Florida African American Timeline
Juan las Canarias, a Black
sailor, serves on Christopher Columbus's flagship, the Santa Maria to the
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.
Juan Merion, a free African,
blacksmith came to St. Augustine from Havana.
1693 King Charles II of Spain issues a royal proclamation giving liberty to all runway in Florida who become practicing Catholics.
Merchants Isavel de los Rios,
a free Black woman and Captain Chrispin de Tapia, a free Black man testifies
in a court case
Fugitive slaves from Carolina
form a slave militia in St. Augustine. Two miles north of St. Augustine,
they build Fort Mose
1763 The French and Indian War ends and Florida becomes an English colony.
1790 The Spanish rescinds policy of religious sanctuary for fugitive slaves.
slaves from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama join the military campaign
of the Florida Seminoles
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.
Florida seceded from the
Union January 10. The next month, Florida representatives participate
in the formation of the
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.
Josiah T. Walls becomes Florida's first African American member of
the U.S. House of Representatives.
Eatonville a town in Orange
County, Florida, was one of the first all-black towns to be formed after
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College is founded to provide higher education to African Americans.
A. Philip Randolph is born
in Crescent City, Florida Randolph organizes the Brotherhood of Sleeping
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.
In January James Weldon Johnson writes the lyrics and his brother John
Rosamond Johnson composes the music
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.
Governor Askew appoints Joseph W. Hatchett of Pinellas County to the Supreme
Court, the first African-American justice
James, dies of a heart attack. He was the first African American
1994 Governor Lawton Chiles names former African American legislator, Doug Jamerson to be Commissioner of Education
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.