Historic Markers Tell Story of Newtown History

By Linda Carson

Posted by abc7 MySuncoast

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

15 large colorful signs with pictures are being installed in Newtown, marking a historic trail around the community.

An important project in Sarasota’s African American community. .

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

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

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

99 year old Glossie Atkins witnessed it. She moved here in the 1940s. She 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.

Fredd Atkins says, “But first, 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 ”

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

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