FLAfrican-American Roots Project

African-American Timeline

Florida African American Timeline*

1492          Juan las Canarias, a Black sailor, serves on Christopher Columbus's flagship,
                     the Santa Maria to the New World.

1527           Estevanico, an African slave, accompanies Andres de Dorants on an expedition
                     to conquer Florida.

1540           A free African Spaniard serves as the interpreter on Coronados' expedition through
                    southwest North America.

1675           Juan Merion, a free African, blacksmith came to St. Augustine from Havana. By
                    1683, he opened his own forge, blacksmithing for the royal armorer and private

1693            King Charles II of Spain issues a royal proclamation giving  liberty to all
                     runway in Florida who become practicing Catholics.

1695          Merchants Isavel de los Rios, a free Black woman and Captain
                   Chrispin de Tapia, a free Black man testifies in a court case
                    against several Apalachee Native Americans had given them
                    counterfeit money.

1738           Fugitive slaves from Carolina form a slave militia in St. Augustine. Two miles
                     north of St. Augustine, they build  Fort Mose and a small town.

1763           The French and Indian War ends and Florida becomes an English colony.

1790           The Spanish rescinds policy of religious sanctuary for fugitive slaves.

1830           In Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties, slaves and  free Blacks comprised 52
                     percent of the population.

1845           Florida becomes the twenty-seventh state in the United States.

1856           T. Thomas Fortune was born a slave in Marianna, Florida. Fortune later
                     founds the newspaper New Age.

1861           Florida seceded from the Union January 10. The next  month, Florida
                     representatives participate in the formation of the Confederate States.

1865          The U.S. Congress established the Freedmen's Bureau  to aid African Americans.

1870           Josiah T. Walls becomes Florida's first African American  member of the U.S. House
                    of Representatives. Others African Americans politicians in Florida are John Wallace,
                    Henry Harmon, Charles Pearce, Robert Meachem, and Jonathan Gibbs.

1883           Eatonville is the first all African American incorporated town.

1887           Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College is founded to provide higher education
                    to African Americans.

1889           A. Philip Randolph is born in Crescent City, Florida Randolph organizes
                    the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, an African American AFL union.

1903           Author Zora Neale Hurston is born in Eatonville, Florida.

1904         Mary McLeod Bethune founds the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Girls.

1923           The first week of January a race riot erupts in Rosewood.

1934          William (Bill) De Kova White, the first African American president of the
                    National Baseball League was born in Lakewood.

1958          Blanche Calloway is the first African American woman to vote in Miami.

1968           Joe Lang Kershaw becomes the first African American elected
                    to the Florida legislature in this century.

1975           Joseph W. Hatchett of Pinellas County takes the bench as Florida's first
                    African American Supreme Court Justice.

1978           Daniel " Chappie" James, dies of a heart attack. He was the first African American
                    four-star general.

1994         Governor Lawton Chiles names former African American legislator, Doug Jamerson
                   to be  Commissioner of Education

* Bibliography


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