The First Historic Black Town In America Lives On Today

sign of eatonville town hall
Briona Lamback
January 3, 2022

Talented, charming, and unapologetically Black, Zora Neale Hurston was one of the most successful writers during the early 20th century. Many of her achievements can be attributed to being raised in her magical all-Black hometown.

But where was it and why was it so special?

Hurston grew up in Eatonville, Florida, America’s first town to be organized and governed by formerly enslaved Black people. Eatonville was a safe haven for Black people during Reconstruction, when tensions were high and Black communities were always on alert for white supremacist attack.

Eatonville served as inspiration for some of Hurston’s best-known works – but what happened to it?

Today, Eatonville’s Black-owned businesses are still thriving! It has beautiful well-kept historical homes, and its schools are some of the best in the region. Over a hundred thousand people gather annually for Eatonville’s arts festival, also known as “Zora! Festival.”

But this isn’t all that roots the town in magic.

Eatonville’s REAL magic is what it represents for our people. Not only is liberation possible when we work together, but what we create can also be a powerful legacy for future generations. 

When we use our talents to invest in our communities, we can thrive even in the face of opposition, violence, and defeat. Black community IS magic!

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