Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience

Published on Apr 18th, 2014 by Austin Keith | 0

The year 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, an anniversary that is recognized and commemorated nationally and internationally. It is the second year of the three-year St. Augustine 450th Commemoration. Journey: 450 Years of the African-American Experience, a signature exhibition at the Visitor Information Center located at 10 W. Castillo Drive, showcases the important role African-Americans played in the historical and cultural development of America.
The birth of the African-American experience took place in St. Augustine. The first free Black settlement was established here; the Emancipation Proclamation was read here; on the very streets there were laid down in 1573 by the Spanish Crown marked Civil Rights activists – nearly four centuries later – calling for the fundamental rights our country emanates.
This state-of-the-art exhibition features authentic objects, original documents, powerful photographs and interactive elements that depict the journey African-Americans experienced from our country’s beginnings until today. The exhibition anchors a citywide passport program that connects visitors, residents and students to important African-American historical sites, exhibitions and programs throughout St. Augustine and St. Johns County.
On loan from the Archives of the Diocese of St. Augustine for the exhibit is a 1595 Baptismal Record documenting the first known Roman Catholic baptism of an African-American child. It is the earliest known record of the birth of an African-American child in what is now the present-day United States. Also on loan is a 1598 Marriage Certificate documenting the first known Roman Catholic marriage recorded between two African-Americans. Further, this is the earliest known record of a Black man and woman being married in what would become the United States.
The St. Augustine 450th Commemoration partnered with local and national organizations to present the true and accurate story of African-Americans and their important cultural contributions. The Diocese of St. Augustine is proud to be a partner throughout the 450th Anniversary celebration.
To learn more about the Journey Exhibition including helpful resources such as downloadable Teacher’s Guides, a suggested reading list, group tours and how to purchase tickets, visit 
The Journey Exhibition is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through July 15, 2014 at the Visitor Information Center, 10 W. Castillo Drive next to the parking garage in downtown St. Augustine.
Photo (Top, Right): Emancipation Proclamation Parade in St. Augustine. Twine Collection of the St. Augustine Historical Society.
Photo (Bottom, Left): The Journey Exhibition Entrance. Image provided by 

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