Sarasota’s first Black cultural center edges closer to reality

SARASOTA – The Leonard Reid family played a critical role in the establishment of Sarasota’s earliest African American community. Now their home is one step closer to playing a critical role in preserving that community’s rich history and future. 

In the summer, the city of Sarasota, an area developer, Newtown Alive and the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition reached an agreement to move the historic Reid house to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. corridor in Newtown to serve as the starter home of Sarasota’s first center honoring the legacy and impact of its Black community. 

This week city commissioners agreed to spend up to $116,000 from local business taxes that were previously earmarked for a grant to help business owners weather the coronavirus. The funding will be used to help cover the costs to prepare the parcels on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Orange Avenue. 

GUEST EDITORIAL: The history of Black America by James Stewart

GUEST EDITORIAL: The history of Black America by James Stewart

As president of the Manasota branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, I am responding to a recent letter (“Black History Month provides education,” Oct. 31) disputing the need for a lynching memorial in the local community.

While the writer correctly identifies the name of the organization and its founding date, there are several misconceptions and inaccuracies that need to be addressed. What is now celebrated as Black History Month was inaugurated in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson to highlight the history and accomplishments of African Americans. However, his intent was not to restrict the examination of this topic to February.

Local branches, including the 350-member Manasota branch, were organized to encourage preservation of local records and artifacts. In addition, Woodson championed the dissemination of knowledge through a variety of initiatives, including school curricula.

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