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African Americans in Florida
African American family in Gainesville, Florida.
Total population
3,337,159[1] (2014)
Regions with significant populations
North Florida and Miami metropolitan area[2]
Southern American English, African-American Vernacular English, Haitian Creole, Jamaican Patois, Cuban Spanish, Gullah, Afro-Seminole Creole, Miami English, Caribbean English, African languages
Christianity, Haitian Voodoo, Black Protestant, Evangelical Protestant, Black Catholicism, Jehovah's Witness, Irreligion, Santería,[3] Rastafari
Related ethnic groups
Afro-Cubans, Afro-Caribbeans, Black Seminoles, Gullah, West Indian Americans, Black Hispanic and Latino Americans, Bahamian Americans, Jamaican Americans, Haitian Americans, Hispanics in Florida, Indigenous peoples of Florida, White Americans in Florida
African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

African Americans in Florida or Black Floridians are residents of the state of Florida who are of African ancestry. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, African Americans were 16.6% of the state's population.[4] The African-American presence in the peninsula extends as far back as the early 18th century, when African-American slaves escaped from slavery in Georgia into the swamps of the peninsula. Black slaves were brought to Florida by Spanish conquistadors.[citation needed]


See also: History of Florida and History of slavery in Florida

The history of African Americans in Florida can be divided into several eras, the dates varying by location: 1) Slavery until 1865. A few slaves had been freed, but were never free from the threat of being again enslaved. 2) Reconstruction after the American Civil War. 3) Remainder of 19th century. 4) Terrorist activity against African Americans. 5) Civil Rights Era. 5) Late 20th-21st century.

The history of Black people in Florida dates back to the pre-American period, beginning with the arrival of Congolese-Spanish conquistador Juan Garrido in 1513, the enslaved Afro-Spanish explorer Estevanico in 1528, and the landing of free and African enslaved persons at Mission Nombre de Dios in the future St. Augustine, Florida in 1565.[5]

The first Black city in the state came in the latter region when a military outpost of free Black settlers was established at Fort Mose when the Black population became numerous in St Augustine. The uptick was largely due to fugitive slaves from British colonies in North America to Spanish Florida where they were promised freedom in exchange for military service and conversion to Catholicism.[5]

Florida was later acquired by the British, bringing the First Spanish Period to an end and the departure of the Spanish population (including blacks) to Cuba. African-American slaves soon became the main Black population in the state.[5] The Spanish regained Florida briefly in 1784 before departing in 1821.

After the Civil War, there was a brief Reconstruction era from 1867 to 1877. This included enforcement of rights for African Americans. This era vanished suddenly, the result of the Compromise of 1877.[6]

Post-reconstruction policies allowed civil rights for blacks to lapse. Black voters and black politicians vanished under threats from reactionary whites.[7]

Per capita lynching was highest in Florida than any other state from 1900 to 1930. Offenders were often known but no legal proceedings ensued. A tipping point was reached in 1951, with the Murder of Harry and Harriette Moore. FBI help was sought. The KKK was suspected, but there was insufficient evidence for trial.[8] A violent era was followed by continued segregation.

Governor LeRoy Collins took the position that segregation was morally unfair and wrong.[9] This was succeeded by Federal Civil Rights Act in 1964. Schools were integrated, but not without difficulty.

There was a Afro-Cuban community in Tampa and Ybor City in the 1880s.[10] Afro-Cubans were segregated from white Cubans and separated from African Americans by language, culture, and religion. Afro-Cubans were discriminated in Florida due to their skin color.[11][12][13]

African slaves who escaped from English plantations were given sanctuary by the Spanish in Florida.[14]

Racial segregation forced black people and white people to attend different schools in Florida. The quality of education was poor for African American children. In the year 1956, two African American black women were arrested in the city Tallahassee for sitting in the front seats of a bus when they were told to sit in the back of the bus.[15]


As of 2010, those of African ancestry accounted for 16.0% of Florida's population, which includes African Americans. Out of the 16.0%, 4.0% (741,879) were Afro-Caribbean American. During the early 1900s, Black people made up nearly half of the state's population. In response to segregation, disfranchisement and agricultural depression, many African Americans migrated from Florida to northern cities in the Great Migration, in waves from 1910 to 1940, and again starting in the later 1940s. They moved for jobs, better education for their children and the chance to vote and participate in society. By 1960, the proportion of African Americans in the state had declined to 18%. Conversely, large numbers of northern whites moved to the state. Today, large concentrations of black residents can be found in northern and central Florida. Aside from blacks descended from African slaves brought to the southern U.S., there are also large numbers of Black people of Caribbean, recent African, and Afro-Latino immigrant origins, especially in the Miami/South Florida area.[16][better source needed]

Notable people

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (March 2023)

See also


  1. ^ "Florida".
  2. ^ Hero, Rodney E.; Schmidt, Ronald; Aoki, Andrew L.; Alex-Assensoh, Yvette M. (2009). Newcomers, Outsiders, and Insiders: Immigrants and American Racial Politics in the Early Twenty-first Century. ISBN 978-0472022199.
  3. ^ "Religious Landscape Study".
  4. ^ "Florida QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". 2011. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Landers, Jane (1999). Black society in Spanish Florida. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02446-X. OCLC 434395286.
  6. ^ C. Vann Woodward, Reunion and reaction: the compromise of 1877 and the end of reconstruction (1956), pp. 3–15
  7. ^ The long, racist history of Florida's now-repealed ban on felons voting
  8. ^ Crist, Charlie; Attorney General (August 16, 2006). "The Christmas 1951 Murders of Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore; Results of the Attorney General's Investigation: Executive Summary" (PDF). Retrieved February 27, 2018.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Dyckman, Martin. "LeRoy Collins, Trent Lott: a study in contrasts". Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  10. ^ Mirabal, Nancy Raquel (1993). "The Afro-Cuban Community in Ybor City and Tampa, 1886-1910". OAH Magazine of History. 7 (4): 19–22. doi:10.1093/maghis/7.4.19. JSTOR 25162907.
  11. ^ "Ybor6.HTM".
  12. ^ "Afro-Cubans in Ybor City, 1880s-Present - Part One · "We Wanted Some Basic Human Rights": The Civil Rights Struggle in Tampa · USF Libraries Exhibits".
  13. ^ Greenbaum, Susan D. (2002). More Than Black: Afro-Cubans in Tampa. ISBN 9780813024660.
  14. ^ "The English Menace & African Resistance".
  15. ^ "Civil Rights Movement in Florida". Florida Center for Instructional Technology.
  16. ^ Miller, William J.; Walling, Jeremy D. (7 June 2013). The Political Battle over Congressional Redistricting. p. 116. ISBN 9780739169841.