Newtown, as seen by 2 lifelong residents

City Commissioner of Sarasota FL Willie Shaw

City Commissioner of Sarasota FL Willie Shaw

We are pleased to have hosted City Commissioner Willie Shaw and Jetson Grimes, as part of the Society’s Looking Back With….” Programs, on Tuesday Feb. 14th at 7:00 PM at the Crocker Memorial Church in Pioneer Park at 1260 12th Street Sarasota (between N. Trail and Cocoanut Ave.)  Experience what Sarasota was like growing up in Newtown.

Newtown is the second historic core of Sarasota’s African-American community. From the initial development in 1914, Newtown has experienced and witnessed the turn of many life-changing events for decades. From the early years of segregation to the fight for equality, our community is committed to transforming the past struggle into a prosperous future, lost dreams into renewed hope, broken families into mended relationships and saddened hearts into joyful spirits. This is a new beginning for Newtown.–as posted at

The Leonard Reid House is on the National Register of Historic Places. Click for more historical info courtesy of

Meet Jetson Grimes, Sarasota Native and lifelong resident, mover and shaker of the Newtown community.  His full service Hair Salon is a hub of neighborhood activity, politics and social exchange.  An advocate for change, growth and prosperity for Newtown and its residents, he founded and is the current President of the Greater Newtown Community Redevelopment Corp. which has taken on the charge of recruiting, supporting and retaining small businesses that employ community residents and provides safe, decent, affordable housing in his oft-neglected community.  He and his wife, Raymell (a retired Administrative Secretary for the School district for 32 years and Exec. Director of the Helen Payne Day Nursery for ten years) have two sons and 4 grandchildren.
And meet Willie Charles Shaw, City Commissioner, a life long resident of Sarasota and a veteran of the US Armed Forces (Air Force) and retired as supervisor from the U.S. Postal Service.  He is a strong advocate of the election process, having been a Poll Worker since 1994.  He has served on the board of Directors of several local councils and committees and is the Associate Minister at Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in Tallevast, where his Great Grandmother was a charter member!  He served as the 1st black President of the local National Association of Letter Carriers and if you mention a name of someone who lived in his delivery zone, from 20 years ago, he can amazingly spout off their address before you finish giving him their last name!

This is going to be a fascinating, eye-opening evening with historic slides and remembrances! The public is invited to this Historical Society event, and refreshments will be served following the talk.  Donations for the upkeep and curation of the Crocker Memorial Church and the Bidwell-Wood House  are always welcome.

Further reading:

Thanks to for the photo of Mr. Shaw

We'd love to hear what you have to say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s