NATIONAL NEWS

Developer drops land purchase in historically Black town

Mar 31, 2023, 12:54 PM

This undated photo shows the Eatonville sign in Eatonville, Fla. One of the first historically Blac...

This undated photo shows the Eatonville sign in Eatonville, Fla. One of the first historically Black towns in the U.S. is suing the local school board to stop the sale of land that is tied up with Florida’s legacy of racial segregation and the state's fast-paced growth nowadays. An association dedicated to the preservation of the town of Eatonville’s cultural history on Friday sued the Orange County School board in Orlando, Florida. The town is perhaps best known through the writings of Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston. (Joy Wallace Dickinson/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Joy Wallace Dickinson/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

EATONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A developer on Friday ended plans to purchase a 100-acre (39-hectare) property from the local school system in a historically Black town in Florida following a public outcry that the deal threatened the cultural heritage of the community made famous by Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston.

Derek Bruce said in a letter to Orange County Public Schools in Orlando that he had terminated the deal to purchase the land where a former school for Black students stood in the town of Eatonville. The school system said in a statement that it wouldn’t consider any further bids for the land.

“This decision presents us with a new opportunity to collaborate with the Eatonville community to preserve and celebrate the Town’s historic and cultural significance as the oldest incorporated Black town in the U.S.,” the school system said in the statement.

An association dedicated to preserving Eatonville’s cultural history last week sued to stop the $14.6 million deal, claiming it threatened the cultural heritage of the town. The developer had plans to build 350 homes, as well as business spaces, raising fears the project would increase traffic and price out longtime residents of the town.

With a population of around 2,350 people, of whom almost three-quarters are Black, Eatonville is perhaps best known through the writings of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston. The town was the setting for one of her best known works, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

Founded in 1887, Eatonville was among the early all-Black incorporated municipalities established in the decades after the end of slavery in the U.S. Around 1,200 Black towns or settlements were established in the late 19th century and early 20th century, according to the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance.

National News

Associated Press

Ex-CEO of Nevada-based health care company Ontrak convicted of $12.5 million insider trading scheme

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The former CEO and chairman of Ontrak, a publicly traded health care company based in Nevada, was found guilty Friday of a multimillion-dollar insider trading scheme. A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Terren Scott Peizer, a resident of Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California, of one count of securities fraud […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Lockheed Martin subsidiaries reach $70 million settlement for claims they overcharged Navy for parts

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) — Two Lockheed Martin subsidiaries have agreed to pay the federal government $70 million for overcharging the Navy for aircraft parts, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday. The federal agency says Sikorsky Support Services, based in Stratford, Connecticut, and Derco Aerospace, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, knowingly entered into an improper subcontract […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Man accused in killing and kidnappings in Louisiana waives extradition

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A man arrested in the slaying of a Louisiana woman and abduction of her two daughters and subsequent death of one of them waived extradition Friday in federal court in Mississippi, clearing the way for his return to Louisiana to face trial. During his court appearance in Jackson, Daniel Callihan, 36, […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

88-year-old Montana man who was getaway driver in bank robberies sentenced to 2 years in prison

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — An 88-year-old Montana man has been sentenced to two years in a federal prison medical facility for being the getaway driver in two bank robberies in Billings last summer, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana said. The man was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in February to two counts of bank […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. ___ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Mitch Landrieu, national co-chair of President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign; Gov. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. ___ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.; former national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien; former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell. […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

At least 6 heat-related deaths reported in metro Phoenix so far this year as high hits 115 degrees

PHOENIX (AP) — At least six people have died from heat-related causes this year so far in sizzling metro Phoenix, where the temperatures this week hit 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 Celsius), Arizona’s Maricopa Department of Public Health reported this week. Another 87 deaths are under investigation for possible heat-related causes through last Saturday, public health […]

8 hours ago

Developer drops land purchase in historically Black town