Panel Discussions

Panel #1  

1/16/14  @5:30

The Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on Today’s America

Panel #2

1/23/14  @5:30

We are not where we were, how do we get back; The relationship between the African-Americans and the Jews through today

Panel #3

2/26/14 @5:30

 Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Gilbert King will be speaking on the themes of his book The Devil In The Grove

Panel #4

2/27/14 @5:30

A Tale of Two Cities: A vivid oral history of Sarasota’s Civil Rights

In the later part of the 19th Century next to cotton and rice, turpentine became one of the south’s greatest exports.  Slaves were originally used for the labor-but after the Civil War-many former slaves remained in this area of Florida as depicted in this photograph.  Over time this led to the development of African-American communities within the areas surrounding these camps.  By 1910, there were five working turpentine camps in Manatee County (now Sarasota County)—one was near where Fruitville Road and I-75 meet—and another near the Carlton Preserve area, and one near what is now Venice.  As these camps closed in the 1920’s—many of these workers stayed in this area and became some of its first black citizens.
In the later part of the 19th Century next to cotton and rice, turpentine became one of the south’s greatest exports. Slaves were originally used for the labor-but after the Civil War-many former slaves remained in this area of Florida as depicted in this photograph. Over time this led to the development of African-American communities within the areas surrounding these camps. By 1910, there were five working turpentine camps in Manatee County (now Sarasota County)—one was near where Fruitville Road and I-75 meet—and another near the Carlton Preserve area, and one near what is now Venice. As these camps closed in the 1920’s—many of these workers stayed in this area and became some of its first black citizens.
In this photograph we see two of Sarasota’s earliest black residents, Irene and Louis Colson.   Lewis Colson was a well respected citizen, known as Reverend Colson.  He had been with a group of land surveyors who had platted Sarasota in 1895.  In 1897, for one dollar, he sold to the trustees of Bethlehem Baptist Church, the property on Central and 7th Street on which the Bethlehem Baptist Church was built.  He was the first minister of the church serving from 1899 until 1918.  He and his wife Irene are the only African-Americans to be buried in Rosemary Cemetery.
In this photograph we see two of Sarasota’s earliest black residents, Irene and Louis Colson.
Lewis Colson was a well respected citizen, known as Reverend Colson. He had been with a group of land surveyors who had platted Sarasota in 1895. In 1897, for one dollar, he sold to the trustees of Bethlehem Baptist Church, the property on Central and 7th Street on which the Bethlehem Baptist Church was built. He was the first minister of the church serving from 1899 until 1918. He and his wife Irene are the only African-Americans to be buried in Rosemary Cemetery.
The person who is credited with developing and bringing the game of golf to Florida is Colonel John Hamilton Gillespie of Scotland.  Pictured in this photograph driving the carriage is Leonard Reid.   Leonard Reid relocated to Sarasota after growing up in South Carolina and living briefly in Cuba.  Leonard Reid met Gillespie and within a short time he became Gillespie’s man servant, butler, coachman and confidante.  He was a critical component with Gillespie in laying out early Sarasota.—Reid and his wife Eydie helped establish Sarasota’s second oldest African-American Church, Payne Chapel, founded in 1906.  He died in his home on Cocoanut Avenue in Sarasota on November 1952 on week after being honored during Sarasota’s 50th Anniversary celebration as one of its Pioneer Citizens.
The person who is credited with developing and bringing the game of golf to Florida is Colonel John Hamilton Gillespie of Scotland. Pictured in this photograph driving the carriage is Leonard Reid. Leonard Reid relocated to Sarasota after growing up in South Carolina and living briefly in Cuba. Leonard Reid met Gillespie and within a short time he became Gillespie’s man servant, butler, coachman and confidante. He was a critical component with Gillespie in laying out early Sarasota.—Reid and his wife Eydie helped establish Sarasota’s second oldest African-American Church, Payne Chapel, founded in 1906. He died in his home on Cocoanut Avenue in Sarasota on November 1952 on week after being honored during Sarasota’s 50th Anniversary celebration as one of its Pioneer Citizens.
This photo (of the taller Black woman) is one of the only photographic images of Emma Booker.  Emma Booker founded the first Black school in Sarasota County.  Three schools are named after her, an elementary, middle, and a high school.  She came to Sarasota in 1910 at a time when education for Blacks was rare or non-existent.  She started Sarasota Grammar School.  She became its first principal and taught several classes.  She did not have a degree to teach, but continued to go to school-determined to finish college-and after going to school over almost 50 years finally earned her Bachelor’s  degree.
This photo (of the taller Black woman) is one of the only photographic images of Emma Booker. Emma Booker founded the first Black school in Sarasota County. Three schools are named after her, an elementary, middle, and a high school. She came to Sarasota in 1910 at a time when education for Blacks was rare or non-existent. She started Sarasota Grammar School. She became its first principal and taught several classes. She did not have a degree to teach, but continued to go to school-determined to finish college-and after going to school over almost 50 years finally earned her Bachelor’s degree.
As we know from the play Thurgood—Segregated schools were the law of the land—especially in the south—Florida being no exception.  This photograph is of the Laurel Colored School, south of what is now the City of Sarasota. All ages and all classes were taught in a single room school house.  In Florida as in all southern states, school years for Black students were not to conflict with the agriculture industry so many schools were not in session when it was harvesting time.
As we know from the play Thurgood—Segregated schools were the law of the land—especially in the south—Florida being no exception. This photograph is of the Laurel Colored School, south of what is now the City of Sarasota. All ages and all classes were taught in a single room school house. In Florida as in all southern states, school years for Black students were not to conflict with the agriculture industry so many schools were not in session when it was harvesting time.
Sarasota is well known for its circus traditions, but few are aware of the Ku Klux Klan’s influence on Sarasota’s circus history. Sarasota’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan sponsored a circus in 1926.  The circus celebration involved nominating a Miss Sarasota and a costumed march down Main Street.  The parade members (354 men and 82 women) were not dressed in traditional circus garb; they were local Klan members and were outfitted in white Klan hoods and robes.  Giant crosses set ablaze led the parade festivities.
Sarasota is well known for its circus traditions, but few are aware of the Ku Klux Klan’s influence on Sarasota’s circus history. Sarasota’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan sponsored a circus in 1926. The circus celebration involved nominating a Miss Sarasota and a costumed march down Main Street. The parade members (354 men and 82 women) were not dressed in traditional circus garb; they were local Klan members and were outfitted in white Klan hoods and robes. Giant crosses set ablaze led the parade festivities.
A Black baseball team in Bradenton thrived in the independent Florida State Negro league from 1937 to 1956.  The team was made up of players from Manatee and Sarasota Counties.
A Black baseball team in Bradenton thrived in the independent Florida State Negro league from 1937 to 1956. The team was made up of players from Manatee and Sarasota Counties.
In the first part of the 20th Century the vast majority  African-Americans only mixed with whites in Sarasota when doing their housework, caring for their lawns, and performing other domestic duties.  The separation extended to African-American servicemen who trained here during World War II.  As pictured here-A colored service men’s club building was erected in 1942.—At the groundbreaking then Mayor Smith of Sarasota addressed the “need for a colored recreation center”
In the first part of the 20th Century the vast majority African-Americans only mixed with whites in Sarasota when doing their housework, caring for their lawns, and performing other domestic duties. The separation extended to African-American servicemen who trained here during World War II. As pictured here-A colored service men’s club building was erected in 1942.—At the groundbreaking then Mayor Smith of Sarasota addressed the “need for a colored recreation center”
Despite the obstacles inherent in segregation black Sarasota persevered in separate schools, businesses, parks and beaches.  Pictured here is the graduating class of the then all black Booker High School in the 1950’s—Howevever changes as a result of Brown v. The Board of Education and the dawn of the Modern Civil Rights Movement was coming to Sarasota.
Despite the obstacles inherent in segregation black Sarasota persevered in separate schools, businesses, parks and beaches. Pictured here is the graduating class of the then all black Booker High School in the 1950’s—Howevever changes as a result of Brown v. The Board of Education and the dawn of the Modern Civil Rights Movement was coming to Sarasota.
This photograph is of the Woolworth lunch counter at the Ringling Shopping Center.  On March 2nd, 1960, a group of 11 African-Americans sat down here and were refused service.  The leader of the group, Gene Carnegie, is quoted as saying:  “We could have easily brought 40 people in here and another 200 outside picketing, but that would incite trouble and would not be in the best interest of the Community” –The modern Civil Rights Movement begins in earnest in Sarasota.
This photograph is of the Woolworth lunch counter at the Ringling Shopping Center. On March 2nd, 1960, a group of 11 African-Americans sat down here and were refused service. The leader of the group, Gene Carnegie, is quoted as saying: “We could have easily brought 40 people in here and another 200 outside picketing, but that would incite trouble and would not be in the best interest of the Community” –The modern Civil Rights Movement begins in earnest in Sarasota.

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