Doug L. Jamerson Jr.
By: Ashley Campbell
Douglas Lee “Tim: Jamerson, Jr. (October 16, 1947 – April 21, 2001) grew up in the Gas Plant area of St. Petersburg Florida. This area of St. Petersburg was a predominantly poor, African American community. As a child and teen, he worked serving people at his grandmother's restaurant. When he went to high school, Jamerson had planned to attend Gibbs High School, but after some encouragement from his grandmother, he attended Barry High School instead (now called St. Petersburg Catholic High School). Jamerson was one of the first African American students to attend this private school in the ’60s when the public schools were still segregated.
After graduating high school, Jamerson went on to serve as a security policeman in the U.S. Air Force from 1967-1971. After returning home he became the first African American campus police officer for the Pasco County School System. He later served as an occupational specialist and counselor at St. Petersburg High School. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Police Academy and St. Petersburg College with an Associate of Arts Degree. He then continued his education at USF St. Petersburg where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
He worked at St. Petersburg College in personnel and recruiting after being elected to represent District 55 in the House of Representatives for eleven years (5.5 terms) in 1982. In 1993, Governor Lawton Chilies appointed him as the first African American to hold the title of State Commissioner of Education, but he lost the seat to Frank Brogan in the 1994 election. From 1995 to 1998 he served as the State Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment.
In 2001, Jamerson died at the age of 53 at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital from cancer. He is survived by his wife, Leatha Young, and son, Cedric. In August 2003, Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Elementary School opened in St. Petersburg to honor him.