Join our park partners for the virtual Kingsley Heritage Celebration with a very special presentation

Kingsley Plantation – Photograph by Will Dickey

Timucuan Parks Foundation encourages you to log on for the Kingsley Heritage Celebration to celebrate African heritage and remember the enslaved that lived at Kingsley Plantation located within Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (TIMU). The second part of the virtual event gets underway tomorrow, Saturday, February 27, at 10 a.m. and this year, the National Park Service has partnered with another local nonprofit for a very special presentation. The Groundwork Jacksonville Green Team Youth Corps’ animation project titled “The 400 Project – Honoring the Enslaved Voices of Kingsley Plantation” will play during the event which can be seen on TIMU’s Facebook page and webpage.

Ada Morgan, Akili Colson, and Jayah Peoples

The teens utilized their creativity to tell the story of Kingsley Plantation through the voices of six individuals who were enslaved there. They wrote and recorded the simulated radio shows – one featuring mock interviews with historic African Americans who were enslaved at Kingsley Plantation and the other, a radio variety show, featuring music, poetry, and interviews. The Green Team then worked with young artists from JAMS to animate the radio programs.

You will get to know Abraham Hannahan, who was enslaved as a child, deeded to Zephaniah Kingsley and eventually freed. Hannahan went on to became a prosperous Haitian businessman. You will learn about Carpenter Bill, Esther, Hannah, and others. You will also be treated to an original song that tells the story of the folk hero, Couter “Gullah” Jack Pritchard.

Akili Colson, Bertram Alford, Erin Kendrick, and Zach Israel

Each year, we partner with Groundwork Jacksonville for their Green Team Youth Corps program which mentors and trains more than 20 teens to implement a variety of environmental remediation and conservation projects in their community. We work with our park partners, including TIMU, the city, and the state to introduce the group to Jacksonville’s “wilderness” parks, where the youth can engage in healthy outdoor recreation and service-learning projects.

This year, in coordination with Groundwork Jacksonville, the National Park Service and Jacksonville Arts and Music School (JAMS), we developed this project for the teens to tell the story of Kingsley Plantation. The Groundwork teens worked with TIMU rangers, Jacksonville Public Library staff and gained special insight on Kingsley’s heritage from descendant Peri Frances Betsch to create their two-part project to commemorate 400 years since Africans were brought to the English colonies to be enslaved. The first part aired during last week’s Kingsley Heritage Celebration and can be seen here on the TIMU webpage.

To join the Kingsley Heritage Celebration, visit TIMU’s Facebook page at facebook.com/TimucuanPreserveNPS or nps.gov/timu this Saturday starting at 10 a.m. Interviews with park rangers will air every half hour and the finale of the event will be part two of the 400 project.

Timucuan Parks Foundation secured grants that helped fund the summer program and the audio-visual project, including funding from the 400 Years of African American History Commission, the National Environmental Education Foundation, and a National Park Service Challenge Grant. We thank them for the contributions and hope you enjoy the virtual Kingsley Heritage Celebration.