January 13, 2023 – March 18, 2023
The Key West Museum of Art and History |

Key West Art & Historical Society will debut a new exhibition on January 13, 2023, that will explore the history and culture of the often-overlooked segment of the community – former and current residents of Bahama Village. In this exhibition, history and stories will be woven together through various events that shaped the Black and Indigenous cultures of Key West.

In the early 1800s and 1900s, the Black and Indigenous community of Key West was skilled and hardworking. Many early settlers migrated to the island from St. Augustine, the Bahamas, and Cuba, and with them they brought their skills, education, and culture. These settlers were great contributors to the island’s development. This included African slaves that brought by slaveholders to assist in the expansion of the island. Free Blacks relocating to Key West were some of the first to become educated in America. They believed strongly in education which began at home and in church basements, until the establishment of the segregated Frederick Douglass School in 1870. The island’s Black community developed around, and enmeshed in, an area that we now refer to as Bahama Village.

Never-before-on-view objects include a football helmet and shoulder pads from Frederick Douglass School, musical instruments from the estate of William McKinzie, a nineteenth century Sanchez family bible and a suit once belonging to illustrious local musician Coffee Butler. These items, along with several others, will tell the inspiring history, culture, and contributions of the Black residents.

Our partner and venue:

The Key West Museum of Art and History
281 Front St.
Key West, Florida 33040