Sarasota residents celebrate the 65th anniversary of the car caravans to Lido Beach

Updated: Oct. 3, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Car after car went by on Martin Luther King Jr Way. Each one taking the same route a group of black Sarasota residents did on October 3rd, 1955 to Lido Beach.

Odessa Butler says she remembers going to the first caravan as a little girl.

“It’s one of the things that I’m very proud of and was very proud to be a part of the very first one,” she says.

Back then, the beach was segregated and was for only white residents.

“We went to the beach. There were a lot of things that were said that were not nice people were saying things that they shouldn’t have been saying to us,” says Butler.

On Saturday morning, the Sarasota community came together where the car trips used to begin at MLK Jr. Way and Osprey Ave in Newtown, Sarasota’s first Black community.

“To actually reenact what happened 65 years ago. To continue to tell the story of what our forefathers and the trailblazers who left such a legacy for which we stand on their shoulders today here or even in the year of 2020," says Trevor Harvey who is the President of the Sarasota

They also reenacted the wade-ins.

at the first caravan, the group of brave black residents also went into the lido beach water.

This was their stand against segregation at the beach.

Jetson Grimes says he now appreciates beach that was once denied to him.

“We were denied the opportunity to go to the beach and I wanted to show myself that I can appreciate being here. And we deserve to be here I visit this beach twice a week sometimes three times a week,” says Grimes.

The caravans to Lido continued for years until desegregation came to all Sarasota County beaches.

This mural of the founders of those caravans was created to remind visitors and residents of Lido Beach’s history.

“I appreciated being able to come out to the beach because I knew the work that Mr. Rivers, Miss Maxine Miss Emma Jones, Mr. John Rivers I knew the work that they did,” says Harvey.

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