On March 19, 2016, travel back in time and witness the founding of Florida’s “Fortress of Freedom” – Fort Mose. In March 1738, Don Manuel de Montiano y Luyando, royal governor of Florida, established the fortified village of El Pueblo de Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose – the first, legally sanctioned free black settlement in the continental U.S. – just north of the walled city of St. Augustine.
Montiano also named a former slave, Capitán Francisco Menendez, head of Florida’s African militia since 1726, as the community’s leader or “Chief.”
In conjunction with the Florida Department of State’s “Florida Heritage Month”, Florida Living History, Inc. will commemorate this important date in American history with the re-enactment of Gobernador Montiano reading his proclamation to the people of San Agustín and future residents of Fort Mose, as well as naming Capitán Menendez as the settlement’s leader.
This heritage Event will also feature colonial Spanish military drills and period foodways demonstrations in the park’s palm-thatched choza.
From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., join Florida Living History, Fort Mose Historic State Park, the Fort Mose Historical Society, and other volunteers in this heritage Event commemorating the 278th anniversary of the establishment of this bastion of freedom.
At 2:00 p.m., Florida Living History, Inc., will present The Discovery and Public Impact of Fort Mose, a lecture by Darcie MacMahon of the Florida Museum of Natural History, in the Fort Mose Historic State Park classroom. MacMahon participated in the initial archaeological excavations of the Fort Mose site and co-authored, with Dr. Kathleen Deagan, the book, Fort Mose: Colonial America’s Black Fortress of Freedom.
Admission to this lecture is free of charge.
In addition, copies of the following documents will be on display:
• King Carlos II of Spain’s 1693 proclamation granting freedom to black refugees fleeing from the tyranny of English slavery in the Carolinas and Georgia to liberty in Spanish Florida;
• Governor Montiano’s 1740 letter to King Felipe V of Spain, discussing his establishment of Fort Mose and the role the free black militia played in the defense of St. Augustine during the 1740 British invasion of Spanish Florida.
These milestones of American liberty will be accompanied by new English translations supplied to Florida Living History by Dr. James Cusick, Curator of the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History at the University of Florida.
There is a Museum admission fee of $2.00 per adult; children (age 5 and younger) are free. The U.S. National Park Service has named the annual Flight to Freedom heritage Event as a Member Program of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Financial support for this Event is provided, in part, by the Florida Humanities Council the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, by the Fort Mose Historical Society, and by the continued generosity of Florida Living History’s donors. For more information on the 3rd annual Founding of Fort Mose heritage Event, please contact: Dr. Richard Shortlidge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2009, Florida Living History, Inc. is a community based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization of volunteers dedicated to educating the public about Florida’s colonial and territorial history, using living-history programs, demonstrations, and recreated portrayals of significant historical events. For more information on Florida Living History, Inc., please follow us on Facebook