Happening Saturday: Sarasota County Schools honoring counties first post-segregation African American Principal

Dorothye Smith to be honored with permanent plaque at Southside Elementary
Updated: Feb. 6, 2021 at 10:36 AM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - During this Black History Month, the Sarasota County Schools and Newtown Alive are honoring the counties first black principal following the end of segregation.

The late Dorothye Smith will be honored with a life-sized large bronze metal plaque that will live at Sarasota’s Southside Elementary school.

Smith was a trailblazer in education on the Suncoast, as a longtime teacher who became the first African American Principal in the county in the early 70′s, when segregation was finished.

Smith made strides in racial equity along in Sarasota. Southside will officially unveil the plaque of her likeness on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 1p.m. The plaque is covered with a black tarp where her memorial is housed, prominently at the entrance of the school.

ABC7′s Seshmi Hayes spoke with Walter Gilbert, one of Smith’s former students, who says she taught them that segregation would one day end, and helped prepare them for a brighter future.

“She was getting us ready for a future that had not been her past. But she knew things were going to be different so she was getting us prepared. I knew all the words to the black national anthem because Ms. Smith made sure we learned that. I knew that that was a poem written at the end of the civil war before it was ever a song. That’s the type of teacher she was,” says Gilbert.

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