Sarah’s Place

(In Progress)

In the mid-1960’s, Sarah’s Sandwich Shop, a streetcar diner in a historically black neighborhood near the University of Florida, offered lunch by day and live R&B music at night. A small house band, anchored by a Hammond organ and blues guitar, bristling with saxophones and brass, set into a deep groove by local legend “Fat Poppa” on drums, and fronted by a roster of soulful singers, taught audiences the mantra of Sarah’s performance schedule: “Every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday!”

While the turmoil of the 1964 Civil Rights Act rippled through the segregated South, “Sarah’s” served as a rare gathering place where newly-desegregated audiences of the day could relax, celebrate, and get to know one another in a friendly environment.

In 2007, musicians and audience members who had not seen one another in decades returned to Gainesville for a reunion concert. “Sarah’s Place” is the story of that concert, its joyful personal reunions, and of the deep connections that Sarah’s people still hold from their shared experiences during a turbulent time long ago.