions, but more help is needed to sponsor our Emerging Leader Interns and others who need support.

To contribute via Debit or Credit Card: 

Go to: and click on the RED “DONATE” in the nav bar or click here for direct link to the contribution page. In the DESIGNATION CODE section, enter “American Underground”

To contribute via Check: 

Payable to: Pinellas County Urban League 

333 31st Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33713

IN MEMO LINE: “American Underground”

Flight Details:

Date Flight Departure/Arrival

Thu Jun 21 1441

Depart TAMPA, FL (TPA) on Southwest Airlines at 06:15 AM

Arrive in RALEIGH/DURHAM, NC (RDU) at 08:00 AM

Travel Time 1 hrs 45 mins

Sat Jun 23 5750

Depart RALEIGH/DURHAM, NC (RDU) on Southwest Airlines at 11:00 AM

Arrive in TAMPA, FL (TPA) at 12:40 PM

Travel Time 1 hrs 40 mins

Hotel Details:

Aloft Durham Downtown

345 Blackwell Street

Durham, North Carolina 27701

Note: If booking flights separately please forward details to travel agent to arrange transportation in Durham

If you are booking hotel separately , please contract travel agent for direct booking to ensure group pricing.

For Other Trip Details 

To inquire about the who, what, and why of the trip:

Bro John Muhammad (One Community Planning Leader Group)

Founder, The New Deal