TIME TO GO WAY BLACK: Growing Up In Eatonville

I never considered myself having a hometown.

Throughout my childhood, my family moved around quite a lot.  Although I was born in Orlando, I’ve never been in one place long enough to truly claim any particular city as my stomping ground. However, when it’s all said and done, there’s only one city that I have nothing but pure love for, which happens to be the oldest black city in America and the hometown of the irreplaceable Zora Neal Hurston: sweet, sweet Eatonville.

This wonderful town have shaped me in ways that I will be forever grateful for.  Where would I be without Anne Key, who loved me unconditionally in the absence of my dearly departed mother? Where would I be without her sister Bea, who educated generations of beautiful Eatonville children? Where would I be without Kingston Court, where me and other resident children lived for making forts, grilling hot dogs and nonstop cannonballs in the pool? Where would I be without Big Chuck and Dexter, whose AAU basketball team gave my giant manboy body a purpose and a spirit? Where would I be without my band of brothers, Chucky, Theron, Ronnie, David, Kenny and others, my fellow Eatonville Lakers, who gave me my first taste of a brotherhood outside my family, as well as what it feels like to earn a championship, never allowing me to settle for being “big and sorry”?

Where would I be indeed.  Long live Eatonville.

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