The Spanish colony of Florida was established in 1513 with the arrival of Juan Ponce de Leon. Subsequent interactions and conflicts between European settlers, indigenous groups, and peoples of African descent established the foundation of Florida’s history and culture. Florida’s status as a “backwater” colony made it an attractive destination for enslaved Africans, enabling them to establish settlements like Fort Mose and other colonies to celebrate freedom.

This conversation explores the complex nature of these interactions and the influence of Spanish, African, and indigenous culture on Florida. This conversation will focus on the Spanish colonial period, from 1513 to 1763; and the slavery era from 1783 until Florida joined the United States as a territory in 1821.

Participating Panelists

  • Dr. Anthony Dixon is the founder and president of Archival and Historical Research Associates, the Field Director of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network, and an Assistant Professor and Archivist at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach.
  • Dr. Larry Rivers is the former President of Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida A&M University, and a Distinguished Professor of History at Florida A&M University.
  • Dr. David Jackson (Moderator) is the Associate Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate College at Florida A&M University. He is also a Professor of History at FAMU and a member of the Board of Directors for Florida Humanities.

The Spanish Colonial and Slavery Eras in Florida is part of a conversation series, The Long History of Race Relations in Florida, convened by Florida Humanities in an effort to better understand the historical forces that influence Florida’s politics, culture, and economy.