St Augustine, the sleepy little southern town, is in a burst of activity related to the 450th Anniversary of the city and the 500th Anniversary of the State of Florida.
Coincidentally, and coming on the heels of the 6th Annual Underground Railroad Conference, Dr. Louis Gates visited St Augustine and Fort Mose to undertake filming of a PBS African American Series, set to air later this year.
The series tells the story of how many African American families earned their independence and freedom; escaping slavery through the Underground Railroad by heading south to Spanish Florida.
Derek Boyd Hankerson, was one of a number of persons interviewed for the series which highlights the contributions of Africans Americans — from early American History up through President Obama.
“I am delighted and humbled to have been blessed with the opportunity to share the story of my family; and share it correctly,” Hankerson told Historic City News. When asked what he thought of Dr Gates, he commented, “He is a class act”.
Hankerson said he and his family have been waiting to share the story of the Red and Black Alliance in Spanish Florida for 37 years; since he was a ten year old kid.
“We won our freedom 300 years prior to the Civil Rights Act,” Hankerson said.