Edward Waters Faculty and Students appear in PBS documentary The SECRETS OF SPANISH FLORIDA-SECRETS OF THE DEAD SPECIAL.

During the fall of 2016, Edward Wates College Teacher Education Faculty Professor, Mrs. Winifred Henry gave an all call announcement for faculty and students to engage in a historical documentary highlighting the treatment of slaves during the Spanish occupation of Florida. Many responded for the experience of making history real for future generations.

Secrets of Spanish Florida – A Secret of the Dead Special uncovers one story of America’s past that never made it into textbooks and follows some of America’s leading archaeologists, maritime scientists, and historians as they share the story of Florida’s earliest settlers. It’s a story that has taken more than 450 years to reveal.

On December 26, 2016, the fruit of their labor was shown on the Public Broadcasting Station, WJXT channel 7. The documentary is narrated by Actor Jimmy Smits .Producer/Writer is Robbie Gordon. Associate Producers are Josh Wallace, Jenny Mottier, and Jaime Greco. Director of Reenactments is Tony Haines. Director of Photography is Joe Karably. Senior Editors/Sound Design are Tony Haines and Ed Delgado. For Secrets of the Dead: Director of Programming Operations is Jane Buckwalter. Executive-in-Charge in Stephen Segaller. Executive Producer is Stephanie Carter.

The documentary explains in details that the first permanent European settlement in the United States was founded in 1565–two generations before the settlements in Jamestown and Plymouth–not by English Protestants, but by the Spanish and a melting pot of people they brought with them from Africa, Italy, Germany, Ireland and even converted Jews, who integrated almost immediately with the indigenous tribes.

America’s original European forefathers were a melting pot of races that more closely resembled today’s population than was previously understood. The discovery of 1,000 pages of manuscripts written by members of the Timucuan tribe in the late 16th century indicates that these people, who lived in Georgia and Florida, had achieved a level of literacy among indigenous peoples that has not been recognized before. Nearly 125 years before the Emancipation Proclamation—in 1738—a colony of 100 former slaves had already been given their freedom and their own land in Spanish La Florida.

The Edward Waters Faculty and students portrayed in the film will present on stage their feelings about the slaves portrayed in the film. The Public is invited to a free showing of the film on February 26, 2018 in the Milne Auditorium from 1-4p.m.