November 6, 2020
A Message from N. Y. Nathiri, Executive Director

The Official ZORA!® Festival 2021 Season Has Begun
The annual Zora Neale Hurston™ Festival of the Arts and Humanities (ZORA!® Festival) is conceived of and implemented in five-year cycles; so when the ZORA! Festival National Planners convened in March, our process was to refine the programming, which we had begun working on in 2019, for the 2021 event.  But alas! Covid-19 caused us to recalibrate our thinking and to prepare for a new reality. The chair of our Academics Committee, Dr. Scot French, opened the door to our expanded thinking -- Why not explore the possibility of the University of Central Florida's offering  ZORA! Festival 2021 as a one-credit virtual course? The genius of his suggestion was grasped immediately by all of us; and the virtual space became our organizing principle.
Since March, our team has been working, at a pretty fair clip, to prepare for ZORA!
 Festival 2021.  We have re-configured our event,  known for drawing tens of thousands to Eatonville and to Orange County, Florida to a hybrid presentation, mostly virtual with very limited, small audience, in-person programming. We have expanded our schedule from 9 days to encompass all of January, kicking off the month-long celebration on Thursday, January 7 on Zora Neale Hurston's 130th birthday. 
In some categories, a mostly virtual event has fewer associated costs, but, in others, there remain significant outlays.  For our organization, the Orange County Tourist Development Tax grant represents essential seed funding for the ZORA!
 Festival, and for the FY 21 cycle, November 1, 2020 - February 28, 2021, the $86,000 for which we applied is 10.20% of the budget.  Happily, on October 8, the Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs Council recommended funding for ZORA! Festival 2021 and on October 27, the Orange County Board of County Commission approved that recommendation. We are now, officially, "Off to the races!" 
Please visit to review the offerings.  We think you will be well pleased.

P.E.C. Adds Staff Member 

(Photo of Sidney Rose McCall used by permission)
Sidney Rose McCall is a recent graduate of Florida A&M University’s Applied Social Sciences M.A. program with a focus in U.S. 19th + 20th century history. She is a practitioner of oral history and visual storytelling.  During the summertime protests of 2020, Sidney Rose created an online community called Antiracist Liberation where she teaches the history of American racism and resistance to community leaders and antiracist citizens committed to uprooting the ecosystem of white supremacy. Post-COVID, her plans include pursuing her Ph.D. in American history to create public space for the living histories and narratives that fortified and resisted racism in the United States and beyond.
A Zora Neale Hurston Book Club
This Saturday, November 7, 3:00 PM  EST
Featured Book:
Their Eyes Were Watching God 
For more information, see "Breaking News,"

(Photo of Rondrea Mathis used by permission)

Facilitator:  Rondrea Mathis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English, Bethune-Cookman University 

Afrofuturism and Pop Culture Webinar

Kinitra Brooks, Ph.D.
Co-author, The Lemonade Reader: Beyoncé, Black Feminism and Spirituality

Join the Virtual Conversation

Wednesday, November 18
7:00 - 8:00 PM EST via ZOOM

(Photo of Kinitra Brooks used by permission)

Dr. Brooks is the Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University and specializes in the study of Black women, genre fiction, and popular culture.  She will discuss how Beyoncé embodies the conjure woman in her iconic audiovisual work Lemonade as a contemporary revision of Zora Neale Hurston’s groundbreaking study of conjure and its place in Black women’s spirit work. 


When the Black Mind imagines a “future," what does that future look like?  When the Black Mind speculates on how things can be, what is it that the Black Mind sees?  If it sees bleakness in that future, what are the implications and what are the “marching orders?"  If it sees hope, what, then are the alternative implications and “marching orders?"

In a lively, insightful scholarly dialogue, Dr. Julian Chambliss (Michigan State University) and Dr. Phillip Cunningham (Wake Forest University) explored these and other questions arising from their co-curated exhibition on display at the Zora Neale Hurston
™ National Museum of Fine Arts (The Hurston) in Eatonville --  A Past Unremembered: The Transformative Legacy of the Black Speculative Imagination. The October 8, 2020 webinar was moderated by Prof. Trent Tomengo (Seminole State College of Florida).  Listeners should have come away with a clearer understanding of “Afrofuturism,” the topic of the current cycle of ZORA!® Festivals, and of why the expectation of hope rather than bleakness is important, even in the present-day climate of social protest and unrest.  This conversation was about past, present, and future and should be a “springboard” to further discussions on critical issues for Africa-descended peoples.
-Alice Morgan Grant  
January 7-31, 2021
Historic Eatonville and Orange County, Florida

For complete ZORA! Festival 2021 information, including current sponsors and sponsor opportunities, please visit
Learn More
Virtual Opportunity for Vendors Experienced with eCommerce
Interested Vendors:  CLICK HERE
(As of October 27, 2020)
Because of the collaborative relationships P.E.C. enjoys, ZORA!® Festival 2021 will present an array of outstanding offerings.  With gratitude, we acknowledge those below.
In this space, we include a potpourri of items which we believe will be of interest to our readers.
Zora Neale Hurston™ National Museum of Fine Arts (The Hurston)
COVID- 19 Update:  

Hours of Operation:  11 AM - 2 PM, Monday - Friday
Cynthia Haywood: Museum Docent
The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.) is a historic preservation/cultural arts/community revitalization organization, which was established in 1987 and incorporated by the State of Florida in 1988.  P.E.C. has 501 (c) 3 status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service. Our FEIN is 59-2952662.
COVID-19-related funding to the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.)  provided by:
Florida Humanities Council, State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, and United Arts of Central Florida

We are governed by a Board of Directors, whose members are:
Winfred Chad McKendrick, President
Tadayuki (Tad) Hara, Ph.D., Vice President
Joshua Smith-Benson, PharmD., Treasurer
Rasheeda Garricks, MBA, Secretary
Marie-José François, MD, Immediate Past President
John W. Beacham
Ava K. Doppelt, Esq.
Harietta Finley White
Thomas S. Kornegay
Reginald Lewis
Reginald B. McGill
Jenneil Ross
Copyright © 2020 Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.), All rights reserved.

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