Amanda Carlson, associate professor of art history, has published Africa in Florida: Five Hundred Years of African Presence in the Sunshine State (University Press of Florida, 2014), co-edited with Robin Poynor (University of Florida).
Dr. Carlson will discuss this recent publication on Monday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m. in East Hall 220. This event is free and open to the public.
Africa in Florida is a collection of essays and art, which demonstrates that African experiences in America are not monolithic and explores how Florida both shapes and is shaped by the multiple African diasporas that move through it. In addition to authoring the introductory essay, Carlson writes about the poet Adrian Castro, the photographer Gordon Bleach, Igbo masquerades, and representations of Africa in Florida's theme parks. Contributing authors from numerous disciplines discuss how free Africans, enslaved Africans, maroons, Black Seminoles, African Americans, Haitians, Afro-Cubans, Yoruba-Americans, and a myriad of recent immigrants from numerous countries in contemporary Africa have influenced Florida's history and culture.
In response to the 500th anniversary of documented African presence in Florida, this volume celebrates the ways in which Africans and people of African descent have shaped the history and visual culture of Florida and the United States. On April 2,1513, the first Africans arrived in Florida near contemporary Melbourne Beach. Juan Gárrido and Juan González [Ponce] de León were free, African men from Spain who accompanied Juan Ponce de León onto the shores of what would become La Florida. Carlson looks at this historical moment not as a voyage of exploration signaling the beginning of European colonization of what would become the continental United States but rather as the beginning of Black presence in Florida and by extension America.
Africa in Florida received the College Art Association’s Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant, which allowed this heavily illustrated publication to be printed in full color. The research and production of this book also benefited from University of Hartford’s Richard J. Cardin and Vincent B. Coffin grants. More information about this publication is available on Carlson’s blog, “From Book to Blog: Africa in Florida,” at http://africaflorida.blogspot.com/.