Emma E. Booker, a pioneer black educator, was teaching in Sarasota's public school for Negro children in the 1910s. By 1918, she was principal of Sarasota Grammar School, holding classes in rented halls. The Julius Rosenwald Fund helped build a school that opened in 1924 with eight grades. Under Principal J.R. Dixon, grades were added and the first senior class graduated in 1935. Mrs. Booker attended college during summers for over 20 years to earn her Bachelor's degree in 1937, and the school was renamed in her honor.