Known as the "Negro fort," this citadel was built during the War of 1812 by the British and was meant as a tool to recruit runaway slaves and Seminoles to battle the Americans. Once the war concluded, the British abandoned the fort. Some black men left with the British as they were promised freedom, while some 300 blacks and Indians holed up in the fort under the leadership of a black fugitive named Garson and a Choctaw chief. Irate at the notion of a community of defiant blacks, white slave owners called on the . government to help them recapture their runaway slaves. On June 27, 1816, under the orders of President Andrew Jackson , the fort was attacked and destroyed. Only 50 of the 320 settlers survived. Today the state park still contains a network of trenches as well as the earthen outlines of the old fort.
Retired teacher and actor Gerald Eubanks had a special role during the early 1960s in St. Augustine. A native of the city with a large extended family, he first encountered the civil rights movement as a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1960. He returned to his hometown and transferred to Florida Memorial. Seeing the conditions for Blacks there got to him, and he became the president of the NAACP youth council. He tells the history of St. Augustine civil rights struggle by reading the poem Invictus: “I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul,” Eubanks intoned in his acting and dance studio where he displayed an exhibit he created on the civil rights movement in St. Augustine. “If you read the core, it is a kind of internal spirit that must have been inside of anybody who participated in the movement that is going against the status quo and daring to do it. You did it when it was critical.”
What distinguishes Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University from other universities is its legacy of providing access to a high-quality, affordable education to many students who otherwise may never have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of getting a college degree. The CollegeNet and Pay Scale Social Mobility Index (SMI) recognizes FAMU for its commitment to providing pathways for social and economic mobility. SMI ranks FAMU as one of the top colleges and universities in the nation for fostering social and economic opportunity.