On February 15 and 22, Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a unit of the National Park Service, will host Kingsley Heritage Celebration at Kingsley Plantation. This special event is held every year to celebrate African heritage and remember the enslaved that lived here. This year, Kingsley Heritage Celebration is part of a year of programming marking the 400th anniversary of when the first enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to English-occupied North America.
On February 15, Kingsley Plantation will be joined by speaker Dr. Johnnetta Cole, a Kingsley descendant, and the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters. Dr. Cole has been an anthropologist, an educator, and Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Throughout her career, she has worked on initiatives dealing with diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in museums and higher education. The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters are descendants of enslaved Africans who preserve the historical and cultural legacy of the Geechee people through song and dance. The event will end with archaeology tours of the slave cabins led by the Florida Public Archaeology Network.
On February 22, a living history timeline will transport visitors through the history of Fort George Island. Take an interactive trip through the past, starting with the Spanish Mission San Juan del Puerto; on to the British Fort St. George; the Plantation era; and into the Roaring Twenties. Families can try their hands at candle making, writing with quill and ink, and much more. “These interactive demonstrations are a great way for families to learn together,” said Superintendent Chris Hughes. Musket firing demonstrations will also occur throughout the day.
In addition to the scheduled events, visitors may also tour the grounds that include the original plantation house, kitchen house, barn, and the remains of 25 tabby slave cabins. The grounds offer graphic evidence of slave living quarters and daily life experiences. Come and honor those enslaved at Kingsley Plantation by learning about their skills and knowledge and the tasks they endured on the Florida frontier.
This event is free and open to the public.
Detailed Schedule of Events
Saturday, February 15, 2020: Culture and Legacy
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Park rangers and volunteers will lead tours of the Planters Home.
10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Kid’s Corner Crafts
12:45 p.m. – Opening Remarks, Superintendent Chris Hughes
1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. - Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Looking Back in Order to go Forward
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. –Archaeology Hike through the Quarters with Florida Public Archaeology Network
Saturday, February 22, 2020: Fort George through the Ages
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Living History Demonstrations
12:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. - Historic Weapons Demonstrations
Located off Heckscher Drive/A1A one-half mile north of the St. Johns River ferry landing, Kingsley Plantation is open daily, at no charge, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. For more information about Kingsley Plantation, call 904-251-3537 or visit https://www.nps.gov/timu.
About the National Park Service. National Park Service employees care for America's 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.