A Place We Call Home: Historic Markers Tell Story of Newtown History

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Posted by abc7 MySuncoast

A project called “Newtown Alive” is now being put in place throughout Newtown. It guides you through Newtown’s history and introduces you to the trail blazers, the men and women who make Newtown a great place to call home.

Fifteen large colorful signs with pictures are being installed in Newtown marking a historic trail around the community. Its an important project in Sarasota’s African-American community. .

“It is important because we as African Americans in Sarasota and this region need to be recognized for our contributions,” says Fredd Atkins, Sarasota’s first African-American mayor. “But also to give our young people the drive and the ability to seek out greater opportunities for themselves. ”

” The markers are being placed at strategic historic locations,” says Atkins. “They will be marked at a church , Booker High School, Robert L. Taylor Community Center, businesses and historical homes.”

They will tell how Newtown moved from segregation to integration and they will tell about the people and places important to that journey.

Ninety-nine year-old Glossie Atkins witnessed it. She moved here in the 1940s and wants people to know what it was like in those days.

“I would love for them to know that Newtown has changed a lot .It’s better than it was when I came here because when I came here we had to ride in the back of the bus, now we can ride anywhere we want to.”

But after all these years, the disrespect still hurts. “We couldn’t go in the cafes we had to go in the back of the cafes, but now we can go in the front.”

 

Organizers are hoping not only Newtown residents, but people from all over Sarasota will read the markers and follow the trail.

“We hope the young people in our community will cherish the opportunity to remember and learn and see some of the pictures of their parents in their period and time,” says Atkins.

And they’re hoping the trail will draw business to Newtown.

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