The Moses House moved its base of operations back into Spring Hill/Sulphur Springs in 2003 and is in the process of moving its headquarters from East Tampa to a permanent location in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood.
The Moses House, Inc. is a community-based not-for-profit organization that uses art-based learning and creative expression, social and cultural activism, social justice education, and participatory action research to improve the quality of life for children and youth living in situations of risk in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood of Tampa, Florida.
The mission of the Moses House is to create and provide community-based cultural and educational programs and activities for children and youth from low-income families; to support and conduct non-partisan research, education, and informational activities to increase public awareness of the poor, distressed, and underprivileged; to defend human rights and civil rights secured by law; to strive for the elimination of prejudice and discrimination; to advance social justice education; and to combat community deterioration, juvenile delinquency, and the criminalization of children and youth.
The Moses House, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Moses House was founded in Tampa, Florida in 1984 by two brothers, Harold and Taft Richardson, who grew up in Spring Hill, a historically African American neighborhood of Tampa. (Spring Hill is the northern region of what is now generally considered the Sulphur Springs neighborhood.) Taft Richardson (1943-2008) was a well regarded folk artist known primarily for his meticulously hand-crafted sculptures made from the bones of dead animals. Resurrection was a recurring theme in his work; he believed that his creations brought new life to the creatures from which they were constructed. He also sought to bring new life to his ailing neighborhood and the youth who are struggling to grow up there. Taft, his brother Harold, and a group of relatives and friends created community based educational programs to teach young people to make art, appreciate their heritage, and cultivate positive views of themselves and the future. During the 1990s, they operated the Moses House in East Tampa, working with children and families living in the College Hill and Ponce de Leon public housing complexes. After the City of Tampa demolished this housing during 1999-2000, the Moses House base of operations moved back to Sulphur Springs because many of the families of the children that had participated in the Moses House programs in East Tampa were relocated to Sulphur Springs.
Taft offered art and gardening classes there from his home and yard on East Skagway Avenue until the summer of 2007 when he became too ill to lead the classes. At that point, the Richardsons appointed Lance Arney, a doctoral student at the University of South Florida, as Executive Director of the Moses House. Taft Richardson passed away in November of 2008, but his vision, spirituality, philosophy, and social activism continue to inspire the work of the Moses House. Over the last two and a half years, Lance has been working closely with Harold Richardson, President of the Moses House and dedicated community leader and elder, to help revitalize the organization after Taft’s passing. During this time, the Moses House has also expanded its programming and built collaborative relationships with a variety of supportive community partners.
More about the history of the Moses House is coming soon!