ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida., December 15, 2021 – St. Augustine, the birthplace of African American history, will host a series of culturally enriching and educational events to celebrate Black history month. The inaugural Fort Mose Jazz & Blues Series will be held at the site of the first free Black settlement in what is now the United States. St. Augustine’s other historic sites will tell important stories about the enslaved and freed Black Americans who spent time in the city, through special tours, making the city the ideal destination this February.
“From a free black community in the Spanish colonial era to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, St. Augustine is the birthplace of African American history,” says Christina Parrish Stone, executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council. “We hope visitors will choose to join us as we celebrate history, freedom and creativity, and learn about our lesser-known chapters of African American history this February.”
Discover Fort Mose Jazz and Blues Series, Feb. 11-25, 2022
Over three weekends, world-class jazz and blues artists will perform at Fort Mose Historic State Park, the site of the first legally sanctioned, free African settlement in what is now the United States. The event, presented by the St. Johns Cultural Council Events Division, will honor both the rich history of American music and the legacy of the historic site that is a National Historic Landmark and a precursor site of the National Underground Railroad Network. Proceeds from this event will support the construction of an on-site fort representation and the development of interpretive resources. The original fort was destroyed during the Battle of Bloody Mose in 1740. The lineup includes:
Christian McBride, Saturday, February 12
Count Basie Orchestra, Friday, February 18
Amythyst Kiah, Saturday, February 19
Gregory Porter, Thursday, February 24
Tank and the Bangas, Friday, February 25
For more information, visit discoverfortmose.com.
“I Lived Here, As Well” Tours at Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, Feb. 1-28
The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, a 220+-year-old boarding house, will host tours highlighting the experience of the African-descended people who were enslaved or working as servants at this house. The “I Lived Here, As Well” tours will be told by the people who may have spent their entire lives at the boarding house, yet never used the front door. Guests will be introduced to several people whose paths were restricted because of the color of their skin. Some are free. Some are enslaved, yet hopeful. Some see no silver lining to their dire circumstances. This is not simply a historic home tour; it is a journey through nearly 100 years of African American history in 19th-century St. Augustine. The tour will be open to the public, led by costumed historical actors and lasts approximately 60 minutes. The program will include stories and accounts not heard during the traditional museum tour, and guests will also have access to the newly opened African American exhibit. For more information, visit www.ximenezfatiohouse.org/ilhaw.
Tours of the ACCORD Civil Rights Museum with Historian David Nolan, Feb. 12, 19 & 26
Local historian David Nolan will be conducting limited tours of the ACCORD Civil Rights Museum, the first civil rights museum in Florida, on select dates. These unforgettable tours will disclose the stories of the unsung heroes of the local 1960s civil rights movement, including artifacts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s stay in St. Augustine in the 1960s. Tours are limited to 35 persons. Tours are free, but donations are welcomed. RSVPs are required and should be made by emailing email@example.com.
Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center is an African American history museum located in the Lincolnville neighborhood of Saint Augustine. The neighborhood, spanning 45 blocks on the southwest peninsula of St. Augustine, was established by freedmen after the Civil War. Lincolnville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and played a major role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The museum is housed in the historic Excelsior School Building, which served as the first public Black high school in St. Johns County in 1925. For more information, visitwww.lincolnvillemuseum.org.
The ACCORD Freedom Trail is a self-guided walking tour made up of 31 historic civil rights markers throughout the community that tell the story of how St. Augustine became the final thrust for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For more information, visit www.accordfreedomtrail.org.
These events are sponsored by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and the St. Johns Cultural Council, which promotes arts, culture and heritage activities and events in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the beaches.
For more information about Black history in St. Augustine, visit the St. Johns Cultural Council’s website: www.historiccoastculture.com.
About St. Johns Cultural Council
In partnership with the cultural community on Florida’s Historic Coast, the St. Johns Cultural Council promotes arts, culture and heritage activities and events in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the beaches. St. Johns County offers more than 450 years of history to explore. As America’s oldest city, St. Augustine’s historic sites are plentiful including the iconic fort, museums and many attractions which offer reenacted history. Experience the city’s renowned culture while strolling past charming homes on brick-paved streets that serve as an authentic reminder of a by-gone era. For more information about the cultural assets in St. Johns County, visit www.historiccoastculture.com.