Black History Museum, Florida, Bruce Antone, Central Florida Rep. Bruce Antone

Central Florida Rep. Bruce Antone Criticizes Black Leaders For Supporting ‘White-Washed’ Black History Museum Plans

Some Florida representatives are disappointed after Antone slammed building the museum on a slave plantation in St. Augustine.

Members of the West Augustine community are displeased with Central Florida Representative Bruce Antone’s online remarks concerning St. Augustine and the city’s proposed site for Florida’s statewide Black History Museum.

Part of the post read: “They’ve decided a former slave plantation, a constant reminder of slavery, misery, and suffering is an appropriate location for a museum that is supposed to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of Black People and Caribbean Immigrants.”

West Augustine Redevelopment Agency chairman Robert Nimmons voiced his disappointment with Antone’s Facebook statement, which called out northeast Florida politicians’ attempt to “steal and co-op my Black History museum design and vision.”

According to Action News Jax, the Central Florida Rep. posted his thoughts a day following a Tallahassee meeting that was scheduled to evaluate the four finalist cities to house the museum.

“When I saw the Facebook post, it took me back,” Nimmons said. “It was very disappointing to see that.”

Antone said “political leaders in Northeast Florida” want to “build a $20 million lite sized slavery museum on a former slave plantation (i.e. Kingsley Plantation) in St. Augustine, Florida,” which he said is “not easily accessible.” Antone criticized Black leaders who support what he described as a “dumb downed, whitewashed” museum and stated their $20 million project devalues Black History compared to his concept to construct a $75 million to $100 million world-class museum in Orlando, that showcases and celebrates the Black and Caribbean communities.

The site proposed by St. Augustine belongs to Florida Memorial University and was previously a slave plantation, according to Antone, a claim confirmed by local historian David Nolan, who revealed the plantation was owned by Colonel John Hanson prior to the Civil War.

“The disturbing truth about the property’s past supports the argument for bringing the museum to St. Johns County,” said Regina Gayle Philips of the Florida Museum of Black History Task Force contended,

The task force listed St. Augustine among its top four picks for the museum location, alongside Eatonville, where Antone serves as state representative. Exhibition concepts will span Black achievements in science, engineering, technology, African civilizations, and architecture.

The backlash from West Augustine has prompted the removal of Antone’s Facebook post. A meeting is slated for May 24 to determine the museum’s ultimate site.