Robert L. Taylor


Mr. Taylor moved to Sarasota when he was 13 years old, residing in Overtown and graduating from Booker High School. After finishing Army service during World War II, he graduated from Morehouse College. Upon returning to Sarasota he became the first full-time employee of the Newtown Recreation Center, known to locals as “The Rec”. Directing the center and its programs from 1950 until 1986, he helped to cement The Rec as a safe community space for African-American residents of Newtown and the larger Sarasota area through periods of profound change and conflict related to segregation. The Newtown Recreation Center was rededicated as The Robert L. Taylor Community Complex Center in 2005 and is now a state-of-the-art, 15-acre campus offering athletics, recreation, and education.

Student Interviewer: Christina Harn

Christina is a fourth-year sociology student at New College of Florida. Her studies focus on social movements and cultural change in the urban environment, and currently she is working on a thesis related to artistic development and displacement in Washington, D.C.

Interview Transcripts

Posted in: 2016

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