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Sarasota is one of six finalists for Florida’s Black History Museum

The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community as well as Bea Hatler, one of Robert Hungerford’s descendants, sued the district in July.<br/>
Florida Memory
The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community as well as Bea Hatler, one of Robert Hungerford’s descendants, sued the district in July.

The other potential sites include Jackson County, Opa-locka, Seminole County, St. John’s County, and Eatonville, the oldest Black-incorporated municipality in Florida.

Eatonville is one of six sites being considered for Florida’s Black History Museum, after the township formally submitted its proposal for the project last week.

The Florida Museum of Black History Task Force said it has narrowed down finalists for the museum to include Eatonville.

Senator Geraldine Thompson is on the task force. She says the other potential sites include Jackson County, Opa-locka, Sarasota, Seminole County and St. John’s County.

“We will read them and rank them. And we're scheduled to meet on March 25. To narrow it down to maybe one, two or three, we're considering something like the Smithsonian model where there is a hub. And then there are affiliates so we're considering, possibly two affiliates, in addition to wherever the main museum will be located,” said Thompson.

Thompson said her dream with the museum is two-fold. She wants the museum to be a location that kids throughout the state can visit, similar to St. Augustine. And she wants it to be an accurate depiction of Black history.

“I envision something similar to the National African American History Museum in Washington, DC, that will attract tourists who are interested in understanding this part of our history, which has been obscured for many, many years. And so it's a combination of tourism and education that I'm hoping will materialize from the museum,” said Thompson.

Orange County Schools announced last week its intent to donate 10 acres from the former Hungerford School site if Eatonville is ultimately chosen for the project.

The schools say the land will be donated, only if the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community’s lawsuit against the district is dropped, or a judge rules in their favor.

Florida committed to building a Black history museum back in 2023.

The museum is required by law to teach the history of slavery, segregation and historically black colleges and universities or HBCUs among other topics.

If you've never been to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture here's a brief tour:

Copyright 2024 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Danielle Prieur
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