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We are an alliance of historic places settled by people of African descent in the early establishment of America. 

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Oh the places you should know!

Across this nation, there are places of great history and triumph. Places where people of African descent settled shortly after the Civil War. These places are some of the most historic places in America and yet their stories are rarely told. 

Thank you for connecting with us and learning more about our work and our mission to share and bring recognition to the contributions of blacks in America. We invite you to learn more about our places and hopefully one day they to will become a part of the true American story.

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EARLY BLACK TOWNS & SETTLEMENTS

Established in 1738, Fort Mose was the first free black settlement in what is now the United States.  Located just north of St. Augustine, Florida, Fort Mose played an important role in the development of colonial North America.   

By 1738 there were 100 blacks, mostly runaways from the Carolinas, living in what became Fort Mose.  Many were skilled workers, blacksmiths, carpenters, cattlemen, boatmen, and farmers.  With accompanying women and children, they created a colony of freed people that ultimately attracted other fugitive slaves.  

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FORT MOSE, FLORIDA (1738-     )

Established in 1738, Fort Mose was the first free black settlement in what is now the United States.  Located just north of St. Augustine, Florida, Fort Mose played an important role in the development of colonial North America.   

By 1738 there were 100 blacks, mostly runaways from the Carolinas, living in what became Fort Mose.  Many were skilled workers, blacksmiths, carpenters, cattlemen, boatmen, and farmers.  With accompanying women and children, they created a colony of freed people that ultimately attracted other fugitive slaves.  

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TREME’, LOUISIANA (1810-     )

Tremé was originally settled by Free People of Color; often referred to as Creoles. , whose  It is known as the hallmark of African-American history because it helped shape the civil rights movement. Treme was established in 1810 as the first subdivision in New Orleans. Created from a portion of the Morand-Moreau plantation, it was sold by Claude Treme to the city and is considered to be America’s oldest existing African American neighborhood. Established from the immigration of Haitian refugees following the Haitian revolution in the early 1800s, the neighborhood became an entertainment center that was already a mix of French, Spanish and African-American culture.

The original city of New Orleans was founded in 1718. Treme and other outlying neighborhoods were farms or swamps until efforts to drain the land took hold as the population grew. Treme is the site of St. Augustine, one of the oldest African-American Catholic church parishes in the nation. It’s also the site of Congo Square, where during the 18th and 19th centuries slaves were permitted to dance, trade goods and play music that would evolve into jazz.

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BROOKLYN (LOVEJOY), ILLINOIS (1823-     )

In the early 1820s, eleven African American families, some free, some fugitive, crossed the Mississippi River from the slave-state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois. The group was led by Priscilla and John Baltimore, and included the Anderson, Sullivan, Singleton, Wilson, Cox, Wyatt, and Carper families.

Shortly after forming their new settlement, the townspeople with the help of Bishop William Paul Quinn, a missionary minister for the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church founded the Brooklyn A.M.E. Church in 1825. Later, the church was called Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church. It became part of a network of A.M.E. Churches that formed the Underground Railroad in Illinois.  Tunnels still exist under the building that at one point secreted fugitive slaves.

However, in 1837 five white men moved to Brooklyn and platted land, which they sold to other incoming white settlers.  They and the newcomers dominated the town politically since African Americans in Illinois were not allowed to vote.

Brooklyn was incorporated in 1873, but it wasn’t until 13 years later that black voters, as the majority of the local electorate, regained political control of the town.  In 1891 they adopted the new name of Lovejoy, after the murdered abolitionist Elijah J. Lovejoy, to distinguish it from a neighboring mostly-white town also named Brooklyn.

Lovejoy did not enjoy much growth or prosperity in the 20th Century, and it lost many of its residents.  Today, however, long-time residents, with the help of University of Illinois archaeologists and historians, are attempting to restore the original town and publicize its remarkable story.

Nicidemus, Kansas
Nicidemus, Kansas
Sugarland, Maryland, Established 1871
Sugarland, Maryland, Established 1871
Tuskegee, Alabama
Tuskegee, Alabama

Black Towns & SETTLEMENTS After the Civil War

People of African descent have been in the Americas since 800 AD. One indication is the great stone carvings of the Olmec era in Mexico, bearing African facial features. During Christopher Columbus expedition, a black navigator, Pedro Alonso Nino, traveled with Christopher Columbus’ and discovered the New World. Before the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance was established, we were all scattered and didn’t know much about each other. When we finally joined forces, we all agreed that we love where we live, work, worship and play. 

There are hundreds of towns located throughout America that are all-black communities. These towns were established by freed slaves after the Civil War and still stand today. In Oklahoma, more than 21 towns established by blacks popped up. In Kansas, blacks settled places in the new American west. 

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KENDLETON, TEXAS

Today, many black towns and settlement areas still exist. They are located all over the United States in countrysides and neighborhoods alike. No, they are not defined geographically by landscaped entrances or known monuments. Instead they are mostly the deteriorating neighborhoods many see as opportunity to gentrify. Today’s black towns are increasingly diverse in their geography, culture, size and scope. We aim to highlight these places and bring continued investment that represents the cultural and historical assets of the community.

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COE RIDGE, KENTUCKY

Today, many black towns and settlement areas still exist. They are located all over the United States in countrysides and neighborhoods alike. No, they are not defined geographically by landscaped entrances or known monuments. Instead they are mostly the deteriorating neighborhoods many see as opportunity to gentrify. Today’s black towns are increasingly diverse in their geography, culture, size and scope. We aim to highlight these places and bring continued investment that represents the cultural and historical assets of the community.

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ORANGE MOUND, TENNESSEE

Today, many black towns and settlement areas still exist. They are located all over the United States in countrysides and neighborhoods alike. No, they are not defined geographically by landscaped entrances or known monuments. Instead they are mostly the deteriorating neighborhoods many see as opportunity to gentrify. Today’s black towns are increasingly diverse in their geography, culture, size and scope. We aim to highlight these places and bring continued investment that represents the cultural and historical assets of the community.

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BLACK TOWNS & SETTLEMENTS TODAY

Today, many black towns and settlement areas still exist. They are located all over the United States in countrysides and neighborhoods alike. No, they are not defined geographically by landscaped entrances or known monuments. Instead they are mostly the deteriorating neighborhoods many see as opportunity to gentrify. Today’s black towns are increasingly diverse in their geography, culture, size and scope. We aim to highlight these places and bring continued investment that represents the cultural and historical assets of the community.

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PRINCEVILLE, NC

Today, many black towns and settlement areas still exist. They are located all over the United States in countrysides and neighborhoods alike. No, they are not defined geographically by landscaped entrances or known monuments. Instead they are mostly the deteriorating neighborhoods many see as opportunity to gentrify. Today’s black towns are increasingly diverse in their geography, culture, size and scope. We aim to highlight these places and bring continued investment that represents the cultural and historical assets of the community.

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FREEDMANS TOWN, TX

Today, many black towns and settlement areas still exist. They are located all over the United States in countrysides and neighborhoods alike. No, they are not defined geographically by landscaped entrances or known monuments. Instead they are mostly the deteriorating neighborhoods many see as opportunity to gentrify. Today’s black towns are increasingly diverse in their geography, culture, size and scope. We aim to highlight these places and bring continued investment that represents the cultural and historical assets of the community.

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FRENCHTOWN, FLORIDA

Today, many black towns and settlement areas still exist. They are located all over the United States in countrysides and neighborhoods alike. No, they are not defined geographically by landscaped entrances or known monuments. Instead they are mostly the deteriorating neighborhoods many see as opportunity to gentrify. Today’s black towns are increasingly diverse in their geography, culture, size and scope. We aim to highlight these places and bring continued investment that represents the cultural and historical assets of the community.

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