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Visit Sarasota County Celebrates Black History Month Through Storytelling

Visit Sarasota County tells incredible stories of Black history on a regular basis, especially in February when the organization honors and celebrates Black History Month.

One story of particular interest highlights the desegregation of Sarasota beaches, the important role Sarasota’s Newtown community played in achieving civil rights and the forward thinking and actions that the community took to break down the barriers of segregation that existed in Sarasota.

“Today Lido Beach is open to everyone, but that wasn’t always the case,” notes Britney Guertin, Communications & Content Manager at Visit Sarasota County and PRSA Tampa Bay member. “In 1955, Sarasota’s Newtown community and its residents arranged caravans to cross the Ringling Bridge to conduct ‘wade-ins’, an act of civil disobedience that ultimately changed history.”

This effort led to Sarasota being added to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in 2019, ensuring that this incredible story will continue to be told. This short video highlights this important time in Sarasota’s history.

For more stories of Sarasota’s Black history, follow @visitsarasotacounty on Instagram, @visitsarasota on Facebook, and visit:

A Century of Black History in Sarasota. For over 100 years, Black residents played a major role in the development of Sarasota

Tour Sarasota’s Oldest Black Community with Newtown Alive. The Newtown Alive trolley tour leaves no stone unturned in celebrating over a century of African-American history in Sarasota.

From Humble Beginnings to Sarasota Staple: The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. Since 1999, Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has blossomed into one of our most popular theatre experiences, and has big plans to keep pushing the envelope.

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