On February 4th, Emma E. Booker Elementary, Booker Middle School, and Booker High School celebrated their first annual “Bookerfest” to celebrate the Booker schools community.
Newtown Alive’s Facebook page recapped Booker’s history:
“Emma Edwina Booker revolutionized education for Sarasota’s Black children. Three principals who lead schools named for her praised the founder at a Saturday festival.
Mrs. Booker raised matching funds through the Rosenwald Foundation to improve the school.
Sarasota NAACP leaders and Newtown activists fought the Sarasota County School Board to keep our neighborhood schools open (the School Board’s plan was to phase them all out and bus us to integrate White schools).
Newtown Walked Out during a school boycott.
Freedom Schools opened in Newtown churches 2,300 students didn’t attend public school) while leaders negotiated.
Success! Sweet victory! Newtown still has neighborhood schools because of the NAACP school boycott.”
Earlier this month, Venice Historical Society members wanted to know all about Mr. Leonard Reid, his wife and children, his employer and friend J. Hamilton Gillespie and the house he built in 1926.
Descriptions about him are consistent. Mr. Reid was a “gentleman’s gentleman,” ambitious, intelligent, entrepreneurial, charming, handsome, noble. His focus: Education.
He educated his kids. Daughters Ethel and Viola educated generations of Newtown children.
The Reid Family’s impact and influence remain.
The Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition will occupy their house, take care of it and continue their work.
-Newtown Alive Facebook page
The Newtown Alive trolley tour leaves no stone unturned in celebrating over a century of African-American history in Sarasota.
Saturdays starting 02/18, 12-2pm at Betty J. Johnson Public Library
A free community based Saturday school program to improve student’s reading and literacy through teaching African American history.