Booker Schools

Booker Schools


Location: Orange Avenue and 32nd Street
Emma E. Booker, a pioneer Black educator was teaching in Sarasota's public school for Negro children in the 1920s. By 1918 she was principal of Sarasota Grammar School which held classes in rented halls. The Julius Rosenwald Fund helped build a school at present day Seventh St. and Lemon Ave. which opened in 1924-25 with eight grades. The school later was renamed in honor of Emma Booker who attended college during summers for over 20 years to earn her Bachelor's degree in 1937. Under Principal J. R. Dixon, grades were added and the first senior class of Booker High School graduated in 1935.

The Black community gradually expanded into the Newtown area with schools following. In 1939 Booker High School classes and the Rosenwald building were relocated to a site near here adjoining an elementary school. By the late 1940s when Roland Rogers was principal, the Booker Grammar School was moved here and the School Board of Sarasota County consolidated schools on the Newtown campus. Rogers led the way to academic accreditation and construction of modern buildings. The campus name continues to perpetuate the contributions of Emma Booker. Many graduates of the Booker schools returned to teach in the Sarasota County School system.