Presence / Erasure: Black History in St. Augustine | Reading List

Over 450 years of Black history fill the streets of St. Augustine. From the city’s origins in 1565, Black men and women built their lives on the shores of the Matanzas River. The names of their children and grandchildren fill local Catholic parish records as early as the 1590s. Their sweat, skill, and resilience contributed to the construction of a city and state. Yet, the changing tides of history,colonial powers, and racial prejudices buried many of their stories.

Our exhibit Presence / Erasure: Black History in St. Augustine on display in Smathers Gallery at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries (July 15 – September 16, 2022) and Governor’s House Cultural Center & Museum (February 1 – May 1, 2023) cannot convey the full depth of Black history in St. Augustine over a few labels. The experiences of Black St. Augustinians are vast and expansive, with many layers. It extends into art, culture, lifestyle, gender, and each person – past and present. It is a necessary part of U.S. history, as Black St. Augustinians have and continue to contribute to shaping this land and nation.

We encourage you to continue growing your own understanding and knowledge about Black experiences and culture in the United States with us. Bellow you will find a selection of titles, featuring historical events and figures that shaped St. Augustine, all available through the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries:

1500s – 1700s

  • "Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions" by Jane Landers (2010)
  • "Black Society in Spanish Florida" by Jane Landers (1999)
  • "Copper Sun" by Sharon M. Draper (2006)
  • "Fort Mose : And The Story Of The Man Who Built The First Free Black Settlement In Colonial America" by Glennette Tilley Turner (2010)
  • "Fort Mose : Colonial America's Black Fortress Of Freedom" by Kathleen A. Deagan and Darcie A. MacMahon (1995)
  • "Freedom Roads: Searching for the Underground Railroad" by Joyce Hansen, Gary McGowan, and James Ransom (2003)
  • "Spanish St. Augustine: The Archaeology of a Colonial Creole Community" by Kathleen Deagan (1983)
  1. Atlantic Creoles In The Age Of Revolutions by Jane Landers (2010)
  2. Black Society In Spanish Florida by Jane Landers (1999)
  3. Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper (2006)
  4. Fort Mose: And The Story Of the Man Who Built The First Free Black Settlement In Colonial America by Glennette Tilley Turner (2010)
  5. Fort Mose: Colonial America’s Black Fortress Of Freedom by Kathleen A. Deagan and Darcie A. MacMahon (1995)
  6. Freedom Roads: Searching For The Underground Railroad by Joyce Hansen, Gary McGowan, and James Ransom (2003)
  7. Spanish St. Augustine: The Archaeology Of A Colonial Creole Community by Kathleen Deagan (1983)

1800s-1900s

  • "Frank B. Butler : Lincolnville Businessman And Founder Of St. Augustine, Florida's Historic Black Beach" by Barbara Hunter Walch (1992)
  • "Dust Tracks On A Road" by Zora Neale Hurston (1942)
  • "If It Takes All Summer : Martin Luther King, The KKK, And States' Rights In St. Augustine, 1964" by Dan R. Warren (2008)
  • "Lincolnville : A Sketchbook Journal Of St. Augustine's Historic Neighborhood" by Rosamond Parrish, illustrated by Carrie Johnson (2012)
  • "The Odyssey Of An African Slave" by Sitiki, edited by Patricia C. Griffin (2009)
  • "Racial Change And Community Crisis : St. Augustine, Florida, 1877-1980" by David R. Colburn (1991)
  1. Frank B. Butler: Lincolnville Businessman And Founder Of St. Augustine, Florida’s Historic Black Beach by Barbara Hunter Walch (1992)
  2. Dust Tracks On A Road by Zora Neale Hurston (1942)
  3. The Heroic Stories Of The St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Whose Brave Struggle For Justice Helped Pass The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 by David Nolan (2012)
  4. If It Takes All Summer: Martin Luther King, The KKK, And States’ Rights In St. Augustine, 1964 by Dan R. Warren (2008)
  5. Lincolnville: A Sketchbook Journal Of St. Augustine’s Historic Neighborhood by Rosamond Parrish, illustrated by Carrie Johnson (2012)
  6. The Odyssey Of An African Slave by Sitiki, edited by Patricia C. Griffin (2009)
  7. Racial Change And Community Crisis : St. Augustine, Florida, 1877-1980 by David R. Colburn (1991)

Additional Books on Black Florida Experiences

  • "Africa in Florida: Five Hundred Years Of African Presence In The Sunshine State," edited by Amanda B. Carlson, Robin Poynor, and Michael Gannon (2014)
  • "The African American Heritage Of Florida," edited by David R. Colburn and Jane Landers (2017)
  • "Go Sound The Trumpet : Selections In Florida's African American History" by David H. Jackson, Jr. (2005)
  1. Africa In Florida: Five Hundred Years Of African Presence In The Sunshine State edited by Amanda B. Carlson, Robin Poynor, and Michael Gannon (2014)
  2. The African American Heritage Of Florida edited by David R. Colburn and Jane Landers (2017)
  3. Go Sound The Trumpet : Selections In Florida’s African American History by David H. Jackson, Jr. (2005)
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