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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Constructions of race Spanish Florida
In Response To: Re: Constructions of race ()

H Denise:

I shared your posting with some friends. They were not only impressed with your forthcoming lectures but also your multi-cultural scholarship. You've got a growing list of fans in New York and France!

Your response concerning Florida (and other Gulf Coast states) as continued historical links to the Caribbean inspired me to do another search in the Florida archives.

Because the search results are too long to to cut and paste, if you click again on the url below, it will take you to the main Cross Collections databases. This is a more direct way to search. Just click on the Florida Collection. When the page comes up. Just check the boxes for Florida Heritage Collection and the Florida Historic Legal Documents. Then enter your search term.

Sorry for all these instructions, but the search engine will give you more "drilled down" or specific topic results such as family name, places, Florida, New Orleans. Florida A & M (including the Caribbean)

I suggested the above since I found many citations for "Grace Real de Santa Teresa de Mose", better known as Fort Mose. Fort Mose supports your reference to links in the Caribbean. There has been so much mis-information about Fort Mose and its people and history. The biggest flawed description is of Blacks (always noble warriors) living in chaotic romantic squalor in the Everglades. (Wrong)

The latest is that "Grace Real de Santa Teresa de Mose" ca. 1738, was part of the Underground Railroad. (Wrong Again)

Historian Jane Landers writes, "Governor Montiano restated the crown's offer of freedom to escaped slaves from the English colonies in a Bando issued in 1738, and in the same year he established a settlement for the fugitives, called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, about onehalf league north of St. Augustine. He provisioned the settlement and assigned Don Joseph de Le_n to instruct the new residents in Christian doctrine and Sebasti_n S_nchez to teach them to farm. Montiano reported that twenty-three men, women, and children had arrived from Port Royal on November 21, 1738, and had been sent to live in Mose.20 These may have been part of the group of nineteen slaves belonging to Captain Caleb Davis and "50 other slaves belonging to other persons inhabiting about Port Royal" that "ran away to the Castle of St. Augustine" in November 1738. Captain Davis attempted to recover his slaves in St. Augustine, but the Spanish blocked his efforts, and he later reported that the blacks laughed at him." (Poor Captain Davis LOL)

The article mentions the names its first settlers. "In this correspondence, Navarrete reported the baptism of fourteen fugitive slaves living at Mose listing the names as follows: francisco Xavier, Rosa Xaviera, Juan Josseph, Juan Manuel, Antonio Josseph, Ana francisca, franco Xavier, otro franco Xavier, Maria de Loretto, Micaela, francisco" (Landers)

As for immigration to and from the Caribbean, Landers says "Mose survived through the first Spanish period, but when the Spanish left Florida at the end of the Seven Years' War, the Mose residents went with them. Evacuation statistics vary as to whether seventy-nine or ninety-nine free blacks sailed out of East Florida to resettle in Havana, but there is no record that any chose to stay behind."

At the end of the Second Spanish interlude in 1821, when Spain handed over Florida to the Americans many free and enslaved fled with them to Cuba or to other islands. These people of color knew better than to stick around and wait for the Americans to ruin them and the neighborhood. History proved them right.

So if you find any of my ancestors in Cuba or St. Domingue, please let me know.


K Wyer Lane

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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