Now-closed historic Hungerford school in Eatonville opened doors for Black students…
Eatonville is a town in Orange County, Florida, United States, six miles north of Orlando. It is part of Greater Orlando. Incorporated on August 15, 1887; oldest self-governing all-black municipalities in the United States. The Eatonville Historic District and Moseley House Museum are in Eatonville…[ Author Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Eatonville and the area features in many of her stories…
EATONVILLE, Fla. — Any day now, the community expects to learn what will happen to 100 acres of land in one of the oldest historically Black towns in the United States, Eatonville…
Eatonville’s Town Council recently voted against rezoning the land, which would have cleared the way for development that many residents say would erase the town’s history and price current residents out.
Many residents, including alumna Vera King, simply want the land back to decide on their own what gets built there…
“Hungerford and Jones High School were the only two Black schools in Orange County,” King says.
Grabbing a stack of school yearbooks is the perfect way for her to take a walk down memory lane. She chuckles and flashes a bright smile as she points to a picture of herself in one of the yearbooks.
“Aww…I was a cheerleader, and that’s in one of these books right here,” she says as she flashes a bright smile, chuckles and points to a picture of herself.
The memories come flooding back…
King was born in the town of Eatonville in 1937.
“It’s a very special part of me,” she says.
A short walk into her backyard these days provides proof of the winds of change. King remembers as a curious child not the distinctive roar of traffic, like you hear now around Robert Hungerford Preparatory High School, but something else as clear as day…
Years later, she attended the school from the eighth grade to the 12th grade…
“We had teachers who reached out to us in ways that had nothing to do with the books,” she added. “It put a lot of people into the working world. They encouraged you, if you could — if your parents could afford it — to go to college. But they also knew that there were a number of us who could not afford to go, so they gave us skills that would help us to get jobs.”
King was one of those students…
“I really give my business ed(ucation) teacher credit for putting me into the working world,” she says. “She was very strict. You didn’t touch her typewriter until you knew the keyboard.”
King eventually landed a job at the high school “because my principal was still there, and he needed a secretary,” she says.
In 1999, she retired…
There’s not much left of the school now, King says.
Walking up to the land where the school once stood, King can peer through the chain-link fence. “And go straight down. That would be the front of the school. That’s where the office was.” There’s not much left of the school now.
“There’s nothing out here,” she says. “They didn’t even save the bell.”
She says she longs to see something in its former location that pays homage to the school — more than just a plaque, something that rings true to the spirit of the historic Florida town, just like that old school bell.
“Even if they had some vocational classes out here,” King says.
The Southern Poverty Law Center recently wrote a letter to Orange County Public Schools, saying that if the school board continues with the sale, it could be a violation of civil rights for the residents of Eatonville because it could have an adverse impact on the residents. SPLC also maintains that before OCPS takes any action, it needs to conduct a study on what those effects could be…
2 thoughts on “Eatonville, Florida so rich in #BlackHistory… Teachers must be able to Teach…”
I have been thinking a lot about the kind of world our descendants may get to live in. Having a well developed imagination helps, but also compassion and empathy. As far as education goes, government intervention will, I believe, cease in the years to come, if the majority wish it. I believe once a crucial critical mass of people believe in something, in this case a way forward, then perhaps it will come to be.
Many politicians are a barrier to a better future in their lack of compassion and empathy. Here in the UK the NHS and Teaching professions are battling the current government over pay and conditions, and just as importantly, the future direction the NHS and schools must take. I believe workers know best how to do what they instinctively signed up do and have been trained for.
It’s time to take back our own future.
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Dearest Andrew…So wonderful hearing from you… Thank you for sharing your insight…I am so with you…I too believe, if we work together, we can make this World a better place…We definitely are at a pinnacle place… Springtime Blessings…💜✨💫🌈🦋🌍