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Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service Announce Jacksonville Slave Dwelling

Event brings nationally-acclaimed program to Florida for the first time, seeks to share history of African-American slavery in North Florida

April 9, 2018 – JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service are pleased to share that they will host the Slave Dwelling Project in Jacksonville May 15 - 19. This marks the Slave Dwelling Project's first official visit to Florida as part of its programming.

The Slave Dwelling Project, headed by Joseph McGill, is dedicated to preserving surviving African American slave dwellings and seeks to change the narrative around the history of slavery in the United States. Mr. McGill will host the free Jacksonville Slave Dwelling event, which is open to the public, Tuesday, May 15, at Kingsley Plantation from 6:30 - 8 pm. “Since 2010, the Slave Dwelling Project has spent nights in slave dwellings in 19 states and the District of Columbia. We are proud that Florida will be added to the portfolio in 2018,” said Mr. McGill.

Florida's history of slavery and African-American history are not well known, and Kingsley Plantation provides a unique location to share that story more broadly. With activity recorded as early as 1763, Jacksonville’s Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island is one of the oldest properties remaining in Florida from the plantation era. The property includes the historic main plantation building as well as 25 of the original cabins that housed the enslaved community.

"Hosting the Slave Dwelling Project at Kingsley Plantation is a rare night time program that helps our park highlight the tabby slave quarters and the lives of enslaved people, but beyond that, the program will foster discussion, learning and hopefully a better understanding of these places as essential settings in the telling of the American story,” said Chris Hughes, Timucuan Preserve Superintendent.

The Jacksonville Slave Dwelling event is intended to highlight African-American history in Florida, in the Northeast region of Florida in particular, as well as discuss slavery, racial injustice and social justice that are especially relevant today. Programming planned for the Jacksonville event includes highlighting the importance of the Kingsley preservation effort, telling the stories associated with why these dwellings existed, and how they have been preserved.

Additionally, Mr. McGill will participate in a panel session on underrepresented history Thursday, May 17, at the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s Florida Preservation Conference. He will also serve as the conference’s general session keynote speaker Friday, May 18. Information on conference registration is available at

“It is our hope Mr. McGill’s visit and the Jacksonville Slave Dwelling event will serve as a catalyst to ignite interest around the unique African-American history of North Florida, and the importance of preserving the structures that tell that important story,” said Florida Trust Executive Director Melissa Wyllie. “We believe this event will bring to life a history too often ignored.”

The Jacksonville Slave Dwelling event is also sponsored by a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Amelia Island Museum of History, and through the financial support of the community.

Media credentials are available for the Jacksonville Slave Dwelling event on May 15, and also for the Florida Preservation Conference events. Please contact the Florida Trust for credentials.

More information on The Slave Dwelling Project can be found at:


About the Florida Trust

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is the state’s non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary heritage and history. Founded in 1978, the Florida Trust has collaborated to save irreplaceable Florida treasures like the Historic Florida Capitol and is a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Learn more at and follow on Twitter: @FloridaTrustHP.

About the National Park Service

Kingsley Plantation is a unit of the National Park Service’s Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville. The site is named for Zephaniah and Anna Kingsley, who owned and operated a 1,000-acre plantation on the island during the first half of the nineteenth century. Visitors may tour the grounds which include the original plantation house, kitchen house, barn, and the remains of 25 tabby slave cabins. The Plantation house is Florida’s oldest standing (1798) plantation era structure, and is open to tours on weekends. The grounds offer perhaps the most graphic evidence of slave living quarters and daily life experiences in the state, if not the South. Kingsley Plantation is open daily, at no charge, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 904.251.3537, or go to

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