There is a story to be told. Its a historical tale about bravery, freedom, and betrayal. It's a story about people who conquered oppression, who rose above their enslavement, and, who even in death, are now conquering those who would have hidden their story.
This is the story of the people of Fort Mose.
Every school child in America is taught about about St. Augustine, Florida. The history lesson begins with Florida being discovered by Don Juan Ponce de Leon, a former governor of Puerto Rico. He sighted the eastern coast of Florida on Easter Sunday, March 23, 1513 while in search of gold and silver. Ponce claimed the land for Spain, and named it La Florida, Land of the Flowers.
Before long, Spanish colonists came and a city was erected. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and is America's oldest permanently settled European city. As all good Florida students know the Castillo de San Marcos is the fort built by the Spaniards to protect the settlers in St. Augustine. They had to be protected from the English and the French who were both trying to colonize America. They also had to be protected from the Seminole Indians who owned the land before the Spanish stole it from them.
The students are also taught about Fort Matanzas and its place in St. Augustine's history. A storm shipwrecked a French fleet in 1565. When the Spanish discovered the French on the beach, they ordered them to surrender, give up their Protestant faith, and accept Catholicism. Being without weapons or food, they did surrender, but to convert their faith, they refused. So the Spanish massacred nearly 250 Frenchmen as heretics near the inlet which was then appropriately named "Matanzas", the Spanish word for massacre. This confrontation began 235 years of Spanish control in Florida.
Students are also taught about the Seminole War. In this was the Indians made a desperate attempt to regain control of Florida from the Americans. In 1837 two prominent Seminole leaders, Osceola and Coacoochee, with a number of warriors were captured just south of St. Augustine where they had come under a white flag for a parley with the Americans. All were imprisoned in the Castillo, from which Coacoochee and 20 of his companions managed to escape. Osceola, however, was transferred to Fort Moultrie at Charleston, SC where he died.
But the students are not taught about Fort Mose.