Six miles from downtown Orlando sits Eatonville, FL, the country's first all-black town to incorporate. From 27 black families in the 1880s to a population of around 2,400 that is 90 percent black, the town's history has mirrored the pride and complications of the African-American experience, explains a New York Times profile.
In 1887, 22 years after slavery ended, the town's men voted unanimously to incorporate Eatonville. Native daughter Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, was born in Eatonville in 1891 and used her birthplace for inspiration. During desegregation, some residents worried that the introduction of white students and teachers would dilute Eatonville's cohesiveness and its youth's confidence. In 1988 a highway project threatened the town, prompting a new surge of civic spirit. To combat the road that never happened, Eatonville created an annual festival to showcase the its strengths and pride.
Eatonville, which embodies black empowerment, but also sees a poverty rate twice the US average, has increasingly become a Florida tourist stop. Would you pay a visit?