Anna Kingsley Essay

Anna Kingsley Essay

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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 181...


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...she once again had to leave the home she created because Florida seceded the union. The Civil War soon followed. After the Civil War, Anna never had the wealth and power that she once had. Her personal wealth was acquired through ownership of her slaves. There is no true documentation as to when Anna died, but it is thought to be between 1860 and 1870. Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley was buried in a peaceful grove off the St. Johns River in Florida. She is surrounded by many family members including her daughters.
She rests peacefully in an unmarked grave sheltered from the violence that followed her through a life marked by danger, courage, tenacious defense of family, flight, and triumphant return (Schafer, 121). She was a remarkable and determined black woman who achieved many accomplishments that are extraordinary. She became a well known figure in a free black community.




















Works Cited
Harvey, Karen. Daring daughters: St. Augustine’s feisty females. Virginia Beach, VA, 2002
Schafer, Daniel. Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley. Florida, 2003
Tilford, Kathy, Anna Kingsley: A free woman.” OAH Magazine of history 12, 1997
http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazone/women/tilford.htm


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