Sarasota community remembers the city’s past at the Oaklands/Woodlawn Cemetery

Cemetary Remembrance

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - “If the cemetery could talk could tell the story of Sarasota."

The Sarasota community spent their Sunday afternoon reflecting and remembering those who died for freedom.

“A day of remembrance and reflection. It’s a day for the little ones to know who their great great great grandparents are their families relationships. And the contribution to our community over 100 years ago," said District 1 Sarasota City Commissioner Willie Shaw.

The Oaklands/Woodlawn Cemetery is located in Gillisepe Park. It was the first burial plot established in 1910 for black residents in Sarasota County. It is the final resting place of more than 1,200 people, including numerous World War I and II veterans.

Some citizens were born at the end of the Civil War. The earliest date of death on a marked grave is from 1905, residents of the Johnson Camp for farmworkers in the Fruitville area. Bee Ridge Turpentine Camp, Laurel and Woodmere (a sawmill town south of Venice) and from Sarasota’s Overtown and Newtown communities are also buried there.

Nacoma is a Sarasota native who brought her children to the cemetery to teach them about their family history.

“This is generations. My uncle and my sister, both of our kids. We bring them out here so they know the history behind their family," she explained. “We have three World War I vets. Which means that’s a part of our family history as well as the black history and the Sarasota community. We have a bunch of African-Americans Historians in the cemetery.”

The Oaklands/Woodlawn Cemetery is a piece of history but a bigger piece of Sarasota’s history.

“I want them to be as proud as Sarasota as I am, being a Sarasotan,” said Commissioner Shaw.

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