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Fort Mose has been labeled as the very first black settlement in America. The area was formed in 1726 and was nestled two miles north of St. Augustine, Fla. By 1738, Fort Mose consisted of 38 freed escaped black slaves, most with their families.

The Fort was protected by armed black men, the black militia, who were led by Francisco Menendez. Menendez was a 17th century Mandinga from West Africa and an escaped slave himself. He had been captured in South Carolina until 1715.

Fort Mose was known as the first “promised land” for slaves. Since 1687, slaves who escaped to Florida simply had to profess that they believed in Roman Catholicism for freedom.

The life of a slave on Fort Mose served as a precursor to the Stone Rebellion in 1739. Twenty slaves sparked the revolt by killing two store clerks. Sixty people were killed in action, including 20 whites. The next revolt would take place at Ashley River. The bloody battle ended with the capturing and hanging of fifty slaves.

As word spread about Fort Mose and the freedom of the black militia, the English intervened and attacked the settlement in 1740. Though the Native Americans had joined forces with Mose, they overthrew the black army of men and Fort Mose was destroyed. Francisco Menendez was captured and sent back to slavery.

It was not until 1752 when the Spanish rebuilt Fort Mose that it was re-opened. A newly escaped Menendez took his position as captain, and once again, led the new settlers of Fort Mose. In 1763, Menendez loaded 48 freed slaves on the Our Lady of Sorrows ship headed to Cuba, where they settled in a town near Havana.

The settlement known as Fort Mose is now a historical landmark.

Also On Black America Web:
The Ten Most Interesting Little Known Black History Facts
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7 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Fort Mose

  1. daisey rigo on said:

    before I saw the bank draft 4 $4265, I accept that…my… friend trully bringing in money part time from there new laptop.. there aunts neighbour started doing this 4 less than 20 months and at present cleard the mortgage on there appartment and bourt a great Volkswagen Golf GTI. we looked here……… Bit40.ℂOℳ

  2. Angela on said:

    The Fort Mose Historical Society has worked since 1995 to make the site accessible to the public and widely known as the first legally sanctioned free community of ex-slaves, and the original focal point of the first Underground Railroad.

    (You’re right Jeanne, I’m here in Jacksonville and never heard of this story – right down the road in Saint Augustine. Wow!)

    • Jeanne on said:

      Amen, Angela. It’s makes me sick to my stomach that Black American History is swept under the rug and ignored. The idea that such a great story of strength and the human well to survive and live free may never been told because it might upset some stupid prejudice racist white people who feel that uplifting Black History is Anti-White History. History is history and what people did can’t be changed. Maybe Whites will begin to understand what they are doing now will be History some day.

      As Black Americans we are forced to hear their stories over and over again, the same freaking stories in Literature, TV, Movies, even in our text books but our own is to be forgotten?!?! If people like Spike Lee really want to be relevant he needs to stop throwing mud at others who are presenting Black stories and get busy presenting his own. First stop… stories like this one.

  3. Angela on said:

    Francisco Menendez was a slave, escapes, defends his fort, Kills some people, put back into slavery, and when the smart butt white people rebuild the fort – Menendez escapes again and goes back to the fort to take place as CAPTAIN and run the fort again!!!
    Want to see this on the screen!!
    But who would play him? (Michael Clarke Duncan is gone)

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