Timucuan Parks Foundation has received a Florida Humanities Grant to support historic speaker series

The series will commemorate the 400th Anniversary of enslaved Africans in English-occupied North America

Timucuan Parks Foundation, in conjunction with the National Park Service, is pleased to announce they have received a grant from Florida Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The $5,000 grant will be used to support programming and events to mark the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans being forcibly brought to English-occupied North America. The events are designed to look at slavery’s instrumental role in the development of the United States and how it affects today’s society.

“The speakers series put together by our national park partners will showcase how slavery was developed and will also honor the skill and craftsmanship of the enslaved,” said Felicia Boyd, program and outreach director for Timucuan Parks Foundation. “The series will start with an event at Kingsley Plantation, which is rich with African American history and one of only a few local historic sites that address slavery’s role in our country. We thank Florida Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities for their support.”

The Kingsley Heritage Celebration will kick off the series on Saturday, Feb. 15. with Dr. Johnnetta Cole as the featured speaker. Cole is an author, anthropologist and educator who served as the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and was the first African American female president of Spellman College. The event will include performances by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, led by Griffin Lotson. Lotson has traced his family history to Gullah and Geechee people back seven generations and produces performances based on historical dance compositions. The Kingsley Heritage Celebration continues the next Saturday, Feb. 22, with living history stations scattered throughout the Kingsley Plantation grounds that feature spinning, cooking and other skills and trades.

As part of the speaker series to commemorate the 400th anniversary, Dr. Anthony Dixon will present “The African Diaspora Experience in Florida,” an examination of Florida’s relationship with African descendants from 1513 to the present. Dixon, the founder and president of Archival and Historical Research Associates, LLC., is a field director for the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network and an adjunct professor of history at Florida A&M University. Dr. Dixon will be speaking at the University Branch library on Monday, March 30.

All events are free and open to the public. More information on each event and other activities associated with the 400th anniversary can be found on our calendar or by calling the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve at (904) 251-3537.