SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Crews will relocate Sarasota’s historic Leonard Reid house overnight Thursday into Friday, to a city-owned property in Newtown. The house, built in 1926, currently sits in Sarasota’s Rosemary District.

The home is named after a man considered to be a pioneer in the City of Sarasota. Leonard Reid helped establish the city’s first Black community – Overtown – which is now known as the Rosemary District. He was also known as being the “right hand man” to the city’s first mayor.

Two years ago, the historic home’s current owner expressed interest in donating the structure to the city. Once it is in its new location in Newtown, the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition will transform the space into a cultural arts and history center for the community. City commissioners approved a lease agreement with the nonprofit organization earlier this year.

“Leonard Reid would give away books on his front porch as children passed by and his daughters were the first teachers for thousands of Newtown children including me,” SAACC CEO and President Vickie Oldham said. “Ethel and Viola taught me the ABCs and 123s and we are going to continue that tradition. Education is key.”

One of Reid’s descendants still lives in Newtown and says she’s eager to have the cultural center close to home.

“It is time, Sarasota, for a new, Newtown,” said Mary Mack. “I used to come to this house when I was about 6 years old with my grandmother and it is amazing that it is still standing and that we can do something positive with it. It is part of my family history. It means an awful lot and it is something that we can move forward for the children of our community. This cultural center will help them know their true history.”

The 2.6-mile journey to its new destination will take approximately two hours. The historic Leonard Reid house will be located at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Orange Avenue.