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Exhibit explores America’s first free black community PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 June 2007
fortmosewoman.JPGDELRAY BEACH – The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum will host an exhibit that explores the history of Fort Mose, America’s first legally sanctioned free black community.

“Fort Mose: Colonial America’s Black Fortress of Freedom” is a traveling exhibit from the Florida Museum of Natural History. It will be at the Spady Museum, 170 NW 5th Ave. in Delray Beach, from July 12 to Sept. 22.

 Based on five years of historical and archaeological research at Mose and in Spain, the 500-square-foot exhibit also explores the African-American colonial experience in the Spanish colonies, from the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the time of the American Revolution.

This is a little-known story, and one that offers a powerful alternative image to slavery as the dominant theme in African-American history.

Escaped slaves from English Carolina who were granted their freedom in Spanish St. Augustine established Fort Mose in 1738. The men were made members of the Spanish militia, and the fort served as Florida’s first line of defense against the English to the north.

These black militias became an important source of defense as early as the 16th century. The Mose militia served in a number of significant battles. The fort was abandoned in 1763, when Spain gave Florida to England, and the entire colony moved to Cuba.

The community of Fort Mose stands as a unique monument to the courageous African Americans who risked, and often lost, their lives in the long struggle to achieve freedom.

artifacts.JPGFor more than 150 years, Fort Mose was buried from history on a remote island in the Florida marsh. It has required the combined efforts of many different scientists, historians, and legislators to rediscover Fort Mose and bring to light a long-lost and little-known chapter of our colonial past.

The Spady Museum will offer several children's programs and activities during the exhibition.
The museum on Northwest Fifth Avenue in downtown Delray Beach, one-and-a-half blocks north of Atlantic Avenue.

Established in 2001, the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is housed in a two-story residence originally built in 1926 and home to the late Solomon D. Spady, a prominent local educator and community leader from 1922 to 1957. Utilizing exhibits and artwork, the museum has served as a source of information for people wanting to know more about the city's early black history and culture.

For more information please call the museum at 561-279-8883 or visit the website at spadymuseum.org.
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