The inaugural Fort Mose Jazz & Blues Series, taking place in St. Augustine, Florida on February 18th-26th, 2022, will reside on the first legally sanctioned free Black settlement in the United States.
Around the late 1600s, enslaved Black people escaped English colonies; along their trek, they found themselves in St. Augustine, where they were later given freedom in exchange for adopting Catholicism and serving in the militia. In 1738, the Spanish governor ordered Fort Mose to be constructed as a fortress for approximately 100 predominately Africans who sought sanctuary and liberation. In 1994, Fort Mose site was officially designated as a Historic National Landmark. After extensive archaeology and historical research, the site has been authenticated and a small museum sits near the location in Fort Mose State Park.
Over the years, the Fort Mose site was swallowed by marsh, and the important legacy of its community was largely forgotten. This Black History Month, the Fort Mose Historical Society and many others are proud to proclaim the history of this landmark.
Confirmed artists for the festival include the Grammy Award-winning Count Basie Orchestra, breakout Americana and roots singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah, the Grammy Award-winning jazz artist Gregory Porter, New Orleans deep-groove R&B and jazz group Tank and the Bangas, and the legendary Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (Feb. 26).
“Fort Mose is one of the most important places in American history, and especially African-American history,” said Scotty Barnhart of The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra. “It represents the ideals of freedom, democracy, and the aspirations of a people to live their lives fully and to participate in a society with all rights and privileges afforded to them as equal human beings.”
Proceeds from the event will support the construction of an on-site fort representation and development of additional interpretive resources. For more information on the Fort Mose Jazz & Blues Series or to purchase tickets, visit www.DiscoverFortMose.com.