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  • Writer's pictureNia Clark

S2 E1 290 Years Before the Rosewood Massacre



In order to understand how an incident such as the Rosewood Massacre could occur, it is important to understand the history of Africans and African Americans in Florida. In this episode St. Augustine Historical Society and University of North Florida Historian, Dr. Susan Parker, tackles the accuracy of how this history has been told by pointing out that, contrary to the popular belief that the year 1619 is the beginning of slavery in the what we know today as the U.S., as early as May 1616, blacks from the West Indies were working in Bermuda on the production of tobacco. Evidence suggests that scores of stolen Africans from the Spanish were aboard a fleet commanded by of Sir Francis Drake when he arrived at Roanoke Island in 1586. In 1526, enslaved Africans were part of a Spanish expedition to establish an outpost on the North American coast in present-day South Carolina. Dr. Susan Parker explains that this outpost was a short-lived Spanish settlement known as San Miguel de Gualdape lead by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon located probably on Sapelo Island, Ga., (near Darien). Dr. Parker takes a deep dive into the colonial history of Florida that was once under the ruled of Spain, France and Great Britain before becoming a territory of the U.S. in 1821. The treatment of Africans slaves and African American slaves varied by each colonial ruler. Nevertheless, Live as a slave in Florida was a brutal existence. Florida was the third state to secede from the Union and joined the South in a bid to form a slave republic. After the Union won the Civil War and slavery was abolished and Reconstruction ended, legislation was enacted to chip away at the gains African Americans made while Jim Crow acted as a form of terror and control that aimed to maintain the racial, social, political and economic norms established under slavery. 

In this episode, listeners will also hear from a descendant of Rosewood Survivors, Angela Goins as well as Sherry Sherrod DuPree. Mrs. DuPree has worked with the Rosewood Heritage Foundation for many years. She is an author, historian, archivist as well as a former instructor and librarian at the University of Florida and Santa Fe College.

The first Africans that came to settle came in 1526 to a small settlement called San Miguel de Gualdape, which was on one of the coastal islands of Georgia. And the settlement lasted six or seven weeks. Most of it because people got sick." ~St. Augustine Historical Society and University of North Florida Historian, Dr. Susan Parker

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Dr. Susan Parker

Musical attributions


Artist/Title: Axletree - Window Sparrows

Licenses: Attribution 4.0 International



Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)



Artist/Title: Youssoupha Sidibe - Xaleyi

Licenses: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US)


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