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Mayor led a Tampa caught up in change

Among the issues confronting him from 1959 to 1963 were labor strikes and the collapse of Jim Crow laws.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 3, 2002

The expansive inner city park commemorates the former mayor who helped desegregate Tampa.

"Being mayor of Tampa is a stressful job," Julian B. Lane once said. Probably an understatement, considering he served from 1959 to 1963. That's when the tumultuous collapse of Jim Crow laws, violent labor strikes, a hurricane and big freeze, efforts to close MacDill Air Force Base and the ravaging construction of Interstate 4 all hit Tampa.

The Tampa native graduated from Hillsborough High and the University of Florida, and he served as an Army artilleryman in World War II. After the war he bought land east of Tampa and entered the dairy business. Before long, he got into politics. Posts with the Tampa Port Authority and State Racing Commission followed.

Several years after his mayoral term, he was elected to the state House and Senate. In 1976, after losing his Senate seat to Betty Castor, he turned to private business, church, and numerous civic activities and organizations. He died in 1997 at 82.

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