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Contact: Kingsley Plantation, 904.251.3537
On Saturday, October 6, 2012, the Timucuan Preserve, a unit of the National Park Service, will host Harvest Day, a special event marking the end of the harvest season at Kingsley Plantation.Harvest Day was a tradition on all of Zephaniah Kingsley's plantations.In October, 1841, Kingsley Beatty Gibbs, nephew of Zephaniah, wrote in his journal:"No work done today, as all the people have it to gather their own crops- It is a rule which we have, to give all the [slaves] one day in the spring to plant, and one day in the fall to reap […]."
The event will be held from 10am to 4pm and will include demonstrations of plantation activities, including: cooking, carpentry, blacksmithing, and the harvest of Sea Island cotton and indigo; two of the historical cash crops for the plantation.Families are invited to help with tasks such as butter churning, cotton ginning, and producing indigo dye.
In addition, visitors will learn of a most thought provoking fact, that Kingsley's enslaved workforce was armed to defend the plantation and hunt for animals!Yes, this notion of slaves having firearms flies in the face of commonly held beliefs, but it is well documented that Kingsley armed his slaves.Park rangers will present programs on this surprising fact and introduce visitors to the type of musket used on the Plantation.These programs will take place throughout the day.
The highlight of the day will be cooking demonstrations by recognized culinary historian Michael Twitty, who writes of African, African American, African Diaspora, Southern, and Jewish foodways.Mr. Twitty is a living historian and Judaic teacher from the Washington, DC area, whose roots go back to the colonial and antebellum South.Mr. Twitty describes his work as "tracing the history of African American foodways from West and Central Africa to early America through slavery to the Civil War".For the past decade he has also been serving as a living history interpreter, having presented to over 100 groups including the Smithsonian Institution, Colonial Williamsburg, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery.
This event is free and open to the public.For more information, please call Kingsley Plantation at (904) 251-3537 or visit http://www.nps.gov/timu.Like us on Facebook at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and follow us on Twitter @TimucuanNPS.
Located off Heckscher Drive/A1A one-half mile north of the St. Johns River ferry landing, Kingsley Plantation is open daily, at no charge, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.