For Blacks, the Florida Territory Becomes More Hell than Paradise


“By the 1850s, black people in Florida had to belong to someone or have a white benefactor to vouch or their integrity and obedience. Key West passed an ordinance prohibiting all blacks — slave or free — from walking the streets after dark. The discrimination against free blacks in Key West became so oppressive that many left, as did their counterparts in Pensacola and St. Augustine. Yet, at the same time planters allowed their skilled slaves — the blacksmith and the carpenters — to hire themselves out to other planters and businessmen, even in distant cities. The white owner kept 70 percent or more of the wages.”

Source: Some Kind of Paradise: A Chronicle of Man and the Land in Florida  By Mark Darr; The University Press of Florida, 1998 p. 296



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