Alliance Member Towns
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In August 18, 1887, only ten years removed from Reconstruction (1863-1877), a group of twenty-seven African American men (led by Joe Clark) convened with the purpose of founding, what would turn out to be, the first incorporated African American settlement community in the United States. Eatonville, the town born on that day, was named for a White man, Josiah Eaton, who served as mayor of the neighboring town of Maitland from which most of the future Eatonville residents originated. The Town of Eatonville is the oldest municipality in America. Eatonville is a town rich in black history, tucked away just north of the City of Orlando and home to a little over 2,000 people. The current mayor of Eatonville is Anthony Grant.
The City of Grambling is composed of land parcels ranging from single family residential, to commercial, and agricultural. The recorded land history dates from the establishment of the early parishes in the 1830’s. There are more than a dozen churches and religious institutions in the area that are more than fifty years old. There is significant overlap in political, cultural, educational, religious, and civic histories between the neighboring towns of Arcadia (Beinville Parish) and Ruston (Lincoln Parish) dating from the early 1800’s. The current mayor of Grambling, Louisiana is Mr. Ed Jones.
Hobson City opened opportunities for itself and other people of color within a radius of several counties. The New York Times newspaper reported on the town founding thirty eight days after it was incorporated in 1899. Hobson City’s first mayor, Mr. S.L. Davis, made a presentation to the National Negro Business League on “building a successful Negro town” in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900. In 1902 Dr. Booker T. Washington wrote an article naming Hobson City as an exemplary town with “quality houses”. The town was featured again in a 1923 edition of Hampton Institute’s Southern Workman Magazine as “A Model Negro Town”. Hobson City’s “town park” was commissioned as soon as the community was incorporated. The Hobson City park is one of the oldest African American public parks in continuous use in the United States. The current mayor of Hobson City, Alabama is Mrs. Alberta McCrory.
Founded in 1887 the city of Mound Bayou, Mississippi was founded by Isaiah T.Montgomery, and his cousin Benjamin T. Green former slaves of Jefferson Davis, brother Joseph Davis, former President of the Confederacy. The spot selected was named Mound Bayou after the “large Indian mound located at the convergence of two bayous which drained the territory.” Montgomery and Green immediately began to attract settlers to their proposition, recruiting extensively throughout the South.The growth of Mound Bayou was reflected in its dedication to the building of schools and churches, and other community organizations. Montgomery began quite early to provide for the education of the children. The current mayor of Mound Bayou is Rev. Daryl Johnson
Navassa was incorporated in 1977 but its history dates back to over a century prior to that point. The town was named after a large fertilizer factory that served as the largest employer in the area directly after the Civil War. Located directly outside of Wilimington and only a few miles inland from North Carolina’s coast, Navassa has a strong Gullah-Geechee presence within its community and is known to have lands of Gullah Geechee significance. The current population totals to approximately 1,900. Eulis A. Willis serves as the second and current mayor.
Originally known as Freedom Hill, Princeville was founded by former slaves at the close of the Civil War. Following the departure of Union soldiers, many of the freed slaves remained behind and thereafter settled this town. It was incorporated in 1885 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Princeville sits adjacent to the Tar River in Eastern NC, and because of this the town has experienced many floods over the years. However, the town population of just over 2,000 continue to be resilient and representative of African-American determination and perseverance. Bobbie Jones serves as the current mayor.
East Spencer, located in Rowan County North Carolina, is rich with the history of the Southern Railway. With the opening of the Spencer Shops in 1896, once Southern Railroad’s largest steam locomotive repair facility on the east coast, the little town grew rapidly and was incorporated in 1901. The population today is just over 1,500,and Barbara Mallet serves as mayor.
The City of Tuskegee proper covers approximately 16.0 square miles and includes a population of approximately 10,000 residents. The Tuskegee Veterans Administration Medical Center represents a major chapter in the national efforts of Black Americans to secure adequate health care. The significance of Tuskegee Institute itself, the Dr. George Washington Carver Museum, and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site are well known. However, the residents and administrators who followed Dr. Booker T. Washington became regional, national, and international leaders in movements for improvement in Black health care and agriculture. Former Mayor Johnny Ford a founding co-chair of the HBTSA. Tuskegee's current Mayor is Lawrence Haygood.