Moderator: Cori Convertito, Ph.D.
Panel: Monroe County Historian, Tom Hambright; Curator of the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center, Brad Bertelli; Deputy Consul General of the Bahamas, Sandra Carey.
Early settlers in the Florida Keys came from a variety of places, including Cuba, New England, the mid-Atlantic and Europe. Perhaps the most influential of the initial settlers were the Bahamians. During the first two decades 18th century, Bahamians visited the region, being attracted to the wealth obtained through salvaging wrecked ships, fishing, and logging tropical hardwoods. After John Simonton purchased Key West in 1822, Bahamians moved to the Florida Keys in large numbers. Families settled along the length of the island chain, driven by the poor economic situation in the Bahamas, and the ability to start afresh in an area that provided a number of opportunities.
Both black and white Bahamians relocated to the Florida Keys and South Florida, bringing with them a unique cultural blend of food, drink, music, dress and architecture. The three panelists in this moderated session will focus on Bahamian settlement in South Florida, paying particular attention to the region’s history and the ongoing cultural legacy that flourishes today.
This program is sponsored by the Helmerich Trust.