African Heritage Celebration At Kingsley Plantation In Feb. 2024

Annual event features tour of plantation house and ruins of 25 tabby slave cabins, tabby-making demonstration, African folklore performances, kid’s crafts, & lots more.

A unit of the National Park Service, the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preservation is presenting a special event at Kingsley Plantation in Northeast Florida (Duval County), on February 17, 2024.

The Kingsley Heritage Celebration annual event is held to celebrate African heritage and remember the enslaved. The Kingsley Plantation house, constructed in 1798, “is the oldest planter’s residence still standing in Florida,” according to the National Park Service

“The slave cabins are registered on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the most intact examples of the plantation system in Florida. . . perhaps the most graphic evidence of slave living quarters and daily life experiences in the state.” 

National Park Service

This historic site provides a glimpse of plantation life at the end of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Visitors can tour the plantation house, barn and ruins of 25 tabby slave cabins. Kingsley Plantation offers year-round free daily admission.

Kingsley Plantation is located about a 20-minute drive south of Amelia Island. It’s a scenic drive from Amelia Island along Heckscher Drive through Big and Little Talbot Islands then onto Fort George Island.

Kingsley Heritage Celebration — February 17, 2024 (11 a.m. to evening)

The Kingsley Heritage Celebration begins at 11:00 a.m. in the morning with a kid’s craft corner, archaeology programing from Florida Public Archaeology Network, booths featuring partners such as Gullah Geechee groups, and National Parks Conservation Association, open house touring of the Planter’s home, and ranger-guided tours of the tabby cabins entitled Stories of the Silenced. At 12:00 p.m., a model lime rick will be lit alongside a tabby-making demonstration. A special collection on loan from the Ritz Theater and Museum of sweetgrass baskets will be available for viewing during the open house tours.

Performances begin at 2:30 p.m. This year, the park will have extended hours, featuring a night-time luminary program that will begin at 6:15 p.m. with a sunset reading of the names of those enslaved on Fort George Island. 

Featured Performances

On February 17, 2024, Kingsley Plantation will be joined by Emanuel Kingsley and Peri Bestch, Kingsley descendants, and will feature performances by Kasasaka, and Orisirisi African Folklore. The Kasasaka Dance Company is led by Kasa Panzu, an eccentric African folk master entertainer originally from D.R Congo. Orisirisi, a preeminent performing arts company, was created in 1986 with the expressed purpose of sharing both the beauty and poignancy of African life and culture. With its unique brand of African folkloric performances, Don and Tutu proudly offer Orisirisi (different, different things) to audiences. 


LEARN MORE — Event presented by Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve and Timucuan Parks Foundation.