An original television series featuring Ybor City’s most memorable characters begins September 23rd at 9 pm

Every town has its characters, but Ybor City can boast of some of the most intriguing individuals in Florida’s history. This series features six speakers who explore some of these unique characters and their contributions to the color, tone and exotic texture that is Ybor City –Tampa’s premiere Latin Quarter. They include founders, leaders, entrepreneurs and artists who helped mold our community, making it one of the foremost cultural heritage locations in the United States.

“Each speaker is well versed in Tampa history and presents an interesting, entertaining, and informative snapshot of one Ybor City character,” said Lee Leavengood, Director of Adult Learning at the Tampa Bay History Center.

Prominent local historian, Gary Mormino starts off the series with a look at José Ramon Avellanal’s colorful life experiences which included medicine, ministering and diploma mills.
USF Retired Professor Susan Greenbaum profiles Francisco Aristides Rodriguez who was a vigorous and brave activist for the cause of black Cubans during the civil rights era.

The brothers Paul R. Pizzo and Anthony J. Pizzo, talk about their father Anthony P."Tony" Pizzo’s lifelong leadership in the Latin community culminating in the creation of the Tampa Historical Society and 80 commemorative markers in Ybor City.

Patrick Manteiga, the current editor and publisher of La Gaceta Newspaper, speaks about his father, Roland Manteiga, who chronicled events and politics that shaped Tampa and Ybor City through his weekly column, “As We Heard It.”
Jack Fernandez tells the tale of Abispo Verdi, Tampa’s own superhero, who fought corruption with anonymous manifestos stamped only with the image of a Green Hornet.


Richard Gonzmart grew up in a family already deeply invested in Ybor City. He tells their generational tale of growing the Columbia Restaurant from a small café to the world-famous restaurant synonymous with Tampa’s Latin roots.