Racially segregated public spaces were the norm in the American South prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But in 1951, residents of the African American community of Newtown in Sarasota, Florida, protested this injustice, requesting access to Lido Beach. Their request was ignored, prompting them to begin “wade-ins” to make their voices heard.
Today, the Newtown African American Heritage Trail lets you follow the route these activists took as they carpooled to local beaches. The 15 historic markers on the trail explore and commemorate Newtown’s role in racial integration from 1914 to the present and are part of the Newtown Alive initiative, which was formed to preserve the story of this historically African American neighborhood. Newtown Alive offers guided, two-hour trolley or bus tours of the area. Guests can hear stories of the 1950s beach caravans, the history of the Newtown community and personal accounts of courage from civil rights trailblazers.
For more information about Newtown Alive tours, visit newtownalive.org/book-trolley-tour.