Program Details

Forgotten Florida History: Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor - Boca Raton

Derek Hankerson
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Explore forgotten Florida history in this special one-time lecture. This class will highlight five centuries of minority contributions to Florida from West Africans known as Gullah Geechee. This group of West Africans merged with Native American tribes and became known as Seminoles. The Seminole are the only unconquered tribe. This same group also created the original Underground Railroad headed south to Spanish Florida, created some of the first forts, militias and maroon communities pre-mass immigration! The short documentary, "Gulla Geechee Corridor and the East Coast Greenway," which Hankerson co-produced in 2012 with the Florida Channel, will be screened. Q&A will follow the screening.

About the Instructor

  • Derek Boyd Hankerson, is a faculty member, world traveler, and documentary film maker who has produced 4 films on accurate American history. These films have aired nationally and on PBS. Mr. Hankerson is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a B. A. in government and politics and Webster University with a M. A., in Management and Leadership. He has been actively engaged in government and politics for 38 years. At the age of eighteen, he started his career with the Reagan-Bush 1984 Presidential Campaign in Washington, DC and worked with “African Americans for Reagan-Bush”. Mr. Hankerson’s great, great grandfather Rev., J. P. Hankerson, was a free man before the Civil War. He was President of the Florida General Baptist Convention for two terms 1894-1899 and 1903-1909. During that time the Florida General Baptist Convention worked with the freedmen’s bureau to educate the newly freed slaves and poor whites. Rev., J. P. Hankerson and others were instrumental in establishing the Florida Bible Institute, which later became Florida Memorial University located in Miami, Florida. Rev. J. H. Hankerson graduated from the Florida Bible Institute with a degree in Theology. Rev., J. H. Hankerson was one of the first Black Postmasters in the state of Florida and was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson from February 9, 1915- June 10, 1918 as the first Black Postmaster of St. Johns County. St. John’s and Escambia county were the first counties established in Florida on July 2, 1821.