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Research Starter: Anna M. Kingsley
Anta Madjiguène Ndiaye was from Senegal in West Africa. She was sold into slavery and taken to Havana, Cuba. In 1806, while still a teenager, she was purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley. Kingsley was a 41-year-old plantation owner from England living in Spanish Florida. He freed Anta and they married. She became known as Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley. Together they managed the affairs of what has become known as Kingsley Plantation.
Spain ceded Florida to the United States in 1821. Fearing for their safety as free people of color, Anna and her children moved to Haiti. Zephaniah Kingsley died in 1843, leaving a significant amount of property to Anna and their children. Relatives contested the will, arguing that Florida law did not allow blacks or children of mixed race marriages to inherit property. Anna returned to Florida in 1846 to personally argue her case, citing the United States’ treaty with Spain, which stipulated that all free people of color living in Florida before 1822 would enjoy the same rights as they had when Spain controlled the territory. She was successful and lived the remainder of her life in Duval County.
- Exhibits, Papers Concerning the Will of Zephaniah Kingsley
- Photo Exhibits, Images of the Zephaniah and Anna Kingsley Plantation
- Spanish Land Grants, Kingsley, Anna M. — Confirmed
- Selected Documents, Address to the Legislative Council of Florida on the Subject of Its Colored Population by Zephaniah Kingsley, 1823
- Selected Documents, Petition of Free Colored People of St. Augustine, 1823
- Selected Documents, Zephaniah Kingsley, Treatise on the Patriarchal or Cooperative System of Society as it Exists in Some Governments, and Colonies in America, and in the United States Under the Name of Slavery, with its Necessity and Advantages, 1829
Other Online Resources
- Exploring Florida: Kingsley Plantation Photos
- Fort George Island Cultural State Park
- Kingsley Plantation National Historic Site
- Schafer, Daniel. "A class of People neither Freemen nor Slaves: From Spanish to American Race Relations in Florida, 1821-1861," Journal of Social History 26 (1993): 587-609.
- Schafer, Daniel. Anna Madgignine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Slaveowner. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 2003.
- Stowell, Daniel W. Balancing Evils Judiciously: The Proslavery Writings of Zephaniah Kingsley. Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 2000. [Also contains a reprint of Zephaniah Kingsley's will.]