Newtown Alive's Vickie Oldham

Image: SRQ Headshots

Vickie Oldham wants more people to know about Newtown. Beyond just a couple of lines in a textbook or a picture accompanied by a caption, Oldham and her Newtown Alive team have compiled what she’s described as the most robust account of the history of the first community of African-Americans to settle in Sarasota that has ever been made available to the public. The Newtown & Overtown History Bus Tour takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. Tickets can be bought in advance at the Newtown Alive website. The group will meet at the Fogartyville Community and Media Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota.

On this bus tour with “many moving parts,” attendees will be kept on their toes. Local singer Troy Nichols will lead the group in freedom songs and spirituals, while longtime Newtown residents will speak about the history they lived through.

“It’s not me standing up there, spitting facts,” Oldham says. “It’s just a different way of telling this story other than through a researched report or a book. You can see history come alive as you envision it through their eyes.”

This tour has been offered a handful of times before. Starting in October, tours will be offered monthly, perhaps even weekly, if the demand is strong enough.

“These are stories that have been tucked away in boxes in the garage of our families,” Oldham says. “But not anymore.”

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