Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Key West in Monroe County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

African Cemetery at Higgs Beach

 
 
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach Marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
1. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach Marker
Inscription. Near this site lie the remains of 294 African men, women and children who died in Key West in 1860. In the summer of that year the U.S. Navy rescued 1,432 Africans from three American-owned ships engaged in the illegal slave trade. Ships bound for Cuba were intercepted by the U.S. Navy, who brought the freed Africans to Key West where they were provided with clothing, shelter and medical treatment. They had spent weeks in unsanitary and inhumane conditions aboard the slave ships. The U.S. steamships Mohawk, Wyandott and Crusader rescued these individuals from the Wildfire, where 507 were rescued; the William, where 513 were rescued; and the Bogota, where 417 survived. In all, 294 Africans succumbed at Key West to various diseases caused by conditions of their confinement. They were buried in unmarked graves on the present day Higgs Beach where West Martello Tower now stands. By August, more than 1,000 survivors left for Liberia, West Africa, a country founded for former American slaves, where the U.S. government supported them for a time. Hundreds died on the ships before reaching Liberia. Thus, the survivors were returned to their native land, Africa, but not to their original homes on that continent.
 
Erected 2001 by A Florida Heritage Landmark Sponsored by
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
2. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Old Island Restoration Foundation and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-432.)
 
Location. 24° 32.845′ N, 81° 47.129′ W. Marker is in Key West, Florida, in Monroe County. Marker is at the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard and White Street, on the right when traveling east on Atlantic Boulevard. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Key West FL 33040, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. West Martello (within shouting distance of this marker); Eduardo H. Gato House (approx. 0.7 miles away); Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea (approx. mile away); Southernmost Point (approx. mile away); The History of the Southernmost Point (approx. mile away); Eduardo Gato Cigar Factory (approx. mile away); E.H. Gato Cigar Factory (approx. 0.8 miles away); Convent Of Mary Immaculate (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Key West.
 
Categories. African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesWaterways & Vessels
 
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach Marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
3. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach Marker
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
4. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Key West
African Cemetery
1860
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
5. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
6. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Nyame Biribi Wo Soro
“God, I know there is something in the heavens.”
Symbol of Hope and Faith
Even in the worst of circumstances, God is always there. This timeless knowledge has been preserved in an African American gospel song,
"Up above my head, I hear music in the air,
Up above my head, there's a heaven somewhere”:
and in a wise Brazilian proverb:
"Don't tell God that you have a great problem,
Tell your problem that you have a great God.”
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
7. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Osram
The Moon
“The moon does not hasten on its way around the world.”
Symbol of Steadiness, Peace and Patience
“This, too, will pass.” A reminder that patience is required in awaiting any outcome. It is necessary to know that everything must run its course in Divine time. Even the nightmare of the Middle Passage and slavery had to end in its due time, but it was necessary to remain strong, resistant and patient throughout its duration.
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
8. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Adinkra Symbols
The symbols on these columns are known as adinkra (or edinkra), and originate in Ghana, West Africa, where the Atlantic “slave trade” began. Each symbol stands for a proverb or idea. They are traditionally stamped onto cloths in rhythmic patterns. Adinkra means “farewell”, and the cloths were originally worn at funerals (red for younger people and white for elders). Although these symbols are traditionally associated with death, they also represent new beginnings.
Bakota Reliquary
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
9. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
10. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
Mate Masie
“What I hear, I keep”
“I have listened and I have learned.”
Symbol of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Prudence
There are lessons to be learned from every experience in life. “Even when the fool speaks, the wise person listens.”
(African proverb)
In spite of all the horrors they endured, the captives aboard the three ships learned and kept valuable lessons from their survival.
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
11. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
African Cemetery at Higgs Beach image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, May 28, 2015
12. African Cemetery at Higgs Beach
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 25, 2015, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. This page has been viewed 228 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on June 25, 2015, by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement