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. 
                   By1683, he opened his own forge, blacksmithing for the royal armorer and private citizens. 

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. 

1817-1818  Escaped slaves from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama join the military campaign of the Florida Seminoles
                   to keep their homelands. 

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. 

1868          Florida was readmitted to the Union with a new state constitution guaranteeing civil rights and giving blacks the right to vote.

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, Jonathan 
                  Gibbs and John Sunday of Pensacola.

1887          Eatonville a town in Orange County, Florida, was one of the first all-black towns to be formed after the Emancipation
                  Proclamation in 1863 and, on August 15, 1887, was the first such town to be incorporated

                  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. 

                  Florida becomes the first state to use the poll tax to disenfranchise black voters. 

1889-1893  Charles F. Dupont as the state's first elected black sheriff.

1900          In January James Weldon Johnson writes the lyrics and his brother John Rosamond Johnson composes the music 
                  for Lift Every Voice and Sing in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida in celebration of the birthday of Abraham 
                  Lincoln. The song is eventually adopted as the black national anthem.

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          Governor Askew appoints Joseph W. Hatchett of Pinellas County to the Supreme Court, the first African-American justice 
                  in the court's history. 

1978          Daniel "Chappie" James,  dies of a heart attack. He was the first African American four-star general.
                  His childhood home was closed to Pensacola Naval Air Station and he dreamed of becoming an aviator.

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

 

Bibliography

African American History Timeline: 1800 - 1900

African American History Guide

Timeline of Black History  years 743 - 2011
 

Colburn,  David R. and Jane Landers. The African American Heritage of Florida.  Gainesville : University Press of Florida, 1995. 

Deagan, Katheen A. Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom. Gainesville : University Press of Florida, 1995. 

Hornsby, Jr., Alton. Chronology of Afirnca American History, Second Edition. Detroit: Gale Research, 1997. 

Jones, Maxine Deloris and Kevin M. McCarthy. African Americans in Florida.  Sarasota, Fla. : Pineapple Press, 1993. 

Landers, Jane.  Black Society in Spanish Florida.  Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1999. 

Smith, Jessie Carney. Black Firsts. Detroit: Gale Reserach, 1994.