Africans participated in all the Spanish explorations and settlements in Florida, as they did throughout the Spanish Americas. In Florida they helped establish St. Augustine and the free black community of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose. Africans and African Americans fought in the many conflicts that wracked Florida, including the three Seminole Wars and the Civil War. Despite the oppressions of slavery and segregation, black Floridians struggled to establish their own communities, combat racism and economic deprivation, and negotiate the terms of their labor. Against overwhelming odds, they helped develop communities like Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami, and they served as the critical labor force for the state's citrus, agricultural, and timber industries. For centuries, however, their heritage has been ignored. These twelve essays examine the rich and substantial African American heritage of Florida, documenting African American contributions to the state's history from the colonial era to the late twentieth century.