What is the name of the town that Jody and Janie moved to in Their Eyes Were Watching God?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The name of the town to which Jody and Janie moved is Eatonville, Florida.

Joe Starks is an ambitious black man who has "been workin' for white folks all his life".  He had always wanted to be "a big voice", but wherever he has gone, it is the white people who "had all the sayso".  Joe, who likes to be called Jody, has saved up some money, "round three hundred dollars".  He has heard about a place where they are "makin' a town all outa colored folks", and he knows that is where he wants to be.  He wants to "git dere whilst de town (is) yet a baby.  He meant to buy in big.  It had always been his wish and desire to be a big voice and he had to live nearly thirty years to find a chance".

When Jody and Janie arrive in the town, Jody asks, "Whut is de real name of de place?"  The men he is talking to respond,

"Some say West Maitland and some say Eatonville.  Dat's 'caus Cap'n Eaton give us some land along wid Mr. Laurence.  But Cap'n Eaton give de first piece".

Although the town is very small, only about fifty acres, when Jody and Jamie arrive, it soon begins to grow.  Jody plays a big part in this when he buys an additional two hundred acres from Captain Eaton with the money he has saved, and sells it off in lots to Negro families who want to settle there.   "Eatonville" is the name that sticks for this new town.  It is ironic that a town made "all outa colored folks" remains named after the white landowner who sold them the land (Chapter 5).

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