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St. Augustine presents The Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience

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St. Augustine, Florida has been a popular city to visit. Some travel to this historic city in search of the Fountain of Youth. For the history fans, this city is more than a quest for longevity. St. Augustine is the oldest continually habituated city in North American and is brimming with important milestones. Now visitors can learn the city's place in African American history in the exhibit, The Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience.

Historian, teacher, and playwright James Bullock shares St. Augustine's role in African American history. Throughout this special exhibit, visitors can understand the culture and heritage that the first legally sanctioned free African American town oldest city brings to the community.

African-American heritage in the United States begins 450 years ago when blacks, both free and enslaved, were among the 800 colonists who established the St. Augustine settlement under the leadership of Spanish explorer Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles. From St. Augustine's earliest days through the turbulent 1960s, African-Americans have played key roles in the development of both the city and nation. This vital contribution by people of color is well-documented, but not well-known. That is about to change.

Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience tells the fascinating story of blacks who helped settle the nation with original documents and artifacts, interviews, photos, art and more. The Journey exhibition is designed for cultural and heritage visitors interested in the full history of America and its beginnings and comprises four themes: Genesis of the African-American Experience; Fortress of Freedom; Breaking the Chains; and Crossroads of Change.

A few interesting facts in this exhibit include:

  • African-American heritage in the US begins in 1565 when blacks, both free and enslaved, were among the 800 colonists who established St. Augustine.
  • Africans were among the explorers and soldiers who first discovered Florida, sailing with Ponce de Leon and Pedro Menendez – not as slaves, but as soldiers in the service of Spain.
  • In 1738, slaves fleeing from the British were granted their freedom by the Spanish who occupied St. Augustine, Florida.
  • Fort Mose has also been recognized as one of the original sites on the southern route of the Underground Railroad.
  • On June 9, 1964, Civil Rights movement leader Martin Luther King was arrested in St. Augustine during a protest for human rights.

The Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience is located inside the St Augustine Visitors Information Center and runs through July 15. The exhibit is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; $3 for youth 7-12; under 7 free. For more information, please visit www.Journey2014.com.

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