This Small Town Means Big Things To The Black Community

Black children in pavilion with a few adults circa 1899
Via Picryl
Leslie Taylor-Grover
June 30, 2020

Eatonville, Florida is a magical place. And not just because it was the home of Zora Neale Hurston. There’s a bigger reason for its magic.

In all honesty, the magic isn’t even in its annual festival that draws over a hundred thousand people a year. Or in the fact that small Black-owned businesses thrive next to huge box stores. The magic is even more important than that.

To be clear: its well-kept historical homes are incredibly beautiful, and its Black schools are some of the best schools in the region. And even though the city was a haven for Black people after Reconstruction and during the height of white attacks against our people, that’s not where the magic is the most deeply rooted.

It could be the fact that Eatonville, Florida is the oldest Black town in the United States, or that it is still burgeoning today. However, that still doesn’t do its magic justice.

Eatonville’s magic is what it represents for our people. It shows that not only is liberation possible when we work together, but also that what we create is a powerful legacy for future generations. When we work together to create our own spaces, we can thrive even in the face of opposition, violence, and defeat. Our unity begets magic.

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