Promised Land or Purgatory? The Archaeology of Florida’s Rural African American Towns

Author(s): Edward Gonzalez-Tennant

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Historical Archaeology of Capitalism’s Cracks" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Florida was once home to dozens of thriving, rural African American towns. These towns were largely destroyed through intersectional violence; the multidimensional ways interpersonal, structural, and symbolic violence interweave across time and space. Only a handful of these communities survived, and they did so by existing at the fringes of larger economic, political, and social spheres controlled by Whites. As knowledge of these places receded from memory, they became increasingly misrepresented as places of unique peace and prosperity. Their value increasingly entangled in pro-capitalist rhetoric. The purpose of this paper is not to diminish the historical success of these Black Towns, but rather to illustrate how conscious decisions to exist within the cracks or fissures produced through the logic of capital helped some survive while others succumbed to the pressures which drove most of Florida’s African Americans to urban locations, and deepening inequity.

Cite this Record

Promised Land or Purgatory? The Archaeology of Florida’s Rural African American Towns. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457027)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 300