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Sat, 08.24.1918

Augusta E. Dinkins born

Augusta Dinkins

*The birth of Augusta Dinkins is celebrated on this date 1918.  She was a Black administrator, and community activist. 

Ella Augusta Johnson Dinkins was born in Orlando, Florida and arrived in Eatonville, Fl. in 1930. Her father, an architect, relocated his family to the small Black town after losing everything in the Great Depression. The bedroom community, founded by freed slaves in 1887, represented a chance for the Dinkins and others to begin anew. Dinkins' father helped build the town's first elementary school. er mother, who was a student of W.E.B Du Bois, was a town matriarch. They were symbols of Black excellence and autonomy, and Dinkins carried that torch. 

She sold penny insurance policies to Black families when white companies would not. She raised money to buy the first incubators for Black babies in the segregated hospital. All 80 years that Dinkins could participate in voting, she did.  The Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities was one of Dinkins' biggest contributions to Eatonville.  "What we have done over the past 30 years is really build the story of cultural heritage tourism," N. Y. Nathiri (her daughter) said. "See, it was my mother who really helped to bring this to my attention." 

Dinkins spent her final years advocating for the inclusion of historic Black towns and settlements in state, national, and international conversations about cultural preservation. She traveled to conferences on her own budget serving as an informal town ambassador and welcoming delegations from other regions, including continental Africa.  Ella Dinkins, the oldest resident of Eatonville, Fla., one of the oldest Black incorporated towns died on November 29, 2020 at home in her sleep or, as town residents put it, "on her own terms." She was 102. 

Dinkins' wake drew people from across central Florida. They shared stories with a common thread:  "That she expected a high standard of everyone with whom she worked because she wanted them to be the best that they could be," Nathiri says. 

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A closed window looks down on a dirty courtyard, and black people call across or scream across or walk across defying physics in the stream of their will. Our world... KA ‘BA by Amiri Baraka.
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