Sarasota's African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC) has announced that its Museum of African American History and Culture will be housed in the historic Leonard Reid home, currently located at Cohen Way and Seventh Street in the Rosemary District. The home, most recently the location of Canned Ham Vintage, will eventually be moved to a nearly two-acre piece of property at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and North Orange Avenue in Newtown. City commissioners unanimously voted to purchase the land for the museum and plan to close on the parcels in mid-August; according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, developer John Hermansen will cover the cost of moving the home to Newtown, pending approval from the city's historic preservation board.
SAACC says the museum will be a special place to host programs, showcase exhibitions by Black artists, and jumpstart difficult conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion.
The news about the museum's location comes on the heels of the City of Sarasota's announcement that the Newtown Historic Conservation District is one of 18 communities in the country—and the only one in Florida—to be awarded an Underrepresented Community Grant from the National Park Service. The $50,000 grant will give the city of Sarasota “all the tools in our toolbox” to put together the nomination to have the Newtown district placed on the National Register of Historic Places, says city planner and historic preservation expert Dr. Clifford Smith.