• The “Race Colony:” An Architectural Threshold to the Realization of Freedom
    Beatriz A. Santos

City Council and jail, Eatonville, Fla., 1907. Photograph. Courtesy the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The “race colony” translates oppression into the realization of true freedom. After the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans inherently struggled to integrate into a societal structure entrenched in racism. As a product of rejection, African American communities built the race colony, an independent settlement that enables an oppressed group to exercise full citizenship rights. Established in 1887, Eatonville, Florida—“the town that freedom built”—was the first incorporated African American municipality in the nation. Its significance serves as a case study for race colonies as the genesis of a major transformation in American urbanism. This research documents the evolution of Eatonville and distills the elements that characterize its urban typology. The project furthers the premise that these settlements shaped an exceptional legacy of upheaval and independence for the American urban landscape.

Beatriz A. Santos is a Honduran-born architectural designer based in Orlando, Florida. Her research interests include investigating discernible overlays commonly disregarded between architecture and social dimensions. She received a master’s of architecture from the University of Miami and a bachelor’s of design from the University of Florida.