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SPLC and The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community Respond to Developer’s Decision to Terminate Sale of Historic Property


EATONVILLE, Fla. —The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community (P.E.C.) issued the following statement in response to the sale of most of the remaining acres of the historic Hungerford property, which was terminated today by the developer. 
“Today’s decision clears the way for this historic land to be preserved and used to benefit the citizens of Eatonville today and in the future,” said N.Y. Nathiri, executive director of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community. “As Eatonville residents, we are best positioned to determine future development of the land to ensure generations-long economic prosperity and we urge Orange County Public Schools to return the property to a community trust.” 
“Residents, not developers, are best able to determine and use the land in a way that benefits the community while honoring its legacy,” said Kirsten Anderson, SPLC Deputy Legal Director of Economic Justice and P.E.C. counsel. “The Orange County School Board must meet their obligations to ensure this land is used for educational or related purposes, preserving this historic property and allowing the community to appropriately plan for its future development.” 
Editor’s note: 
Founded in 1887 during Reconstruction, Eatonville is one of the first towns in America to be incorporated by freedmen and the home of renowned Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston. In 1897, with help from Booker T. Washington and others, Black leaders of the town established on the site at issue the Robert Hungerford Normal and Industrial School for the education of African American students, who otherwise were afforded few, if any, educational opportunities due to their race.  
Read more about the effort to preserve Black history in Eatonville, Florida: 
•    SPLC Represents Group Suing to Preserve Florida Community's Black Heritage
•    Preserving Black Heritage: Florida activists fight to save historic site 
•    'Sacred Ground': Effort to preserve historic Black Florida Community wins key victory 
•    'Willing to Fight': Residents rise up against development that could erase historic Florida town's rich black heritage
•    A timeline of events in Eatonville, Florida