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Record Group Number: 000158
Series/Collection Number: .S 2420
Creator: Florida Folklife Program.
Title, Dates: Eatonville oral interview tapes, 1996-1997,
Amount: 4 audio tapes
Medium Included:
Organization/Arrangement: Chronological by recording date.
Terms Governing Use: Digitized interviews are first-use copies for audio tapes.
Biographical/Historical:     Legislation in 1979 (79-322, SB 1208) transferred the Florida Folk Arts component of the Stephen Foster Memorial to the Florida Department of State. Operating as the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs from ca. 1985 until 1995, the Bureau coordinated the annual Florida Folk Festival and directed such programs as Folk Arts Apprenticeships, Folk Arts in Education, Folk Heritage awards, annual research surveys and numerous other projects and programs. From 1995 through June 30, 2021, the renamed and reorganized Florida Folklife Program continued the majority of these operations from within the Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Historic Preservation in Tallahassee. During the 1995 reorganization, the State Archives of Florida acquired the Florida Folklife Collection from the Bureau of Florida Folklife Programs’ previously maintained Florida Folklife Archives. Legislation in 2021 (2021-71, L. O. F., HB 909) transferred the Florida Folklife Program and its operations from the Division of Historical Resources to the newly renamed Division of Arts and Culture, previously the Division of Cultural Resources, effective July 1, 2021. The program is charged to "identify, research, interpret, and present Florida folk arts, artists, performers, folklore, traditions, customs, and cultural heritage and make folk cultural resources and folklife projects available throughout the state."

    Eatonville was incorporated in 1887, making it the first all African-American incorporated town in Florida and the first legally-recognized municipality in the United States settled by freedmen. The exact purpose for these recorded interviews is unknown, though these audio tapes could be associated with the Eatonville National Register or Traditional Cultural Property designation.

Summary:     This series consists of audio recordings of interviews with Eatonville residents, N. Y. Nathiri, Mike Johnson, and Councilmember Theodore Washington. The majority of recordings are of N. Y. Nathiri, the executive director of The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc., regarding her family’s history in Eatonville. This begins with her grandfather moving to Eatonville after losing his business during the Great Depression and becoming mayor of Eatonville in the 1930s. She discusses her emotional and personal attachment to Eatonville, notable residents who had lived in Eatonville such as Zora Neale Hurston and the importance of Eatonville to its residents and in Black history. She speaks at length about family, community and life in the town.

    In the background of the records are family members or friends who sometimes also speak up and comment on the questions asked by the interviewer, including Mattie Jones, Ella Dinkins and Evelyn Moseley. Mike Johnson is N. Y. Nathiri’s cousin, and he speaks from his perspective on the family’s history and role in the development, history and life in Eatonville. In all three interviews, the interviewer asks questions about the importance of Eatonville as one of the first all-Black municipalities, as well as the influence of Hurston, her work and her fame.

Finding Aids: Folder listing available.
Additional Physical Form: Interviews have been digitized and are available on the server.
Reproduction Note:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
Associated Materials:
Language Notes:
Ownership/Custodial History:
Publication Note:
General Note:
Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Hurston, Zora Neale
Florida Folklife Program
African American civic leaders Florida.
African American women.
Black Americans United States.
African Americans Folklore. Florida
Machine-readable artifacts. aat
Audio cassettes. aat
Interviews. aat
Orange County (Fla.)
Added Entries