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Known for sage advice

Moses White ran restaurants and served as a spokesman for blacks in Tampa.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 17, 2002

Moses White, a Georgia native, settled in Tampa in 1951 after a stint as a ship's cook in the Navy.

In 1954, he opened his first restaurant, the Palm Dinette, with his father and three brothers.

Situated on Central Avenue in downtown Tampa's then-thriving black business district, the Palm was a success. White eventually bought out his family members and renamed the restaurant Moses White's Deluxe Cozy Corner.

In 1960, he moved to Main Street in West Tampa, forced out of downtown by interstate construction. His restaurant stayed open until shortly after his death in 1984. Among his survivors were his wife, Lucille, and seven children.

A religious man, White was long revered as a benefactor and spokesman for blacks in Tampa. He helped restore peace during the city's 1967 riots, and politicians often sought his counsel. He was instrumental in bringing the Florida Classic football game to Tampa.

In 2001, the segment of Main Street between MacDill Avenue and North Boulevard was renamed Moses White Boulevard.

And barbecue fans can get a taste of his recipes at Moses White and Sons Bar-B-Que, the family's posthumous tribute, located on Ybor City's Seventh Avenue.

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