Fort Mose Historic State Park marks the site of the first legally sanctioned free African American settlement within present-day US borders. Established in 1738 by Colonial Spanish Florida’s Governor Montiano, Fort Mose offered sanctuary to courageous Africans who successfully escaped enslavement in the English Colony of Carolina.
UNESCO, formally known as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is a UN agency dedicated to preserving cultural heritage and building a culture of peace. Its Slave Route Project, launched in 1994, breaks the silence surrounding transatlantic, Indian Ocean and Trans-Saharan slave trade that has impacted all world continents. Work of the project is rooted in the belief that ignorance or concealment of history creates obstacles to mutual understanding and reconciliation.
In its official award letter the UNESCO Slave Project states:
Fort Mose provides a rich perspective of African American experience in the Spanish colonies and testifies to the active role that Africans and African Americans took in fighting for freedom. Given the importance of this site, we are pleased to grant the label ‘Site of Memory associated with the UNESCO Slave Route Project to Fort Mose.