Anna KingsleyAnna Kingsley: A Remarkable Story
Prof. Sandra McDonald
October 4, 2011
Anna Kingsley, was born Anta Majigeen Ndiaye in Senegal, West Africa in 1793. She helped establish some of the communities in modern day Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida. Daniel L. Schafer, Professor of History at the University of North Florida, spent nearly twenty-five years researching about her life. Early accounts of her life are based on history memorized by a griot, the oral historian of the village, who passes down the historical accounts through generations. “Mamadou Diouf, a Senegal Historian, speculated that at some point Anta Majigeen Ndiaye may have been recognized as a child of royalty and received special treatment at the time she was sold” (Schafer, 2003, p.18). However, early aspects of her life lack written evidence and the accounts of her being a “royal princess” are just legends. Anna Kingsley overcame the adversity of slavery because, she gained her freedom, she became the respected wife of a plantation owner and she was a successful business woman. By all accounts about that era, her story as an African slave to matriarch of the Kingsley family is a remarkable story.
In April 1806 Anta, her mother and the others from her Wolof family village were captured, rounded up and herded to the coast for sale into slavery. She survived the transatlantic crossing, called the “Middle Passage” to Cuba and then was later purchased by Zephaniah Kingsley. “Some would call this luck because Kingsley, unlike most American slave owners and traders, considered slavery more of an economic and temporary condition and completely unrelated to race” (McTammy, 2000). In late October, Kingsley and Anta sailed into Doctors Lake and docked at Laurel Grove, today known as Orange Park. Also, Anta was already carrying her first child when they arrived at the plantation. Kingsley and Anta would live openly together in the dwelling...