EDITED VERSION PUBLISHED SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2011
The first slaves in the territory that we now regard as the United States were not brought to Virginia in 1619. That happened 54 years earlier, when our nation’s oldest European-founded City, St. Augustine, Fla., was founded by Spain’s Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on September 8, 1565. Menéndez’s contract with King Phillip afforded him three years to import 500 African slaves.
St. Augustine, Fla., e-mail
LONGER VERSION SENT ON APRIL 4, 2011
Thank you for “How Slavery Ended in America” (April 3, 2011). One small correction: America’s first African slaves were not brought to Virginia in 1619. That happened 54 years earlier, when our Nation’s oldest European-founded City, St. Augustine, Florida was founded by Spain’s Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on September 8, 1565 – nearly 446 years ago. Menéndez brought slaves here. Menéndez’s contract with King Phillip afforded him three years to import 500 African slaves.
Under Spanish rule, St. Augustine was home to America’s first free black settlement (Fort Mosé, 1733) – America's First Underground Railroad ran South.
Our Lincolnville neighborhood was founded by freed slaves in 1866. Segregationists’ vicious oppression of local activists, led by Revs. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Andrew Young, helped LBJ break a Senate filibuster and enact the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
In 2014, St. Augustine will observe the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Plans are afoot for monuments to honor local activists and Rev. Young (he will be here for the dedication is June 4, 2011). Local residents are working to establish a National Civil Rights Museum and a St. Augustine National Historical Park, Seashore and Scenic Coastal Parkway. www.staugustgreen.com
Judith Seraphin, President
Lincolnville Neighborhood Association
102 South Street
St. Augustine, Florida 32084