Washing Away History

More than 250 years ago, Fort Mose (pronounced “Moh-say”) in St. Augustine, Florida, became the first legally sanctioned free Black town in the present-day United States. Now a Historic State Park, it is a critically significant site for Black American history.

As part of the Resilience: Black History in St. Augustine project, Governor’s House Library partnered with the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida and the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center to host a two-part virtual panel series on Fort Mose. Recordings of these panel discussions are available below.

Washing Away History: Changing Tides at Fort Mose

On July 1, the first virtual panel event discussed the historical and cultural significance of Fort Mose, as well as the ways in which its interpretation and advocacy have impacted the site over time. Panelists for this discussion were:

  • Jane Landers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
  • Jane Mahoney, Executive Director, Fort Mose Historical Society
  • Darcie MacMahon, Director of Exhibits and Public Programs, Florida Museum of Natural History
  • James Bullock, Interpreter and Actor in St. Augustine

Washing Away History: Digging for the Future

On July 22, the second virtual panel explored past and present archaeological discoveries at the park and how environmental factors, in particular sea level rise, affect our future understanding of the past at Fort Mose and around the city of St. Augustine. Panelists were:

  • Kathleen Deagan, Distinguished Research Curator Emerita of Archaeology and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Florida Museum of Natural History
  • Lori Lee, Associate Professor of Humanities, Flagler College
  • Sarah Miller, Regional Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network
  • Thomas Jackson, Board of Directors, Fort Mose Historical Society