Discover “The Bahamas-Keys Connection” at Old City Hall during Key West Art & Historical Society’s special Distinguished Speaker Series panel discussion
On Thursday, February 8, at 6:00pm, Key West Art & Historical Society presents The Bahamas – Keys Connection,” a special Distinguished Speaker Series discussion with expert panelists Monroe County Historian Tom Hambright, Deputy Consul General of the Bahamas Sandra Carey, and Florida Keys History & Discovery Center Curator Brad Bertelli, moderated by Society Curator Cori Convertito, Ph.D. at Old City Hall, 510 Green Street.
“The Bahamians are oftentimes marginalized,” says Convertito. “We want to address that and get people thinking about their influence on the Florida Keys and South Florida.”
Though Florida Keys settlers came from a variety of places, including Cuba, New England, the mid-Atlantic and Europe, perhaps the most influential of the initial settlers were the Bahamians. After John Simonton purchased the island of Key West in 1822, Bahamians moved to the Florida Keys in large numbers. Families settled along the length of the island chain, driven by the poor economic situation in the Bahamas, and the ability to start afresh in an area that provided a number of opportunities— salvaging wrecked ships, fishing, and logging tropical hardwoods.
“Both black and white Bahamians relocated to the Florida Keys and South Florida, bringing with them a unique cultural blend of food, drink, music, dress and architecture,” says Convertito.
The panel discussion with the four subject experts will provide the audience a diversity of information about Bahamian settlement in South Florida. Along with moderator Convertito, Bertelli will focus on the Upper Keys; Hambright, the Lower Keys and Key West; Carey, the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, all paying particular attention to the region’s history. They will offer historical context and compare how Bahamians settled in each region, while also revealing the ongoing cultural legacy that flourishes today. A Q and A will follow the discussion.
“As an organization, it’s important that we focus on all of the communities represented in the Florida Keys,” says Convertito. “The Bahamians should feature as prominently in our community and culture as any of the other settlers and residents.”
Tickets available at kwahs.org/education; $5 for KWAHS members, $10 for non-members—advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Sponsored by the Helmerich Trust. For more information, contact Adele Williams, Director of Education, at 305-295-6616, x115. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.