DSS | Key West’s Black History: Shaping an Island
8-November from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Distinguished Speaker Series | Key West’s Black History: Shaping an Island with Cori Convertito
Monday, November 8, 2021, from 6 pm to 7 pm
The Key West Art and Historical Society, in partnership with Monroe County Public Libraries, is building cultural equity by telling the stories of the Black community’s significant contributions to local culture and industry, as documented in artwork and historic documents. This talk seeks to redress a serious omission: that the substantial contributions of people of color are under-represented in our island’s historical narrative.
From its beginnings in the 1800s, the maritime industry of Key West was dependent on the skills of Black Bahamians and Black Cubans as sailors, spongers, boat builders and fishermen. The contributions of these skilled workers has been marginalized, when in truth, their contributions were vital, valuable and integral. This project will be a step forward in doing what we all should have been doing for years – celebrating the true diversity of the heritage of the island city of Key West.
This talk is part of a larger project that will increase representation by sharing some of the real history of the island through the lens of the WPA visual arts, as well as the collection of KWAHS and the Key West Library. The neighborhood children and families of today, be they African-American or Haitian, descendants of Bahamian fishermen or emigres from a myriad of Caribbean islands, deserve to see people who look like them in their textbooks, in their governments, and in their museums.
The Distinguished Speaker Series is sponsored by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, The Helmerich Trust, Aloys & Carol Metty, and The John & Marilyn Rintamaki Family Charitable Fund