Fond Memories of Jacob City
Delaney Pittman was born in 1963 and was raised in Jacob City along with his eight siblings. He recalls his childhood in Jacob City fondly, remembering the fruit trees the children in the community would eat from. In Jacob City “… we never locked our doors. Never. It was never an issue.”
“[In Jacob City,] we never locked our doors. Never. It was never an issue.”Delaney Pittman
In second grade, Delaney Pittman transferred to Graceville Elementary which was part of the massive effort to desegregate the public school system in the United States. He recalls his teacher, Elease Varner, was a great influence and source of encouragement. Both Varner and Pittman have fond memories of the experience to this day.
Despite moving schools multiple times through his early education, Delaney Pittman excelled academically and was one of the two Black students in the gifted program in Jackson County. In addition to school, Delaney was active in the 4-H Club, which focused on youth development and included classes on public speaking skills, drama, and cooking techniques. Delaney says that this is his favorite childhood memory because it exposed him to a variety of useful skills. One skill he took to heart was baking, which he attributes to watching his mother bake when he was younger. As a child, Delaney even competed in baking competitions with the 4-H Club.
In addition to the 4-H Club, Delaney was also very involved in the youth choir at St. Mary Church. The group was well known for traveling and singing in surrounding counties. Still today, Delaney remains close to St. Mary Church because it provided him with the foundation of his Christianity, and learned the “value of respecting and enduring your elders.”
Away From Home
In 1983, Delaney moved to Tampa and received a technological certificate from Tampa Technical Institute. In 1990, he graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelors’s in Social Work. Since then, he has served his community in a number of positions. He worked as a case manager and has taught ESOL and GED classes. Recently, he has been teaching credit recovery classes in addition to working as a high school teacher in Hillsborough County. He says his personal teaching philosophy is “to always focus on the positive and not to take life for granted.”
“Always focus on the positive and [don’t] take life for granted.”Delaney Pittman
When first moving to Tampa, Delaney longed for the closeness and community he felt growing up. “It took a village to raise me,” he says. While today he has assimilated into his new community in Tampa, he still visits for major holidays like Christmas and the Fourth of July, making it a point to visit each and every person who had a hand in raising him.