African-American History Month, officially recognized by the United States government since 1976, is honored in St. Augustine through the Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience exhibition. The exhibition, located at 10 W. Castillo Drive, tells the African-American story and recognizes the central role African-Americans played in United States history.
“The Journey exhibition celebrates 450 continuous years of African-American history, starting at the beginning. Africans became African-Americans when in 1565 they stepped foot onto the soils of the first permanent American colony in St. Augustine,” said Dana Ste.Claire, director of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration. The City of St. Augustine, 450th Commemoration and 2014 Commemoration Advisory Council are proud to present the full story of African-Americans and the important role they played in the historical and cultural development of our nation. African-American history is everyone’s history.”
African-American History Month originally began in 1926 as a week-long observance during the second week in February. This week was selected because it is the birthday week of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Douglass, an advocate for the African-American community and friend of Lincoln, had a main role in the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Douglass visited St. Augustine for one day and spoke about the continued struggles of African-Americans. A marker on St. George Street honors his visit to St. Augustine. The marker is highlighted in the Journey Passport Program.
The Journey exhibition showcases authentic objects, original documents, powerful photographs and interactive elements that depict the expedition African-Americans experienced from our country’s beginnings until today. The exhibition also includes a Passport Program. This program highlights 19 destinations in St. Johns County that feature African-American history. Such locations include exhibitions at the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum at Flagler College, Lightner Museum, Father Miguel O’Reilly House, St. Augustine Historical Society and Lincolnville Museum & Cultural Center. Other locations in the passport include Fort Mose Historic State Park, General Jorge Biassou marker, Governor Grant’s Plantations marker, Slave Market, Lincolnville Historic District marker, Old St. Johns County Jail, St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument, Andrew Young Crossing Monument and Willie Galimore Center.
The Journey exhibition is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until July 15, 2014. Admission cost includes – $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (60+), $3 for youth ages 7 to 12 and $15 for a family of four. The exhibition is free for St. Johns County residents, youth ages 6 and under, military in uniform and university/college students (with identification). Each exhibition guest receives a Journey passport. For more information about Journey, visit www.Journey2014.com or call 904.209.4255.