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Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

In the 1820s, the earliest eyewitness accounts appeared in book form from credible observers describing groups of "60 Indians ans as many runaway Negroes" rendezvousing at Cape Florida with 27 "sail of Bahama wreckers"[Forbes,1821]preparing to set sail across the Gulf Stream. Another report tells of some 300 men, women and children seen waiting for passage from Cape Florida on the desolate island of Key Biscayne in south Florida, overlooking the turulent Gulf Stream beyond which lay the British Bahamas [Vignoles, 1823]. Many Black Smeinoles sailed aboard Bahamian sloops to freedom as a group; others launched their own dugouts and outriggers. 'Cape Florida' became a password and Key Biscayne the destination for fugitives and runaways from North and Central Florida and even from Alabama, many outdistancing slave catchers. The Seminole Negroes who were in North and Central Florida chose to flee south, then east across the Gulf Stream, instead of following the North Star. They moved stealthily down the long dangerous peninsula taking refuge in the wilderness of swamps and glades, in woodlands, hammocks or maritime forests along the way, some crossed "Key Biscayne Bay" to reach Cape Florida--their password to freedom--where they set sail for the Bahamas. Others continued past Cable Sable, where they found passage at nearby Key Tabona (Tavernier), a wrecker's haven further south in the Florida Keys.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 1200 South Crandon Boulevard, Key Biscayne, 33419

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: The State of Florida Trustees Internal Improvement Trust Fund Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Park Service

Location Type: Site