Newtown community celebrates history, leaders

Historic markers celebrate the men and women who championed community’s residents, schools and businesses

SARASOTA — One by one, Vickie Oldham called up members of the Newtown community from the crowd in the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex on Saturday morning, urging them to stand by the historical marker commemorating their impact.

Here were members of the community who had provided some of the area’s first medical services, served in the first education institutions, worked on celery farms or as domestics to make a living. They stood by their markers, the bright orange edges of the poster reproductions peeking out from the plastic wrap. And then, Oldham said the magic phrase: it was time to unveil them.

The rectangular markers were revealed, emblazoned with titles such as “Segregation, Desegregation and Integration” and “Military Service of Newtown Men and Women.” More than 200 people lingered around the markers, looking at their archival photography and detailed descriptions of the community’s history.

“If we’re going to have an unveiling, this is the way to do it,” said Trevor Harvey, president of the Sarasota County NAACP.

by: Elizabeth Djinis


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