Zora Neale Hurston Festival

227 East Kennedy Boulevard
Maitland, FL 32751

407-647-3307

Zora!Festival is organized and presented by The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.), a membership-based, tax exempt, historic preservation organization. Established in 1988, the organization's mission is:

To enhance the resources of Eatonville, Florida, which is the oldest incorporated African American municipality in the United States and the hometown of writer, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston

To educate the public about Eatonville's historic and cultural significance and

To use the community's heritage and cultural vibrancy for its economic development

History
On November 23, 1987, barely 90 days after the historic town of Eatonville had completed its centennial celebration, the Board of Commissioners for the County of Orange (Florida) unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the five-laning of Kennedy Boulevard, the main street of the oldest incorporated African American municipality in the United States and hometown of Zora Neale Hurston, noted 20th century writer, folklorist, and anthropologist. Though Eatonville's citizens and friends could neither believe nor understand the commission's decision, they did recognize that Historic Eatonville must be preserved if this unique community and the cultural traditions it represents were to survive.

Two weeks after the board's decision, some 200 persons from Eatonville, Maitland, and other areas of Orange County organized The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community (P.E,C.), which was incorporated in May,1988. During its first year, P.E.C. was primarily an advocacy organization, focusing on preservation strategies, including completing a historic survey of the town and taking steps to delay the road-widening project. Also during this time, P.E.C. began planning its first major cultural event, the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. The festival is now recognized internationally as a premier event celebrating the cultural contributions Africa-descended people have made to the United States and to world culture.

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