At the regular meeting of the St Augustine City Commission Monday night, Historic City News reporters listened as a delegation from the Haitian American Historical Society, submitted a proposal to erect, at their expense, a monument paying tribute to Florida’s first Black General; the Black Caudillo, Jorge Biassou.
If approved, delegation members, led by Daniel Fils-Aimé and including Dr. Yves Renaud, told commissioners that they would like to hold the Biassou Monument inauguration during the Spanish Bicentennial this year. On July 14th, Biassou was killed by Seminole Indians. A funeral service was held for Biassou in the Cathedral Basilica; the General was buried in the Tolomato Cemetery on Cordova Street in St Augustine.
Alejandra Barbot unveiled a maquete of the monument for the commissioners; designed by architect Derrick Wendell Smith. The actual statue will be molded in Haiti by students at the Academie des Beaux Arts under the direction of famed sculptor Ludovic Booz — then it will be shipped to St Augustine through the port of Jacksonville.
In the design presented, the Biassou monument will sit on a granite base 3’6″ tall; the statue head-height is 7′ and the statue raised arm height is 3’1.
Commissioner Errol D. Jones sponsored the fifteen-minute presentation by the Haitian American Historical Society. Also included was a proposal that business leaders and city officials from St Augustine and Jacksonville plan a fact-finding trip from March 28-30, 2012, to look at investment opportunities in Haiti. The delegation is hoping that city commission members are willing to commit to play a major role in the redevelopment going on in Haiti.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News contributed photograph by Derek Boyd Hankerson