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What is the Saltwater Railroad?

The Saltwater Underground Railroad was a network of places and people that assisted enslaved Africans traveling south in search of freedom in the 19th century. Traditionally, the Underground Railroad heads North to free states and Canada. In this virtual tour powered by Google Earth™ technology, we focus on the lesser known Southern railroad path from Georgia and South Carolina to Spanish Florida and The Bahamas, a former British colony where free Africans developed communities that still exist today.

Experience the Saltwater Underground Railroad through our Google Earth Virtual Tour.
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Back to Angola Festival 2023 Short Video 1 _ Opening, Panel Discussion, Food,  Basket-weaving.

Back to Angola Festival 2023 Short Video 1 _ Opening, Panel Discussion, Food, Basket-weaving.

Annual Back to Angola Festival 2023, Bradenton, Florida "Honoring the Shoulders We Stand On" ... The Heritage of the Angola Maroon Community 1812 - 1821, Manatee Mineral Springs Park. The event brought together descendants for Red Bays Andros, Florida Seminoles, historians, archaeologists, community leaders. The event is hosted by Oaktree Community Outreach Inc. and supported by donors , sponsors and partners listed at the end of the video Festival Event Director: Daphney Towns Panelists Included: Dr. Canter Brown, Jason Brown, Dr. Uzi Baram, Vickie Oldham, Stefan Moss, Dr. Sharon Jefferson, Sherry Robinson-Svekis, Oral Historian & Red Bays Cultural Heritage Ambassador : Wilton Russell Music (words and music) by: Clifford "Big Bruh" Riley Participants: Miami Generation and Miami Bahamas Junkanoo Group; Cultural Ambassador Henry Higgins; Basket weaver: Peggy Colebrooke; Woodcarver: Kendrick Wallace; Seminole Descendants & Andros residents :Sharona Woodside Barr; Indiana Colebrooke, Anora Gibson Spoken Word: Dena Andrews Donors & Sponsors: Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, ASALH Grant; Florida Humanities Community Grant; Bradenton Area Convention Center; Walmart, Sams Club; Exceptional Painting; Minister Leonardo Lightbourne Representative for North Andros (Bahamas); Sweet Sparkman Architects & Interiors Partners: Reflections of Manatee; City of Bradenton; Bishop Museum of Science Acknowledgements: “This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASALH or the Department of the Interior.” “Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this [program] do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.”
The First Underground Railroad

The First Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad for many of us symbolizes the journey African slaves went on in the name of freedom. But, contrary to popular belief, the first path wasn’t south to north. Instead, it was north to south. Spanish Florida was an independent entity and many enslaved Africans in the Carolinas and Georgia knew that if they escaped, they’d be granted asylum, as well as their freedom. For nearly a century, hundreds of slaves took the same journey south and crossed the border. However, in 1790, facing pressure from the United States government, Florida agreed to stop accepting slaves. This halted the passage for a moment in time. In this episode of Black History In Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., with additional commentary from Hasan Jeffries of Ohio State University and Vincent Brown of Harvard University, we explore the starting point of a trail that led thousands of slaves to freedom. But to this day, the passage represents the extremes enslaved Africans would go to attain the life they knew they deserved.  Black History in Two Minutes (or so) is a 2x Webby Award winning series. If you haven't already, please review us on Apple Podcasts! It's a helpful way to for new listeners to discover what we are doing here: Archival Materials Courtesy of: • Library of Congress • The New York Public Library • Getty Images Executive Producers: • Robert F. Smith • Henry Louis Gates Jr. • Dyllan McGee • Deon Taylor Produced by: • William Ventura • Romilla Karnick Music By: • Oovra Music Be Woke presents is brought to you by Robert F. Smith and Deon Taylor. Follow Black History in Two Minutes on Facebook Follow Black History in Two Minutes on Instagram Subscribe to Black History in Two Minutes Youtube Channel 'Black History in Two Minutes' is also available on Apple and Google podcasts. Distributed by Powered by

Our advisory board consists of historians, artists, educators, researchers, and scientists that work together to gather and document the stories found in our virtual tour.

Stefan Moss - Founder/Project Lead

In 2018 Stefan created the Saltwater Underground Railroad Experience. Inspiration for the project came from visits to numerous national and state parks in the southeast, where stories of an "Underground Railroad" going south to Florida and beyond were told.  Moss holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is a Level 2 Google Certified Educator. He currently teaches Earth Science in metro Atlanta.


Cherilyn Williams - Visual Artist

Cherilyn is a graphic designer/ illustrator with a degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. She has worked as a designer for 20+ years, in university settings, marketing and as a freelancer, owning her own business, VisuaLanguage Graphic Design. In addition to graphic design, she enjoys painting, ceramics and crafts. She has always also had a love for history and particularly African-American history. She was honored to design an 8-foot display wall which told the story of the 1939 Sharecropper’s Strike in the Missouri Bootheel.


Jason Brown - Archaeologist

Jason A. Brown Sr., is a retired military combat veteran, researcher, educator, mentor, coach, scuba diver, competitive cyclist and co-founder of Step by Step Enrichment Center LLC, a program that provides non-traditional education solutions for students grades K-12. Mr. Brown holds the title of a cultural resources management archaeologist who has a distinction of being a descendent of maroons, notably of the legendary late Sammy Lewis, a former inhabitants of the Angola settlement and later Red Bays settlement in Andros, Bahamas.

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Dr. Grace Turner - Archaeologist and Historian

Dr. Turner serves as Chief Archaeologist & Research Officer at Antiquities, Monuments & Museum Corporation in The Bahamas. She is the author of Honoring Ancestors in Sacred Space: The Archaeology of an 18th century African Bahamian cemetery in Nassau Bahamas. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, 2017. 

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Penelope Nottage - Researcher

Penelope is passionate about research -- especially on Bahamian History.  She pursued a Masters in Library Science in 2004 and upon graduation began her sojourn at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas.  In 2014 she moved on to the Bahamas Library Service where she assisted the Director with compiling information on various libraries.  She is the Founder of XCEL Information and Research Services.


Daphney Towns -  Event Director

Daphney Towns is the president of Oaktree Community Outreach Inc., a non profit organization that promotes the culture, history and folklore of Bradenton and believes in educating residents, especially youth and children. Towns serves as the Event Director for the Back to Angola Festival. Daphney came to the United States of America as a missionary from the Bahamas in 1992, and received her minister’s license in 1995.

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