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Fort Mose: And the Story of the Man Who Built the First Free Black Settlement in Colonial America Hardcover – September 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Top Customer Reviews
This book, as its title suggests, is the story of the first black settlement in Colonial America and the man who built and ran it, Francisco Menendez. Not much is known for sure about Menendez's early life, except for the fact that he was born in the Senegambia region of Africa in the Mandingo tribe. The book traces the likely experiences that Menendez would have had as a child in Africa and the likely path he took to slavery in the Carolina colony (later South Carolina).
The Senegambia region of Africa was known as the "Rice Coast" because rice was one of the main crops grown there. Slaves from this region were particularly attractive to slaveowners in the Carolina colony because they had discovered that rice was one of the few profitable crops that could be grown there. Mandingo slaves were particularly valuable for their experience with rice growing. This is rather different than the typical image of how slaves were purchased that is presented in history books. History books typically focus on slaveowners examining the teeth and muscles of glistening Africans stripped to the waist, as if they were purchasing a pack mule or other labor animal.Read more ›
Word of this community and its sanctuary policy quickly spread north and led to a growing population of escaped slaves at Fort Mose. Destroyed during a battle against the British, the fort was rebuilt once and ultimately abandoned when Florida became a British colony in 1763.
In speculating about Menendez's early background, the book includes detailed information about the slave trade and the cruel treatment of Africans once they were captured and forced into slavery. The historical narrative also includes discussions of property rights disputes and rice production in the South, thus making Fort Mose a useful reference book for some of the economic issues underlying slavery and military conflicts in Colonial America.
While we don't know exactly where or when Menendez was born, or what his birth name would have been is West Africa, Turner describes the naming rituals his parents probably would have used. We learn about the rice plantations in the Carolinas in the early 18th century and how Menendez would have used previously acquired skills to add to the local economy. The relationship between the Spanish, British, Native Americans and Africans is essential to understand how Fort Mose developed and it is developed in a manner that is clear and concise. By combining what is known about Fort Mose with what is know about Menendez, readers are able to understand the importance of Fort Mose in the history of the United States and the role Black people played in making the Fort important. This story helps raise our perception of Africans brought to America from being perceived as slaves to being seen as people.
Images are used to document the details of the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well-written, beautifully illustrated short history of Fort Mose. Most Americans know nothing about this important part of our Colonial history, and students especially would... Read morePublished on June 10, 2014 by Culper, Jr.
Recommended if you are going to St. Augustine. Doubt if many people outside of Florida are familiar with Ft. Moses.Published on January 23, 2014 by Karen A. Kriz