The Mission of the Florida Black Historical Research Project Inc., is to research, collect, and disseminate knowledge of significant contributions Blacks have made in the State of Florida.
Historic Virginia Key Beach at Center of Local 400th Anniversary Remembrances
Did You Know?
• Africans were in the Americas centuries before Columbus and the “slave trade,” as shown by the research of scholars like Ivan van Sertima and Leo Weiner. Some evidence suggests an early African presence in Florida.
• Africans accompanied the first Spanish explorers and settlers of Florida, nearly a full century before the English settlement of Jamestown, Virginia.
• While the Southern colonies, and later Southern states of the U.S., were dominated by plantation slavery, Florida was Spanish territory and “Freedom Land” for Africans escaping enslavement and Native peoples escaping settler encroachment on their traditional lands.
• Pirates were known for exercising “complete integration and complete democracy.” Among the most legendary of pirates was Black Caesar, who operated in South Florida waters.
• The first invasion of a foreign country by the U.S. began with the incursions into Florida which became known as the Seminole wars.
• Both the words “Seminoles” and “Maroons” are derived from the Spanish word “cimarrones,” which was used for livestock which escaped into the wild. “Cimarrones” became “Siminoli” in the Creek Indian language, and then “Seminole” in English.
• “The Seminoles were a people, not a tribe,” consisting of numerous Native groups and Africans. Black Seminoles were especially valuable to the alliance as interpreters, since they knew both European and Native languages.
• The Seminole Wars were the costliest in U.S. history, in both money and bloodshed, until the Vietnam War.
• The main goal of the Seminole Wars was not only to “fight Indians” and to displace them west of the Mississippi River on the Trail of Tears, but equally importantly to "recapture the 'property' " of Southern slave owners and prevent further escapes of enslaved people.
• One of the most important sites of the Second Seminole War was the 1838 Loxahatchee River Battlefield in northern Palm Beach County, Florida, where Black and Native Seminoles, outnumbered and outgunned, fought bravely for their freedom, until they were captured by U.S. forces, dishonorably, under a flag of truce, and marched on the Trail of Tears to Tampa, shipped to Louisiana and east Texas, and marched to Oklahoma.
Website Photo Header Credit: Original photography and montage by Stephen Marc, depicting an Annual Spiritual Remembrance of the Loxahatchee Battlefield in Jupiter, Florida, a turning point in the "Seminole Wars." Prominently shown are the late Isa Hamm Bryant, founder of the FBHRP (in Seminole shirt), and Carib Tribal Queen Mrs. Catherine Hummingbird Ramirez, who has regularly performed the Opening Blessing and Prayer on these occasions.