Black History Month displays on view at City Hall

This is the 10th consecutive year for the exhibit

Image from the City of Sarasota public service announcement

For the 10th consecutive year, educational materials are on display at Sarasota City Hall to commemorate Black History Month, the city has announced.

“The displays include photographs and newspaper articles charting African-American trailblazers in Sarasota and their achievements as athletes, elected officials, military personnel, teachers and others, as well as the history of racial integration in Sarasota County,” a city news release says.

The exhibit will be open to the public the entire month of February, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the release notes. City Hall is located at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota.

In conjunction with the displays, a 30-second public service announcement has been produced by the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk; it may be viewed on Access Sarasota (Comcast Channel 19, and Verizon Channel 32), the release says.

The following is a link to the PSA:

City staff also has marked the death of Sarasota resident Dorothye Smith, “who tirelessly gathered and chronicled these displays through the years,” the release continues. “Ms. Smith passed away on August 24, 2017,” the release says.

Smith was the first African-American teacher at Venice Elementary School, beginning her tenure in 1965, the release adds. She taught reading at Jacksonville University that same year, the release says. In 1972, she became the first African-American principal of an integrated school, holding that position at Southside Elementary School in Sarasota, the release points out.

While at Southside, Smith was named the school’s teacher of the year twice, in 1970 and 1971, the release adds, and she was named Sarasota County’s first African-American teacher of the year.

“In 2009, the Sarasota County branch of the NAACP honored Smith with its Lifetime Achievement Award for breaking down racial barriers in the Sarasota County school system,” the release notes.