Florida representative receiving backlash from online post over planned Black History Museum

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — West Augustine community members are upset that Central Florida Representative Bruce Antone posted online about a troubling chapter in the history of St. Augustine and its planned site for a statewide Black History Museum.


One section of the post reads: “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.”

These comments made by Central Florida Rep. Bruce Antone on the proposed Black History Museum to be built in St. Augustine were deleted on Facebook.

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Robert Nimmons, chairman of the West Augustine Redevelopment Agency said, “When I saw the Facebook post, it took me back. It was very disappointing to see that.”

Antone posted this on his Facebook page the day after a meeting in Tallahassee meant to discuss four finalist cities competing to be the home to the state’s black history museum. But the post was deleted after receiving backlash from the West Augustine community.

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“It was very disappointing to see the statements he made about St. Johns County,” Nimmons, said.

St. Augustine’s proposed site is a property owned by Florida Memorial University. It’s a site Antone said used to be a former slave plantation. A St. Augustine historian confirms this.

“There was a plantation there before the Civil War owned by Colonel John Hanson,” David Nolan, a St. Augustine Historian said.

“The disturbing truth about the property’s past supports the argument for bringing the museum to St. Johns County,” Regina Gayle Philips with the Florida Museum of Black History Task Force said. “I can’t think of a more fitting place than St. Augustine that tells the stories of black people who have come to this country both free and enslaved.”

Nolan echoed that sentiment.

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“I think it’s the most perfect location you could come up with in Florida.”

The Florida Museum of Black History Task Force named St. Augustine as one of its top four museum locations. Eatonville in Central Florida, where Antone is a state rep, is another finalist competing for the museum.

The museum’s subject matter will include Black science, engineering, technology, African civilizations, and architecture.

A meeting is set for May 24 to discuss the museum’s winning location. Action News Jax reached out to Antone to speak with him about his post but didn’t return the call before this story aired.

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