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New bill could derail plans for African American history museum in Eatonville

EATONVILLE, Fla. — It is one of the oldest black municipalities in the country, and soon Eatonville could be home to the state’s African American History Museum.

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But a local senator says a new bill is trying to derail that plan before the town can make its case.

In 2023, the Florida Museum of Black History task force was created with plans to recreate a state museum honoring Florida’s black history.

Six months later, Senator Danny Burgess filed the Historical Preservation Programs bill.

It creates a network of museums that can receive funding, possibly creating issues for the black history museum.

Senator Geraldine Thompson is a member of the task force, and said this new bill will negate the six months of work.

Read: Eatonville could soon be home to a state Black history museum

“(It) signals to all these individuals we have involved in this process,” she said. “That Florida is the optics are retreating from the establishment of the Florida black history museum.”

Shaniqua Shan Rose is leading the project for the town of Eatonville.

“What we’re doing is making sure we meet our due vigilance,” Rose said.  “We’re collaborating with every entity to ensure that we bring the museum here.”

Read: Eatonville is looking for an artist for this local project

In remarks, Senator Burgess defended his bill, maintaining it will not interfere with plans already in place.

“This bill is simply seeking to put parameters around what the state currently can do with them I don’t see it as a conflict,” Burgess said.

The task force was expected to make its recommendation for the governor by the end of June.

But a decision on the bill must be made by Friday because that is when the legislative session ends.

Channel 9 spoke to representative Bruce Antone, who proposed the Florida Museum of Black History. He said he’s hoping to secure 30 million from the legislature by the end of the week.

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