SARASOTA, Fla. – A home in Sarasota‘s Rosemary District will soon carry the legacy of the city’s first Black community. Plans are in the works to transform it into an African American cultural arts center and history museum, but first the home has to be relocated.
“This house was the homestead of Mr. Leonard Reid who was a pioneer in the Sarasota Black community, and Sarasota in general,” explained Walter Gilbert, the senior director of diversity and inclusion at Selby Gardens.
Leonard Reid helped establish and settle the area, once called Overtown. His daughters would grow up, working to educate the children of the community.
As downtown Sarasota grew, developments pushed into Overtown, which pushed residents move north to Newtown.
“They need to know the history behind it. We have had to fight for everything that we have gotten,” said Odessa C. Butler, a Newtown resident.