Anna Kingsley Essay

This essay has a total of 1360 words and 6 pages.

Anna Kingsley

Anna Kingsley, a woman of strength and determination overcame many odds not expected of an
African American slave. She married a slave owner, owned land, and was once a slave
herself. She was well known in a free black community she helped establish.

Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley was the wife of plantation owner Zephaniah Kingsley. She was
the daughter of a man of high status. Her father's sides were descendants of the well know
Njaajan Njaay, the creators of the Jolof Empire. Her father was killed in April 1806, the
day she was captured. The tyeddo warriors invaded her village and collected all the
villagers to be sold as slaves. That day she not only lost her freedom and her home, but
also her dignity and her youth (Harvey, 41).

Anna and the others were lead to a ship and they sailed from Senegal to Havana, Cuba to be
sold as slaves. The Havana Market was the center of commerce of Spain's colonies in
America (Schafer, 23). Anna arrived in Florida in 1806. She was thirteen years old.
Zephaniah Kinglsey Jr was a citizen of Spanish East Florida. He was born in England, but
raised in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, a merchant, moved his family to Nova
Scotia because he was banished from South Carolina for giving support to King George III
at time of the American Revolution.

In 1808, Kinglsey moved to Florida, where he pledged his fidelity to Spain and imported
slaves on his plantation (Schafer, 21). Once purchased, Kingsley boarded Anna on the ship
Esther and they sailed to Laurel Grove Plantation north and on the west of the St. Johns
River. This would be her new home. She did not stay in the slave quarters, but she did
stay in his two-story home. He thought of her as his wife and she was carrying his child.
A few months before Anna gave birth; she became manager of Kingsley's household located at
Laurel Grove. Most of the slave's came from East and West Africa. The plantation consisted
of corn, cotton, mandarin oranges, sugarcane, potatoes and beans. According to Kinglsey
"color ought not be the badge of degrading," only the distinction should be between slaves
and free, not between white and colored (Schafer, 32).

Anna and Zephaniah were open about their relationship. She was the head wife or woman in a
polygamous household. One March 4, 1811 after five years of enslavement, Anna was
emancipated by her husband. She was now a free woman again. In 1812, Anna moved away from
her home at Laurel Grove. The Spanish government granted her 5 acres of land across the
St. Johns River. She established a lovely house for her three children and herself. She
also established slave quarters fro the twelve slaves she brought with her. Spanish law
viewed slaves as persons created by god and endowed with a soul and a moral personality,
the unfortunate victims of fate or war (Schafer, 37). They had rights under the Spanish
law that allowed them to get married, be freed for meritorious acts and also to self
purchase. They were allowed to work extra jobs to earn money to buy their freedom. Once
emancipated, the slaves could own property.

Anna became Catholic while living off the St. Johns. She later used the Catholic Church to
protect her rights and bind her family to powerful patrons, forming an extended kinship
networks through godparent ties (Schafer, 38). In 1812, the Patriot Rebellion would begin.
The president of the United States, James Madison, financed and instigated the Patriot
Rebellion. American soldiers and sailors crossed the East Florida's border and took the
town of Fernandina. They went south and began to attack outside St. Augustine. On the
first day of the rebellion, Zephaniah was captured and held hostage until he signed a
pledge to support the rebels. Laurel Groves was taken over by the soldiers and used as
headquarters. Kingsley's house and retail store was the only building left. Anna boarded a
canoe and started paddling towards a ship named the Immutable. The commander, Jose Antonio
Moreno gave her his word that her children and slaves would be safe on his ship. She
returned to the forest and brought back the children and her slaves.

Anna volunteered to lead Spanish soldiers to retrieve the cannons and bring them back to
the boat. But the rebels began filling the woods and they had no choice but to turn back.
Later on, she lead them back to the house to look for enslaved Africans who might have
survived. She set her home on fire so that there was no place for the rebels to meet. Once
she returned, she asked Moreno to sail across the St. Johns River to where her other home
was. Once there, she burned the house down "so that the rebels would not avail themselves
of it, and that it was more gratifying to lose it than that the enemies should take
advantage (Schafer, 43). Anna was granted 350 acres of land from the government for her
heroic defense of the province and for her loses. Zephaniah and Anna built a new home on
Fort George Island. She lived there until 1838. She raised her children in peace and with
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