Kingsley Heritage Celebration 2014: Across the Water

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Date: February 3, 2014
Contact: , 904.251.3537
Contact: , 904.251.3537

Jacksonville, FL— The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve invites you to a celebration of the legacy of the Plantation era, the 16th Annual Kingsley Heritage Celebration. This event is free and open to the public. The last two Saturdays in February marks the 200th anniversary of Anna and Zephaniah Kingsley's arrival on the Fort George Island plantation. The enslaved people, who lived and worked there, also made a long journey to Fort George Island. This year the theme "Across the Water" will remember these journeys and celebrate the culture born from this chapter of history.

On February 15th - A Kid's Corner craft area and tours of the planter's home will offer fun for the whole family in the morning. Performances begin at 1:30 p.m and feature the Colonial Music Institute singers, a Senegalese guitar player, scholar Dr. Daniel Schafer, and Kingsley descendant Peri Frances. Their presentation will entertain and enlighten. On February 22nd re-enactors will demonstrate plantation life jobs like cotton spinning, indigo processing, cooking, and tabby slaking. Visitors are welcome to join in the activities and learn of the hardships endured on the Florida frontier. 

Kingsley Plantation overlooks the Fort George River, within the Timucuan Preserve. The rich and diverse history of the plantation includes the story of wealthy English planter Zephaniah Kingsley and his wife Anna Madgigine Jai. She was born in Senegal, Africa and purchased by Kingsley as a slave. After being manumitted by Kingsley, she became a successful plantation and slave owner herself, a most compelling story. The stories of those men, women, and children, who struggled to survive enslavement, during a time when wealth was measured in the ownership human property are told. 

Kingsley Plantation is a unit of the National Park Service's Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville. In addition to the scheduled events, visitors may also visit the grounds that include the original plantation house, kitchen house, barn, and the remains of 25 tabby slave cabins. The Plantation house is itself Florida's oldest standing (1798) plantation era structure. The grounds offer perhaps the most graphic evidence of slave living quarters and daily life experiences in the state, if not the South. 

Detailed Schedule of Events

Saturday, February 15: 1:30 p.m. –The Colonial Music Institute, David and Ginger Hildebrand present concerts and educational programs throughout the United States for museums, historical societies and sites, as well as at universities for graduate and undergraduate students. They appear frequently at Colonial Williamsburg and Mount Vernon. Their music is featured on movies and television documentaries, including the PBS series "Liberty! The American Revolution," "Rediscovering George Washington," and the C-SPAN Series "American Presidents."   
2:15 p.m. – Dr. Daniel Schafer- Professor of History Emeritus and University Distinguished Professor at the University of North Florida, Dr. Schafer is the author of several books, including Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley, William Bartram and the Ghost Plantations of British East Florida, Thunder on the River: The Civil War in Northeast Florida and a new biography Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. and the Atlantic World: Slave Trader, Plantation Owner, Emancipator. 2:45 p.m- Ajamu Mutima, a master of the Kora, a Poet, Master Storyteller, song writer, composer, drummer, flautist, percussionist, and griot. Mutima has been writing and performing his own songs and stories for more than 30 years. Whether playing the kora, bamboo flutes, drums or other percussion instruments, his performances have been described as "healing" and "spiritual"… "transcending the barriers of race, gender, age and class".   
3:15 p.m.-Descendant Peri Frances- A direct descendant of Anna and Zephaniah Kingsley, Peri's interest in her family history was sparked by her Aunt MaVynee "the Beach Lady". Trips to Senegal and Ghana further connected her to the experiences of her ancestor Anta Madgigine Jai (Anna Kingsley's African name).   

Kids' Corner and House Tours: Throughout the day, park staff will present children's activities including a rag doll making craft, a chance learn about slave food ways and grow crops originating in Africa, and more crafts and games. Tours of the planter's home will be offered from 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 22: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. –The event will include demonstrations of plantation activities, including: cooking, tabby slaking, spinning, and the harvest of Sea Island cotton and indigo; two of the historical cash crops for the plantation. Costumed volunteers and rangers will bring 1814, the year the Kingsley family arrived on Fort George Island to life. Everyone is invited to help with tasks such as butter churning, cotton ginning, and producing indigo dye. These programs will take place throughout the day. The Timucuan Preserve has partnered with the Historic Fort St. George Episcopal Church to bring this event to the public.   

Located off Heckscher Drive/A1A one-half mile north of the St. Johns River ferry landing, 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.

Like us on Facebook at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and follow us on Twitter @TimucuanNPS. 

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