JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new generation is honoring the voices of their ancestors at the annual Kingsley Heritage Celebration through “The 400 Project – Honoring the Enslaved Voices of Kingsley Plantation.”
Kingsley Plantation, the oldest standing plantation in Florida, was one of the local Black history locales highlighted during The Morning Show’s Our History, Our Future special coverage this week.
It’s where Anna Kingsley, an African woman who became a slave, went on to become a slave owner herself.
Now a collaborative effort between local teens, Groundwork Jacksonville and a few other organizations tells the stories of six enslaved people who lived and worked on Kingsley Plantation, including Gullah Jack.
“His journey started from Africa. He was sold to a slave owner in South Carolina. And then his story gets real interesting from there,” said Shanell Davis-Bryant, project manager of Groundwork Jacksonville.
These organizations hope the creative stories of the past help give people more understanding, empathy and compassion by connecting people to their history.
“If we don’t know our history then we will end up repeating our past and we’ll also not be able to learn and move forward in a positive way,” Davis-Bryant said. “We saw the Black Lives Matter movement this summer. We are living through a pandemic. I think it’s important for us to take a moment and reconnect with our roots and understand that context of our roots. Not look at it as something we need to place blame upon ourselves or we need to internalize. But know that this is a part of our history, a part of our story.”
The Green Team from Groundwork Jacksonville said the idea is to make people feel like they were inside the plantation.
“We just wanted to bring the humanity back to these people,” they said.
Davis-Bryant said the goal is take the story beyond desperation and sadness.
“We acknowledge that, and now we’re coming to honor those ancestors,” Davis-Bryant said.