Water Oral History Project to celebrate county’s rich water heritage
SARASOTA COUNTY – The community is invited to take a step back in history at the annual Water Oral History Project public screening, which showcases oral histories as told by local area residents in videos produced by students from the New College of Florida. The Water Oral History Project serves to preserve storytelling traditions and oral histories, which would otherwise be lost over time. These personal narratives, as told by local residents, provide a glimpse into the area as it used to be and provide insight into the important roles that local water resources continue to play both economically and environmentally.
Join us at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, for the reception, followed by the screening at 6:30 p.m., in the Mildred F. Sainer Pavilion on the New College of Florida’s Caples Campus, located at 5313 Bayshore Road, Sarasota. For directions, visit www.ncf.edu/directions.
Since the beginning of the Water Oral History Project in 2009, dozens of life stories have been documented and preserved. Last year’s project videos can be viewed by visiting Sarasota County Water Atlas at www.sarasotaoralhistory.com.
2016 Water Oral History participants:
- Dr. Ed James: Dr. James has been a steadfast advocate for improvements in the Newtown community and has inspired others through his work. For 29 years he was the producer and host of the “Black Almanac” television program and was a writer and associate producer of the television program “Positively Black.” Dr. James also worked as a columnist and governmental reporter for the Sarasota Journal and the New York Post.
- Laurel Kaiser: Kaiser was born in Sarasota, where she has lived all of her life. In her 20s, she fell in love with the sport of windsurfing. Since the late 1980s, Kaiser has taught windsurfing and kiteboarding to Sarasota residents and visitors alike. She is an advocate for environmental awareness and water access and is passionate about encouraging others to enjoy the water.
- Shelia Cassundra Hammond Atkins: Atkins was born in Manatee County in 1952 but has lived in Sarasota County for most of her life. Her parents were employed by Ralph and Ellen Caples. She grew up in the Newtown community, where she attended high school during integration. She currently works as a paraprofessional aide at Alta Vista Elementary. Atkins and her husband, former Sarasota mayor Fredd “Glossie” Atkins, still live in the Newtown area.
- Wade Harvin, Jr.: Harvin was born in Crescent City, Fla., and moved to Sarasota in 1940 when he was 5 years old. He was one of the first black bankers in Sarasota and brought Salvation Army bell-ringing to the Newtown community. He has lived in both the Newtown and Overtown communities, and he attends Bethlehem Baptist Church, which is the oldest African-American church in Sarasota.