First Black City in Florida

Eatonville was the first all-Black city in Florida. The city is located just 6 miles north of Orlando and is the oldest black incorporated municipality in the U.S. The founding of this city stands as an enormous achievement for once enslaved black men and women. Having to live life being considered inferior to the white majority, African Americans finally found some freedom for themselves in Eatonville.

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The town is the childhood home of Zora Neale Hurston, the most famous writer of the Harlem Renaissance she described it in 1935: “the city of five lakes, three croquet courts, 300 brown skins, 300 good swimmers, plenty guavas, two schools and no jailhouse.”.

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In an 1889 article on the front page of The Eatonville Speaker the headline read “Colored people of the United States: solve the great race problem by securing a home in Eatonville, Florida, a Negro city governed by Negroes.”. Eatonville was sold as an operational and affordable all-black utopia, a working alternative for freedmen living in more oppressive communities throughout the South. It was promoted as, “… an incorporated city of two and three hundred population with a Mayor, Board of Aldermen, and all the necessary adjuncts of a full fledged city while not a single white family lived in the whole city.

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{This post was written by @AfricanArchives}

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