B&W circa 1890 Three young Black children smile and pose in front of the Castillo de San Marcos. The middle child has his arms around his two friends, also male.

Black History

Happy Black History Month 2024! The story of African Americans in St. Augustine starts at the very beginning.

As the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine plays an important role in American history and heritage. African-descended people have been present here for every chapter of St. Augustine's story, which spans more than 450 years. Did you know?  The first Christian wedding in the United States was an interracial marriage. The bride, Luisa de Abrego, was African and a free citizen of Spain. Since she stepped onshore in 1565 with the founding fleet of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, generations of Black people have shaped this city's story and still preserve it today. From the free militiamen of Fort Mose to the everyday foot-soldiers who protested segregation during the American Civil Rights Movement, this page gives merely a glimpse into the events, sites, and people that make up St. Augustine's Black history. 

If you're still eager to learn more, be sure to download our brand-new St. Augustine Black History mobile app.

Upcoming Black History Events

450+ Years of History and Heritage

Where are the Black history museums in St. Augustine? Who founded Fort Mose? Where is Butler Beach? Was Saint Augustine really from Africa?

Our historical articles answer these questions and more. 

Keep an eye on our mobile application to further explore the people, places, and timeline of St. Augustine's Black History.

Learn with your boots on the ground!

These museums, storefronts, and galleries each share a unique story.

Despite being pivotal to our nation's heritage, the stories of African Americans and their ancestors have long been pushed aside or outright ignored. However, in the face of bigotry and hardships, generations of Black people have made joyful lives for themselves and shaped history in the process. Several sites in St. Augustine honor and commemorate these historical figures, keeping their memory alive to educate future generations. 

Best Richardson Bookstore & Museum

This African-American owned bookstore focuses on the literature of the African diaspora.

The Best Richardson African Diaspora Literature & Culture Museum is primarily a bookstore. The large main room features shelves full of new, used, and rare books. Art and artifacts from around the world—including Africa, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and the Gullah Geechee Corridor—are also displayed and are for sale.

ACCORD Civil Rights Museum & Freedom Trail

A must-visit museum to learn about St. Augustine's impact on the Civil Rights Movement.

Founded in 2003, ACCORD Freedom Trail, a non-profit, grass roots organization, commemorates the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. St. Augustine was a leading battlefield in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the only place in Florida where Dr. Martin Luther King was arrested.

Ximenez-Fatio House Museum

Built on America's oldest platted street, interpreting life during the 1800s.

History Comes Alive at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum lies just south of St. Augustine's Plaza de la Constitución on Aviles Street — the oldest platted street in America. With its diverse collection of artifacts, this house museum immerses guests in 1800s St. Augustine.

Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center

Excelsior, St. Augustine's first Black public high school, is now a museum.

In 2005, St. Augustine's first public high school for Black children was re-invented as the Excelsior Museum. Now called the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center, this important site in St. Augustine's History has been a center of Black education since 1902 when the school (then referred to as 'School #2') first opened.

Gallery One Forty-Four

Stunning photography and books by award-winning photographer Lenny Foster.

Located on King Street, the gallery features the work of Lenny Foster. Foster, a local artist, works primarily in photography. His work has been displayed in the Albuquerque Museum, The Harwood Museum, and the Hubbard Museum of the American West.

Related Sections of Our Website

What else is there to find?

Just as Black history is American history, Black history is St. Augustine history. In St. Augustine, history is in the spotlight year-round. Our website and mobile applications can help you delve deeper into the many stories that await you.